Stiftungsfonds Deutsche Bank
Chair of Innovation Management
and Entrepreneurship



  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Kelvin W. Willoughby (Chairholder)
  • Omolade Zainab Adeyemi (Research Associate)


  • Disruptive Technologies & Business Models
  • Innovation Management & Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship & Agile Working Methods
  • Entrepreneurial Challenges
  • Executive Education

Research Areas

  • Innovation Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Intellectual Property Management
  • Commercialization of Science and Technology


  • FGF – Association for Entrepreneurship Research, Education and Policy (Förderkreis Gründungs-Forschung e.V.), Krefeld, Germany
  • SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator, Leipzig, Germany
  • Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, China
  • Copenhagen Business School, Department of International Economics, Government and Business, Denmark
  • GLORAD, Center for Global R&D and Innovation, international research network
  • HYVE AG, Munich, Germany
  • Chitralada Technology Institute, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Aistemos Limited (Cipher), London, UK

Make a difference in the world through enlightened leadership in technological innovation and entrepreneurship!

Prof. Dr. Dr. Kelvin W. Willoughby
Chairholder Stiftungsfonds Deutsche Bank Chair of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship

What we do

Belief in the power of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the quest for creativity and fulfillment in work, has inspired millions of people worldwide to eschew an orthodox corporate career for the dream of creating a new venture. Progress in science and technology is lauded by policy makers and corporate leaders as the key to solving critical economic, environmental and social problems, and technology venturing is now celebrated as the key to wealth generation and personal advancement. “Innovation” has thus become the leitmotif of success for startups, established corporations and public policy makers. These trends evoke a number of important challenges that are the focus for research and teaching in our Chair:

  • What knowledge and skill do individuals need to overcome the obstacles to success when launching a technology startup?
  • How can established corporations renew their competitive advantage through artfully managing the innovation process?
  • How can local communities harness the potential of technological innovation to stimulate local economic development and employment generation?
  • How can the direction of technological change be managed to maximize social benefit and minimize harmful human and environmental impact?
  • What can we as individual human beings personally do to make the world a better place through leadership in the business of technology?

Our work addresses innovation management in both new ventures and established companies, and on the transfer of created knowledge between academia and business. We are especially interested in strategy for enterprises and projects based on the development and commercialization of new technology, and in how intellectual property may be managed to support innovative enterprises, both locally and internationally.

The Chair’s goals emphasize realizing an intensive theory-practice transfer in both research and teaching. The teaching programs are interactive and practical; our lectures are supported by our wide network of entrepreneurs and innovators in the market who are engaged in interesting co-teaching with our professors.

Feel free to contact us, if you would like to get more information about innovation management and entrepreneurship.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Kelvin W. Willoughby

My whole career—spanning several continents and several decades—has been devoted to finding answers to this question, and to helping students, executives, entrepreneurs and policy-makers find answers to the question for themselves, their organizations and their communities. The words of two amazing innovators, in particular, have guided my intellectual and practical journey:

“You should decide what is good and what is important, and then you should do it, otherwise you will be wasting your life.”  – E. F. Schumacher, international economist and author of “Small is Beautiful”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  – Steve Jobs, entrepreneur and co-founder of Apple and Pixar

In 2021 I joined the Stiftungsfonds Deutsche Bank Chair of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management as a Professor. My expertise lies in the strategic management of intellectual property, technology-based entrepreneurship, and strategic planning for technology-based industry development. I have conducted a variety of studies, and produced numerous publications, in the above fields in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Russia. I have doctoral degrees in both strategic management and technology studies, and a master of laws degree in intellectual property law. My undergraduate training was in environmental studies and philosophy.
In addition to my academic work, I have been active as an international consultant and advisor to industry and government, and a founding member of a digital media technology company in the United States.

My academic affiliations have included, among others: the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), in Moscow, Russia; Curtin University, in Australia; the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis; the State University of New York at Stony Brook; the University of Utah; and, the University of California at Berkeley.

If you are interested in an interview or a press photo, please contact Elisa Vetter (Media Relations Manager).

Teaching Philosophy of Prof. Dr. Dr. Willoughby

My approach to the art of teaching is inspired by the concept of student-centered learning. Student-centered learning is a dynamic approach to education based on the conviction that the teacher has a responsibility to facilitate the acquisition and generation of knowledge by students themselves. Student-centered learning is also based on the conviction that the actual learning of students, rather than just the accurate articulation of information or expert-knowledge by the teacher, is what really matters. Under the student-centered approach, knowledge transfer is multi-directional (i.e., teacher-to-student, student-to-student, student-to-teacher, and may also involve knowledge transfer from those outside the classroom); and students are expected to be active learners, not passive receivers of information. tudent-centered learning emphasizes skill development, the application of knowledge, the integration of knowledge from different sources and domains, knowledge-generation, and the facilitation of life-long learning. This contrasts with the rote-learning that is often associated with teacher-centered learning.
The focus on student-centered learning rather than teacher-centered learning has led me to embrace a number of other important themes and practices as an educator, the most salient of which are highlighted below.

