Cultivating Innovation

Energy, engagement, and passion are hallmarks of Professor Roberto’s award-winning teaching style. “I have a lot of enthusiasm and hope it’s contagious,” he says.

An expert in decision-making, leadership, and large-scale organizational failure, Roberto cultivates a culture of innovation in his classroom through debate, engaged discussion, video, and the use of interactive business simulations. One in particular – a web-based simulation he co-developed using the dramatic context of a Mount Everest expedition to reinforce student learning in group dynamics and leadership – received the 2011 Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange Award for best eLearning solution.

The real-world business skills Roberto brings to his undergraduate and graduate students come from his years of consulting and leadership training at such firms as Target, Apple, Disney, Coca-Cola, Federal Express, and Johnson & Johnson.

Roberto also directs Bryant’s Center for Program Innovation, a catalyst for educational change. Its mission is to expand signature experiential learning opportunities and academic integration across disciplines, two fundamental elements of Bryant’s approach to education. Key activities include the Faculty Innovation Grant program and Innovation Design Experience for All (IDEA), a multi-day boot camp that immerses all first-year students into design thinking, group work, and rapid iteration.

He has earned several coveted teaching awards, including the Outstanding M.B.A. Teaching Award from Bryant University and the Allyn A. Young Prize for Teaching in Economics at Harvard University (his alma mater), where he taught for six years before coming to Bryant.

Roberto has written more than 30 case studies – used in virtually every U.S. business school – and two books. Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer, his book about cultivating constructive debate to help leaders make better decisions, was named one of the top 10 business books of 2005 by The Globe and Mail. His most recent book is Know What You Don’t Know: How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen.

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