Class X completed their Capstone projects in November 2009. Below is a list of titles, authors, and advisers, followed by abstracts:
Charles Dickinson, Kevin Kolmetz, Michael McVeigh, John Solpietro
This Capstone project looks at a Rochester start-up nanomaterials company, Cerion, and a potential product offering that they are considering commercializing. This product could be considered a "radical innovation", and Cerion would be attempting to bring it into a very established market - the catalytic converter industry. The Capstone team has looked at relevant academic literature for advice on how to do such a thing, in addition to doing some market research to help advise Cerion as to whether or not it is worth bringing to market. We will be presenting our findings and recommendations at the Capstone presentation.
K.C. Kang, M.M. Place, D.R. Seyler
Our research covers the development of new products designed for the "middle class" in emerging markets which represent an attractive segment for Multi-National Corporations (MNCs). When Goldman Sachs first published their landmark paper in 2003 ("Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050"), an emerging middle class of more than 250 million was estimated. By 2007, the emerging middle class reached 400 million and is rapidly growing towards the number estimated by Goldman Sachs for the year 2013; 800 million. If that forecast holds true, by that date the BRIC countries will have a total middle class size larger than the population of Western Europe, USA and Japan combined. (BRIC = Brazil, Russia, India, China)
Unfortunately, MNCs are strategically disadvantaged in developing new products for the emerging BRIC markets due geographical, economic, social, culture, infrastructure and governmental differences. The lack of solid market data forces MNCs to develop Country Portfolio Analysis by extrapolating inferences from macro economic data such as GDP, levels of consumer wealth, and peoples propensity to consume. These approaches can result in inaccuracies and are symptoms of a larger root cause - MNCs often rely on predictable business models and transpose basic assumptions of their home market, usually developed countries, to BRIC. To become a market leader, MNCs must seriously look at their business model and strategic framework that has been built on years of experience in developed markets. Our work suggests that deeply embedded values, processes and resources will need to be adjusted. BRIC should be viewed through a different lens and the business model modified to win in Emerging Markets.
Matthew Pankow, Michael Sculley, and Robin Louvain
It is the assertion of the authors that in order to be effective at organizational learning, a company needs a more structured, holistic approach to its lessons-learned process. This approach needs to be built on a foundation of strong management support and a culture where learning is promoted. The formal lessons-learned process needs to be integrated into the product development process throughout the project: leveraging lessons learned at the start of the project, lessons learned during project execution, a post-project review that focuses on the processes used to implement the project and a post-launch review that looks at the result of the product in the market. The holistic approach must learn from the results and put these lessons into action.
Trevor Gyles, Alicia Mruthyunjaya, Franly Sanchez, Jerry Valentino
As the topic of sustainability continues to gain momentum, companies are seeking ways to integrate beneficial methods into their product development process. These initiatives need to cut across all the functions within the organization. Decisions made throughout the product development process affect the sustainability of the product from raw material extraction, to production process impacts, to end of life disposal. Each organization within the product development cycle needs to understand the impact their decisions have on the environment.
Our research begins with the study of industrial ecosystems, focusing on the positive impacts they have on the sustainability and the value they provide participants. By utilizing waste as raw materials, companies can continue to cycle technical and biological nutrients eliminating the scatter of these to the natural environment. If more of these relationships are established, resources will be used more optimally across the entire ecosystem. Our research focuses on the characteristics that enable these exchanges to occur and provides insights on the role product development is playing in this realm.