Managing Product Development

Due to the fact that product and service development is fundamental to most start-ups and established firms anywhere in the world, Managing Product Development (MPD) focuses on conceiving, designing and developing new products and services. It examines the full range of activities needed, including laying a foundation of knowledge and capability; understanding customer needs; creating innovative products or service concepts; managing experimentation and prototyping; and launching new products and services. Product development is an inherently cross-functional activity. The issues in the course therefore cut across functional boundaries, examining problems in areas ranging from design to marketing and from manufacturing to strategy. Our focus is on the managerial skills and capabilities needed in effective practice.

Course Structure

The course is founded on the premise that effective learning can only be action-based. The centerpiece of the course is a real project in which student teams conceptualize and design a new product or service concept. Teams work on actual development problems with real firms and interact with company sponsors several times during the course. They also have the option of turning their own ideas into innovative products or service concepts, while receiving advice and close mentorship from the faculty and practitioners.

Class sessions will draw on cases, lectures, in-class exercises and outside speakers who are either well-known experts or company executives. The cases come from a broad mix of industries and businesses. Examples include service development at internet speed, 3M’s experiences with a new business process for breakthrough innovations, IDEOs innovation process approach, Sega’s development and launch of its Dreamcast video game console in Japan.

Project Examples

Recent MPD projects are available in the blog.

Together with project partners Siemens and fortiss, CDTM developed Griddle, a software that allows saving energy and remotely controlling the energy consumption, based on a gamification approach.

  • "I was amazed about the results that were achieved during the short time of the MPD. Even though time and resources were pretty constrained, each team came up with an astonishing prototype! For the success of our project the diversity and interdisciplinarity of our team was important. The team setting lead to creative and fruitful discussions about our service, and the different perspectives helped to build an integral product."
    Kevin Wiesner
    Kevin WiesnerAlumnus
  • "During the MPD, what struck me as most important was the constant communication with the involved parties, even when that did not always go seamlessly. The different tasks could not have been done without drawing from the talents of every team member."
    Yang Guo
    Yang GuoStudent