Perspective: Experiential education in new product design and business development

Richard N. Cardozo, William K. Durfee, Alexander Ardichvili, Carl Adams, Arthur G. Erdman, Michael Hoey, Paul A. Iaizzo, Debashish N. Mallick, Avi Bar-Cohen, Robert Beachy, Alec Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We describe an experiential approach to teaching new product design and business development in a year-long course that combines intensive project work with classroom education. Our course puts together up to six teams of graduate students from management and engineering who work on projects sponsored by individual companies. Student teams work with faculty from multiple disciplines and personnel from the sponsoring companies. The year-long format and involvement with company personnel provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in a real product development project. Time constraints, coupled with students' determination to demonstrate what they can accomplish, stimulate teams to learn how to compress the design and development cycle. To help students generalize from their own projects to a wider universe of product design and business development phenomena, students participate continuously in constructive critiques of others' projects; and in presentations, case discussions and workshops that help them learn about the product and business development process itself. This article describes course objectives, syllabus, projects, sponsors, faculty, students and our course administration. In an effort to move towards a "paperless" course, we have put as much of the course material as possible on the World Wide Web; relevant websites are referred to in the article. At the end of the course each team presents a prototype and a protoplan to the sponsoring company in a final report, which in many cases includes suggestions for the sponsor on how to improve its design and development process. Students' positive evaluations, along with their comments, indicate that they are attaining their educational goals. Course projects have resulted in commercialized products, patents, continuing development projects in sponsoring companies, and placements for students. The course has generated public relations value for the units involved and for the university as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-17
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002

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