Education for Judgment in Technological Innovation

I believe that an important goal of management education—whether in the domain of technological innovation, or business more generally—is for students to be empowered to practice the art of management. Learning about management of technological innovation (or of business more generally) is not enough; students ought to link knowledge with practice, through education.
With this in mind, it may be argued that management education should cultivate the ability of students to make judgments about technological or business situations as part of developing prowess in decision-making and strategy formation. This concept of education for judgment has been championed by C. Roland Christensen and others at the Harvard Business School and has led to the prominence of discussion-teaching and, in particular, the case-discussion method for which that School is renowned.2 Case-discussion teaching features prominently in my own teaching, partly because it is a fitting counterpart to the concept of education for judgment, but also because it is a natural extension of the idea of student-centered learning that lies at the heart of my whole teaching philosophy.
The case-discussion teaching method has been characterized as follows by its exponents at Harvard: “The case method is a form of instructor-guided, discussion-based learning. It introduces complex and often ambiguous real-world scenarios into the classroom, typically through case study with a protagonist facing an important decision. The case method represents a shift from the traditional, instructor-centered model of education to a participant-centered one in which students play a lead role in their own and each other’s learning. Case method instructors use questions, dialogue, debate, and the application of analytical tools and frameworks to engage students in a challenging, interactive learning environment. Not only does this approach raise the likelihood of greater retention: it also allows for learning that goes beyond the transfer of knowledge to include the development of analytical, decision-making, and communication skills, and the cultivation of self-awareness, judgment, and the capacity to lead.”3
I have been practicing the “Harvard style” case method of teaching for over three decades and have developed my own approach to applying the method in different contexts, including those contexts where students are not typically exposed to authentic case-teaching in the classroom or where the culture of the school has not historically been supportive of case teaching. I have also experimented with a variety of assessment techniques to complement and enhance the case method as a teaching vehicle, based on the notion that assessment methods ought to be seen as a tool to facilitate student-centered learning, not just as a vehicle to evaluate students’ performance and to produce grades. Case-discussion teaching is typically appropriate for capstone courses in MBA programs, where the focus is on strategic management; and this is where I have employed the method most heavily. However, I have also employed the method in teaching other subjects, such as technology entrepreneurship, management of technology, intellectual property management and technology transfer, and I have found that it can be educationally powerful in those settings if properly managed.

    Matching Pedagogy with Learning Goals and Context

    A third principle that forms part of my philosophy of teaching is the idea that there is a variety of legitimate and potentially powerful pedagogies available for use in management education and that an excellent professional teacher will typically be adept in more than one pedagogy. More importantly, we ought to recognize that some pedagogies work better in some settings than others, and that some pedagogies may be totally inappropriate in certain contexts. When selecting pedagogy for a course we ought to avoid simply adopting a pedagogy with which we are personally most experienced, but should instead try to match the pedagogy to the learning goals and context of the course in question.
    Thus, while I have tended over the years to be an enthusiastic exponent of case teaching, I nevertheless have been careful to employ a variety of teaching methods (other than case teaching) for the variety of courses for which I have been responsible. The context of a course includes not only the educational outcomes expected of students, but also the position of the course in the curriculum of the program, the culture of the school, the background of the students, the time-constraints of the classroom setting, and many other things, including the culture of the society, country or community in which the teaching takes place. In addition to “old fashioned lecturing” (which, notwithstanding what I have said about case teaching, does still form an important part of my own pedagogical repertoire), my teaching has included techniques and activities such as: role plays, team games, group research projects, individual research projects, field projects, negotiation exercises, business-planning projects, classroom debates and even interactive movie critiques and book discussions. In recent years I have also experimented with a variety of modalities for online education, and with the use of digital platforms to support face-to-face learning and hybrid online/face-to-face learning.

      Problem Based Learning

      An educational concept that has been very influential in my own teaching, and that has strong affinity with the themes of student-centered learning and education-for-judgment, is what has come to be known as Problem Based Learning (“PBL”).4 The essential idea here is that students may learn principles, theories, techniques and skills by grappling with practical problems and by trying to make sense of the factors that constitute the problems as they seek solutions to the problems. This approach can be used concurrently with a variety of other methods, including case discussions, role-plays, group research projects and business-planning projects. Problem Based Learning essentially takes a practical problem as the starting point for theory development, in contrast to more conventional approaches to teaching that tend to start with theory and then move towards application and the challenges of applying theory. In the conventional approach, analysis of problems tends to be seen as a way of illustrating the application of theory; whereas in Problem Based Learning, problems themselves are employed as the stimulus for discovering and comprehending theory. In a sense, the process of learning in the two contrasting approaches moves in opposite directions.
      Problem Based Learning is an approach to education that can be found not just in management or business education, but also in professional fields such as medicine, law, architecture or engineering. Problem Based Learning is also eminently appropriate for education in the art of technological innovation, where education for a practical career is at least as important as education for knowledge as such.

