Class VIII


Class VIII completed their Capstone projects in November 2007. Below is a list of titles, authors, and advisors, followed by abstracts:

For a copy of a Capstone report, please e-mail and indicate project title, your organization, and the reason for your interest.

Current students should login.

Growth as a Process: Leveraging PSG's Core Business to Achieve Growth Through Innovation and Adjacencies

Alicia Campbell, David Cipolla, and Rod Proulx

The Xerox Production Systems Group (PSG), like many other businesses today, experiences the pressures to grow in a competitive environment, while continually focusing on cost reductions and improving existing technologies. While operational efficiency is critical to optimizing profits of a business it is equally important to increase top line growth to perpetuate the business. Ironically, demands from financial markets can entice management teams into having a shorter than optimal time horizon when dealing with sustainable growth. Some companies, including Whirlpool and Pitney Bowes, have found methods of growth through innovation processes that are sustainable over time. Our challenge, and the purpose of this capstone project, is to understand the methods and processes of companies that have used innovation to achieve success. And from these processes and our understanding of the PSG innovation processes and culture, we will choose the elements that best fit within the PSG environment, and synthesize these elements into a single sustainable innovative process to drive growth from the core.

Knowledge Transfer: Developing a Framework for Knowledge Transfer within the Product Development Process

Timothy Carter, Michael Lopez, Kimberly Wayman

Success in product development is essential to a corporation's survival. To succeed in product development a corporation must effectively transfer the knowledge created during the development of its products from one development phase to the next. Many corporations today are dying because they are not exploiting the knowledge that lies beneath their feet. The necessity to transfer explicit and tacit knowledge more effectively has intensified in recent years due to the changing landscape of new product development and the increase in global competition. The accelerated rate at which technology is changing has significantly reduced the product development life cycle. This paper will concentrate its efforts around Corning Incorporated and Sensis Corporation.

Foundations for Strategic Outsourcing

J. Hunter, M. Raymond, and D. Wood

It is no longer the question of when or if your company is going to outsource, it is now a matter of how you execute your plan, such that you and your outsourcing partner both come out winners. Many companies have fallen victim to the ideology that great fortunes can be saved by outsourcing. Through lack of knowledge, not evaluating the long-term big picture, poor planning, or other reasons - companies are spending more to outsource than originally intended or just plain failing such that both parties lose.

New Process Implementation: A Multi-Dimensional Approach

Jason R. Calus, James M. Ellis, and Brian R. Fletcher

In December 2004, the authors of this Capstone enrolled in Rochester Institute of Technology's Master of Science in Product Development program, representing their sponsoring organization, ITT Space Systems Division. Over the past two years, the Capstone authors participated in this innovative, interdisciplinary leadership program that emphasizes cross-functional, end-to-end product development. Despite their varied educational backgrounds, the authors discovered that they have a common area of interest, that being change management. With that in mind, the authors employed a team-based approach in relation to the Capstone, in order to benefit from each other's experiences and abilities. Additionally, the team recognized that to maximize their graduate education, it would be beneficial for the Capstone to incorporate a case study involving a recent change at Space Systems Division. The subsequent paragraphs, within this Executive Summary, provide the background regarding the Capstone's real-world scenario.

Immersion & Iteration: Leading Edge Approaches for Early Stage Product Planning

Christopher Bondy, Jack Rahill, and Michael L. Povio

Developing and delivering products that truly delight customers is surprisingly more of a unique occurrence than most would believe. Amongst the vast array of mediocre products reside a few elite products that customers truly seek out to acquire beyond anything else offered in the marketplace-these products are truly "breakthrough" products. Breakthrough in that they provide customer benefits that address the unmet and unspoken wants and needs of the customer. Breakthrough products deliver value in a manner that excites the customer by the almost intuitive way these products resonate with their real world requirements. From the developers' perspective, breakthrough products define markets, steal market share and deliver better profit margins than incremental products that only provide sustaining business results.

The Role of the Voice of the Customer in Product Development: Identification of Process Issues and a Review of Current Practices

Diego A. Pereda, Joel Spano, and Roderick F. Zimmerman

To win in the marketplace, manufacturers must develop product or services that are differentiated from all the others in a manner which resonate with the end user. Understanding the customer and how to meet their needs is more important than best practice and process efficiency. Some studies suggest as many as 40% of projects fail because of failure to understand the customer needs. {Bove, 1994, p.57} There is evidence that suggests understanding customer needs is the foundation for delivering a successful product. The work of Hewlett Packard's manager Edith Wilson, Don Clausing and the by The MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity are used to validate the importance of understanding customer needs to develop successful products.