For 19 years students have lined up to take part in Professor Bill Lovejoy’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) course, hosted by the Tauber Institute for Global Operations, due to the simple fact that it challenges and expands their knowledge of how products that solve problems for people in the real world are created.
The IPD course is distinguished by hands-on manufacture of customer-ready prototypes executed by cross-disciplinary teams of students in a simulated economic competition. Students compete not only against benchmark products but also against each other for bragging rights and market share. The course design is such that teams can succeed only by performing well in all four dimensions: marketing, manufacturing, engineering, and design.
This year’s competition tackled one of the fastest growing markets in the United States — accessories for tablets, cell phones and other portable devices. Students were asked to design an accessory for a portable electronic device that would create value for college students in the U.S.
Teams launched their products in a web-based competition and again a week later in a physical trade show held at the Ross School of Business. Members of the community were asked to examine the products and provide honest, constructive feedback as well as vote for their favorites by “purchasing” them with virtual dollars.
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