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Case Study: Genentech
Learning ways to accelerate and manage innovation

Seeking to bring the plant’s management team together to develop common skills and learn ways to accelerate and manage innovation, Genentech called on the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. The firm has been a GSM Business Partner since 1998. Alumnus Scott Zimmerman ’04, associate director of the plant’s Business Operations Support Group, reached out to partner with the School to craft a customized executive education program. He sought to tap the expertise of internationally renowned leaders in organizational behavior and innovation management who he learned from while earning his UC Davis MBA.

“We wanted to be more thoughtful with our training and development dollars for our leadership team,” said Zimmerman. More often than not, he said, plant managers who attended professional conferences in their fields haven’t been able to share that knowledge with others effectively.

On February 17-18, the 40-member extended leadership team of Genentech’s Vacaville plant spent two full days together at the School. Professor Andrew Hargadon, director of the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship, led sessions on managing innovation and creativity, building networks and using entrepreneurial strategies to help Genentech become more flexible and agile. Professor Kimberly Elsbach followed with role-playing exercises to help the managers sell new ideas to employees. Driving home these concepts, Professor Donald Palmer focused on ways leaders can motivate and build a commitment to change. Read more.

Genentech is working with the UC Davis Executive Education Program on a second custom program, to be conducted in January 2012.