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About the Course

Class Description

To grow and innovate, you not only need a big idea, you also need stake-holder buy in and action. However, many companies fail in this regard because stakeholders are not aligned, the  real problem that the innovation seeks to solve has not been identified, and the story has not been defined. Story can fuel stakeholder buy-in by painting a clear picture of what is and what could  be for everyone - from employees, to investors, to customers. In other words, an excellent story allows you to delegate tactical aspects effectively because it clarifies how individuals can execute specific functions against the story (e.g., digital marketing, advertising, design). Furthermore, when the stakeholder becomes part of the story, they are more likely to act, which generates momentum and create a culture of optimism. Story is equally important for leaders of companies, who often need to act as editors - shaping the stories told by employees and customers – to align everyone under a shared vision. Therefore, a second goal of the class is to demonstrate how personal stories can be used by leaders to build high performing teams and companies.

The goals of the class are to share insight on:

  • How to use stories as an asset in business
  • What makes for a good and bad story
  • How to develop, pitch and amplify stories

Class Schedule

  • Dates of Class: Tuesdays, April 5 - May 31
  • Time: Two sections: 3:00-5:50 PM and 6:00-8:50 PM
  • Location: GSB Co-Lab, McClelland 101D

Questions? Email Stephany Yong (

To Apply

  • Application for 2015-2016 is now closed.


Jennifer Aaker

General Atlantic Professor of Marketing, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Jennifer's research focuses on the psychology of time, money and happiness - specifically how people chose to spend their time and money, and when and why those choices are associated with lasting value. She also empirically explores how small acts can create significant change, and how those effects can be fueled by digital and social media. Noted for her early work on the dimensions of brand personality, Aaker's current research is rooted in the psychology of choice and the shifting meaning of happiness. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology and the Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award. Jennifer teaches courses at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Hasso Plattner Institute of Design such as “Building Innovative Brands” (with Chris Flink), The Innovation Playbook, and Designing Story in a Digital World. She co-authored the award-winning book “The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Impact” with her husband (to whom she is surprisingly still happily married). She counts winning a dance-off in the early 1980s, establishing a reputation as a bad cook, and helping to raise her three children as her biggest accomplishments - though not necessarily in that order.

Teaching Assistants

Stephany Young, Madilyn Ontiveros, and Simar Mangat