It is the most important business topic of all: identifying and fulfilling the unmet opportunity. Few business schools teach how to do it. Fewer still give you the experience of doing it.
The Management of Innovation and Product Development track teaches a rigorous and analytical process that structures the work involved in innovation, a process that allows innovation to be ongoing and replicable. Students gain not only knowledge and skills relevant to innovation but also gain experience in an innovation project. The initial phase of the innovation process is to identify problems to solve, which is to elicit what the target market wants even when they don’t yet know it. Middle phases focus on translating research findings into product specifications. The latter phase focuses on conceptualization and refinement of the solutions, both of the product prototype and of the solution business plan. Students learn and experience the process in the corporate-sponsored capstone course, where faculty from Carnegie Mellon’s top ranked schools of business, engineering, and fine arts provide coursework and team guidance.
Graduates of this track are adept at knowing not just how to solve problems but how to define them. They know how to collect and integrate varied perspectives into a valued product (software, service, system, or brand). They know how to communicate their concept in a proposal to senior management and to manage the project through to commercialization.
Students enrolling in the track should have a rigorous focus on understanding and documenting marketplace needs as well as company technologies, capabilities, and skills. They should be willing to shoulder risk to achieve what they find will be profitable for company and customers alike. Students should want to work in environments where they provide their own structure to their work, maybe even writing their own job description. In sum, applicants should not only exhibit intellectual achievement but also motivation, responsibility, perception, and an open mind.
The program culminates in a capstone project course that is sponsored by an industry partner. Past sponsors include Ford, New Balance, Respironics, BodyMedia, P&G, Nissan, MSA, and International Truck. Sponsoring companies have applied for more than 15 patents on student projects in the course
Track course teach requisite skills for innovation as well as give students the experience of working with topics and people in other relevant disciplines. The track includes the following required courses.
Students with an engineering degree may be exempted from the engineering requirement. Likewise, students with a degree in industrial design may be exempted from the industrial design requirement. In addition to the required courses, students must complete an additional 1-2 electives selected by the student and approved by the track faculty coordinator. Example electives include:
The program culminates in a capstone project course that is sponsored by an industry partner. Past sponsors include Ford, New Balance, Respironics, Body Media, Dormant Manufacturing, and International Truck. Sponsoring companies have applied for more than 15 patents on student projects in the course.
For further information about the Management of Innovation and Product Development track, please contact the faculty coordinator:
Associate Professor of Marketing
Tepper School of Business