        Designing Assessment as an Integral Part of Pedagogy

        Wherever possible, I treat assessment techniques within my courses as an integral part of pedagogy. In other words, I consciously use the design of assessment exercises to facilitate and stimulate learning, in accordance with the desired educational goals of a course. I believe that it is important for the informal signals that students receive about what really matters in a course (in order to “get a good grade”) to accord with whatever it is to which the instructor really wants the students to devote their time and attention.
        In a number of universities where I have taught I have observed a sad situation where an instructor designs a course to emphasize learning activities such as classroom discussion or team-work but, in the interests of objectivity, assigns an exam or an individual written assignment as the primary assessment item. Students quickly work out that preparing for the exam or writing the essay is what really matters, rather than spending time preparing-for and engaging-in the main educational substance of the course. This kind of problem is especially common where case-discussion teaching is intended to be a primary element of a course.
        To address this problem, I have developed over the years a number of techniques for objectively and systematically evaluating the performance of students in classroom case discussions. This has made case teaching a much more powerful tool for student-learning in my courses where I make use of case teaching. Additionally, in some courses (where it is appropriate and feasible to do so), I produce “real time” feedback on students’ verbal and written work as a means for providing customized guidance for the learning process throughout the course. I have also experimented with novel approaches to peer evaluation in courses where either team-work or active participation by students in classroom activities is an important part of the pedagogy.

          Use of Information Technology as a Tool to Facilitate Learning

          I seek to use information technology, such as online learning platforms, multimedia resources or data-base software for course management and customized feedback, wherever it appears appropriate and productive to do so. A key principle to which I try to adhere is that the choice of instructional technology or other information technology to support education should match the pedagogy, assessment-design, learning goals and context of the course and the students. I have published a paper on the “Virtualization of University Education” that addresses some of the lessons I have learned about this topic, both as a teacher and as an educational administrator.5
          The general principle that the choice of information technology should be appropriate to the educational context is actually just good common sense. However, ensuring that this principle is actually embraced in practice is difficult, and success requires both conscious effort and diligence.

            Values and People in Education

            Finally, above and beyond discussion of methods and approaches to teaching, I think it is imperative to remember that as teachers it is our calling and purpose to help our students to fulfill their dreams and hopes through learning … and, on top of that, to help prepare them to be good citizens of both the World and their local communities. This higher purpose of education cannot be properly fulfilled through a focus on classroom techniques, pedagogical formulae or curriculum designs. Rather, in the end, it requires idealistic and committed teachers who really care about students as individual persons and as a community of individuals … and to express that care through genuine person-centered effort. In short, teachers need to be passionate about helping students to learn and to fulfill their dreams.

            I am a teacher because it is my “calling” … it is my profession, it is who I am. I love to help students to learn.

            When a teacher is imbued with the passion of helping students to learn then it becomes natural for he or she (as a teacher) to want to help students link their formal learning, both inside the classroom and outside the classroom, to the development of their careers. This is especially important in business schools or management schools—or perhaps engineering schools—where education is often more consciously linked to career development than it might be in the liberal arts. This expression of care for helping students to discover personally satisfying pathways for developing their careers has always played a big part of my life as a teacher.
            I also believe that management education can be a marvelous setting for learning about the practical issues of being ethical in a messy real-world context. While, on one hand, the subjects of ethics in general and business ethics or engineering ethics in particular provide rich fodder for explicit learning as a discrete and formal component of the curriculum in an educational program, on the other hand they are also subjects that lend themselves to implicit learning as part of the total educational experience. It seems to me that educators have a special responsibility to facilitate learning about ethics by infusing the curriculum and the overall experience of students with an ethics-rich sensibility. In short, I believe that as business teachers we have a duty to facilitate tacit learning about ethics in business by our students through the manner in which we frame and address the formal subject matter of whichever course we teach. We should not leave learning about ethics to courses with official titles such as “business ethics” or “engineering ethics.” I believe that our true values as educators will be usually somehow be recognized by students, tacitly or otherwise, and that those perceived values may play an important role in assisting students to cultivate their understanding of ethics for their own careers in business, whether as an entrepreneur or as an employee of an established enterprise.


              Click on the button to load the content from HHL publications database.

              Load content