Disruptive Innovation

Instructor Prof. Wulf A. Kaal, with Prof. Erik P.M. Vermeulen

Course Objectives

  • Students are able to identify trends in exponential disruptive innovation affecting large and small firms.
  • Students understand the changes disruptive innovation brings to law and governance of firms.
  • Students develop an appreciation of regulatory challenges associated with exponential disruptive innovation.
  • Students appreciate what innovation induced governance changes and new governance structures mean for the practice of law

Course Description

Disruptive Innovation, 2 Sem. Hrs.

The purpose of this course is for students to gain an understanding of the exponential rate of disruptive innovation in a broad array of industries, the effect on corporations, the possible approaches for regulating such innovation, and the role of lawyers in this context.

The course examines the exponential rate of disruptive innovation affecting multiple industries. Students will learn about concrete real-life and data-driven examples of disruptive innovation and the short- and long-term effects of this innovation, including the emergence of flat corporate hierarchies to foster innovation and ensure the best ideas prevail in corporations struggling to stay relevant, open communication, and inclusivity. The course will examine innovation driven business cycles and highlight examples pertaining to corporations that failed to institute relevant changes to remain relevant in the face of disruptive innovation (Kodak, Nokia, among others). We will also examine how and why certain corporations (Amazon, Google, Tesla, Under Armour, among others) continue to thrive and what changes they instituted, allowing them to capitalize on disruptive innovation. More specifically, we will examine the emergence of “Dinosaurs” (companies that find themselves in a process of slow and terminal decline); “Unicorns” (large companies that remain private in order to avoid the stifling effects of post-IPO regulation); and “Governance Renegades” (public companies that adopt unconventional corporate structures in order to retain the pre-IPO-start-up-feel).

Given these governance changes and new structures imposed by disruptive innovation, the course examines the role of attorneys in this rapidly evolving environment. Students will learn about the legal relevance of the evolution of business strategy, technology, and the application and evolution of artificial intelligence in businesses. Based on the understanding of challenges and opportunities presented by disruptive innovation, students will develop the ability to discern their own possible value proposition in the disruption of businesses in various industries. The course will evaluate the different skills that allow students to remain relevant including soft skills, psychology, and the ability to understand business cycles and technology. The course emphasizes the importance of student skills at the intersection between law, business, psychology, and technology.


Class Session Slides

Class 1: class-1-innovation

Class 2: class-2-disruptive-innovation

Class ¾: class-34-effectsimpact-of-innovation-copy

Class 6: class-6-disruptive-innovation-as-a-regulatory-challenge

Class 7:class-7-role-of-law-in-innovation

Class 8:class-8-the-role-of-the-lawyer-in-innovation


Class 9:class-9-the-future-role-of-the-lawer-and-legal-education

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