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Innovation Requires Ongoing Learning

Golden Gate bridge

In today’s business climate, many companies face the challenge of remaining competitive while being innovative. Organizations must become more agile and adapt to the cultural shifts occurring in the marketplace. These challenges and opportunities can be difficult to create solutions from within. Over the past 25 years, Berkeley Executive Education has successfully formed many partnerships with companies from around the world to help them accomplish their innovation goals. Our Custom Programs and Innovation Immersion Weeks are uniquely designed to encourage organizations to innovate while aligning with important company business initiatives and organizational culture.

Toby Stewart, Faculty Director for Custom Programs at Berkeley Executive Education says, “The global environment is more complex. The competitive environment is moving at a faster pace. The nature of competition is changing a lot. There are some unfamiliar looking competitors on the horizon for a lot of major corporations. How does a senior leadership team deal those kinds of challenges? Many of us are confronting those types of issues right now.” Stewart goes on to recommend Berkeley Executive Education’s large-scale custom executive education programs where he works with organizations’ senior leaders. “After understanding the primary challenges a company faces, we’ll design a curriculum that folds into a broader change initiative that is underway inside of the organization.”

The emphasis and importance of always learning and innovating are critical for companies to remain competitive.

In late 2016, Berkeley Executive Education and Visa connected to re-imagine The Visa Executive Edge leadership program. In this custom program, Berkeley Executive Education worked with the senior leadership team at Visa and a specially selected group of 35 of Visa’s women leaders from different parts of the organization throughout the world. Visa Executive Edge provided a learning journey that included a virtual welcome webinar, three days of immersive, experiential learning at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, interim virtual connections and project work, and culminated with two days of discussions with the executive operating team at Visa’s headquarters with Berkeley Faculty Director Homa Bahrami.

The purpose of this custom program was to give exceptional women leaders an edge, to accelerate their career, find their authentic leadership voice, and empower them to own and drive positive change and results globally throughout Visa.

In Visa Executive Edge participants came into the custom program as inspired, committed leaders and left with enhanced skills and confidence to put newly gained learnings into action. Initially, they were taking “baby steps” outside of their comfort zone, but with the encouragement from Visa senior leaders and the strong support of other Visa Executive Edge participant's, baby steps quickly became giant leaps and the impact has been felt throughout Visa.

As a part of the custom program, Visa Executive Edge had the participants identify a leadership challenge project from within their sphere of influence. The goal was to apply their key takeaways from the custom training they received and advance a key strategic priority within Visa. These projects exceeded expectations and impressed senior leaders with the scope of the projects, the ground covered in a short period, the spirit of ownership and accountability, and the tangible deliverables. The compelling story of the Visa Executive Edge custom program is one of leadership, vision, engagement thus resulting in increased innovation, enhanced employee experience and retention, a greater diversity of senior leadership ranks, and a culture of continued learning – all of which are essential to Visa’s future success.