Customized Leadership Education Delivered Online

Innovation & Entrepreneurship students holding certificates

Hewlett Packard, a large multinational technology corporation, has a sophisticated training and development division and is considered a leader in technical training. Their integrated training curriculum aims to build increasing capability in managers and executives throughout the stages of their careers while encouraging organizational effectiveness. When HP discovered a particular skills gap among a large group of their managers, they reached out to the Stanford Center for Professional Development.

SCPD worked with HP to quickly develop and deliver an educational program to 700+ high-potential managers across the company’s locations. The focus? Helping this group of managers become adept at leading change and generating ideas for new products and processes. The condition? The program needed to be delivered predominantly online and be both scalable and cost-effective.

The result was a 10-month accelerated leadership development program blending the modalities of self-paced online education with virtual events and group work. The program customized a series of courses from the Stanford Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate program, combining four weeks of self-paced study per course, including lectures and assignments, and adding interactive online discussion forums and an HP-specific group webinar.  The Stanford courses covered topics including Scaling Excellence Through Innovation, The Power of Stories to Fuel Innovation, and Building Business Models.

Participants were expected to apply learning from their online study to company-specific assignments, culminating in a six-week business challenge where they designed solutions for HP business needs. Live virtual events hosted by Stanford instructors and HP executives, including a virtual commencement event, provided an additional forum for learning and community-building.

The program helped HP managers gain greater visibility across the company, which translated into new roles and promotions for many. All reported being able to immediately apply the learning to their work, practicing newly acquired skills including rapid prototyping, empathetic design, and business alignment and modelling. They learned how to engage, influence, and gain buy-in from senior leadership through storytelling, how to use empathy techniques to better understand customers and colleagues, and how to align actions with business goals. These efforts helped advance HP top-line pursuits and, for one program participant, successfully acquire an innovative $100 million contract extension. The program was awarded the distinction of “Best Unique or Innovation Learning and Development Program” by the Brandon Hall Group.

SCPD’s proven model of blending online, virtual, and in-person education programs to a professional audience can be replicated at your company. Contact the SCPD programs team at to get started.