Class IX


Class IX completed their Capstone projects in November 2008. 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.

Effectively Integrating Design Thinking into the NPD Process

Dale Ryan, Ellery Wong & Tom Pierce

Current front-end processes for product concept generation are generally stuck in over-analytical methods that only yield either easily-duplicated incremental innovation or highly risky radical innovation. Incremental innovation is usually driven by Marketing, which is listening to the firm's current set of customers and looking to merely extend the firm's already-successful products. Radical innovation is usually driven by new technology from the R&D department, championed by an executive as a pet project. Without deep knowledge of customers' needs, the tech-driven innovation will likely not sell. Without input from new technology, the customer-driven innovation will never find new customers and markets. We need to bring together the questions of "What can we do?" and "What do customers need?" to answer the fundamental question of "What is the best product for us to develop?" However, even getting the Marketing and R&D people together is insufficient.

From Products to Services: A Case Study on Transitioning to Services-led Strategy

Jeffrey Earl, Steve Hart, David Lomenzo

Performance is the initial basis of competition because when new products emerge, they are generally focused on pure functionality. For example, during the 1970s rigid disk drive manufacturers competed based on hard disk capacity because mainstream customers, who were mainframe computer makers, demanded capacity. Other attributes were important in defining the minimum configuration required to "play the game" - such as a 14" diameter form factor - but the key differentiating attribute was drive capacity. Performance overshoot occurs because the trajectory of product improvement is generally steeper than the trajectory of customer demand.

Challenges in Incorporation Sustainability into Product Development

S.A.Athalye, S.K. Govindarajan, C.A. Lopez

Our study began with an overview of the role of internal factors in how a firm implements a sustainability strategy. We conclude that, in general, the literature was too normative to guide implementation of a corporate sustainability strategy or initiative at the level of the product development value chain. Therefore, we sought to understand how senior and mid?level managers in a business division actually implement such a strategy. Using a qualitative approach, we studied two business divisions at two different large, multinational firms that are relatively early in their development of an integrated sustainability strategy. Our findings provide insight into the role of internal factors at the level of a business division as it attempts to incorporate sustainability into product development.

Technology Transfer: Does Company Size Matter? A Comparison of SME's vs. Large Corporations

James Apolito, Shawn Chawgo, Jennifer Rice

The following capstone begins with an evaluation of scholarly works in an attempt to characterize the current state of the art on the subject of technology transfer, particularly with regard to transfer programs and practices which aid SME's in commercializing new technologies. A survey was then conducted with three large firms who develop highly differentiated products and are known in their respective industries as leading-edge producers. The questions asked during the survey were carefully chosen to unveil both best practices and shortcomings encountered during their transfer efforts. The same survey was then given to seven SME's for the same reason as stated before. The results of the surveys in combination with information gathered from the current knowledge base was then used to develop a model that could be implemented to assist companies of all sizes in the commercialization of new technologies. Also, key enablers of technology transfer will be identified and discussed.