Projects

Students complete an extensive project during their final year in the program, based on a real problem often identified in the companies where they work. The corporate-oriented Capstone project encompasses the broad integrative aspects of new product development – it synthesizes, increases, and demonstrates the student’s understanding of program material and underscores the behaviors essential to product development leadership. The Capstone project generates immediate benefits to sponsoring organizations.

Below is a list of previous capstone project titles and abstracts, by year.  Copies of the full reports are available upon request.

2017

“A Blueprint for Organizational Change: A Systems Approach to Creating and Sustaining Organizational Change”

Authors: Michaela Donnelly

Abstract: The paper reviews a recent attempt by a newly acquired subsidiary to facilitate deployment of a broad corporate-wide change initiative. This project compares and contrasts change efforts against established protocols and outlines a new framework, with the goal of crafting a foundation for mature companies undertaking large scale change initiatives.

“Improving Information Flow: The Application of Lean Principles within Business Meetings”

Authors: Seth Hill and Andrew Saladzius

Abstract: Using Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) and Structuration Theory, we show how Lean Tools such as Visual Management and Leadership Standard Work can be leveraged to significantly improve the flow of information both vertically and horizontally throughout an organization.

“Enablers and Barriers to Successful Design for Customization: A Holistic Investigation”

Authors: Marco Racheli and Daniel Halloran

Abstract: Customization strategies to date have been explored from product, production system, and supply chain perspectives in an isolated, topical manner. This project takes a holistic systems approach to developing a customization strategy and then examines impacts to product design, production systems and supply chain design.

“Analysis of Failure Modes for Translation of VOC Into Engineering Requirements at Eaton”

Authors: Esther Ledesma

Abstract: Products that fail to meet sales projections often show a disconnect between customer and product requirements. This report identifies the most relevant and impactful failure modes at Eaton and offers recommendations, focusing on the application of user-driven development tools.

“An Assessment of Engineering-to-Order within the Context of an Existing Product Platform”

Authors: Frank Tamarez Gomez

Abstract: This project analyzes engineer-to-order requests over a two year period on two product platforms within a components manufacturing company to identify challenges faced by a company whose business model is based on mass customization. Opportunities for improvement are identified with particular relevance to engineering.

“Framework for Evaluating Critical Knowledge Transfer in the NPD Process”

Authors: Robert Burnett, Jake Dietz, and Alex Loycano

Abstract: This paper proposes a framework for identifying and quantifying knowledge transfer gaps within the New Product Development (NPD) process to enable targeted, cost effective solutions. Methods of mapping knowledge management flows, identifying & quantifying critical knowledge management gaps in the business process, and identifying potential solutions are presented. Results of a qualitative study from three companies are presented and knowledge management recommendations are made based on the findings.

“Aligning Business Decision Making to Strategy”

Authors: Donald Barnes, Katherine Dominguez, Whitney Vázquez

Abstract: A lack of clear strategic intent and poor execution leads to frequent and inefficient resource shifting, with costs not well quantified. The lack of tacit knowledge, inevitable repetition of work, lowered efficiency and morale all have a negative impact on engineers, especially if the rationale for change is not well understood or communicated. Through surveys, interviews, and statistical analysis, this project investigates the implementation and costs associated with a divisional strategy for resource shifting.

“Technical Debt: Extending the Metaphor”

Authors: Tony DalSanto, Pedro Lugo-Perez, Jaime Vázquez-Mendoza

Abstract: Technical Debt (TD) is a metaphor used by software engineers to express the state and health of software. Code has intrinsic value (principal) where the perception of that value might be higher than the actual value (debt). Software can lose value over time (depreciation) and there is a rate at which debt is accrued (interest). While source code itself has all of these attributes, the authors contend that much of the debt is determined by the perceptions of decision makers and the decisions made in applying resources to utilize and transform software. This paper examines and characterizes components of TD that are external to the source code.

“Integrator Risk Assessment Tool (iRAFT): An Updated Concurrent Product Development Risk Assessment Tool”

Authors: Francis Conway, Joe Ehman, Venus Limcheron

Abstract: In today’s competitive landscape, low development costs, new features and time to market are high priorities for companies trying to stay ahead of their competition. Many companies rely on outsourcing to supplement internal capabilities but, oftentimes, anticipated benefits of outsourcing are not always realized.  This project presents a risk assessment framework to help decision makers quantify supplier risk.

2016

“Managing the Transition Toward a More Software-Centric Product Base” 

Authors: Kyle DeCoster, David Thompson

Abstract: This project focuses on what companies should do as they transition from industrial products to a more software-focused product portfolio; in particular, how different functions within the organization should adapt during such transition to increase the likelihood of future success.

“Raymond Corporation:  A Study in New Product Development”

Author: Shane Storman

Abstract: Understanding where a product stands along its product maturity cycle and tailoring investments is important to corporate profits and health.  Has it become a commodity or is it somewhere earlier in the lifecycle where innovation and technological differentiation still have significant impact?  This project evaluates a company’s new product portfolio to assess whether investment levels are consistent with product maturity.

“Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Reduce the Hidden Costs of Research and Development Outsourcing”

Authors: Bruce Smith, Richard Gruszewski, Jim Van Bortel, Don Thresh

Abstract: Senior level decisions to outsource R& D projects oftentimes fail to consider “hidden” or unexpected costs, thereby reducing or negating anticipated benefits. This paper examines the impact of a systematic approach across several layers of management within multiple organizations to uncover hidden costs and more accurately estimate the benefits of an outsourcing initiative.

“The Panic Factor: Organizational Emotional Response to Partnership, Merger, and Acquisition”

Authors: Guido DiMatteo, Joe Ferrara, Jim Meyers, and Valerie Parcero

Abstract: A model is developed to evaluate an organization’s emotional response to large scale PMA’s.  By considering factors such as emotional response intensity, longevity, and the relationship of these metrics to organizational perceptions, the model is able to help detect the presence of “organizations panic” and define its impact so that negative consequences to individuals and organizations can be minimized.

“Practices for Partnership Success”

Authors: Ted Demyda, Matt Gerega, Fadi Rouhana, Ed Moskal

Abstract: This project focused on practices to increase the success rate of large scale partnerships, and concluded with recommendations in six key areas.   A straightforward mechanism is offered to identify and implement these best practices, and metrics are provided to track performance.

2015

“An Exploratory Examination of Structured Ideation within Product Development Teams”

Authors: Joe Goodsell, Dan Scales, Chris Wergin

Abstract: Set Based Concurrent Engineering (SBCE) has been recognized as a method to fuel innovation, yet companies struggle to adopt SBCE.  One challenge identified is the generation of multiple concept sets at the front end of product development. The companies investigated were excited about generating new ideas; however, they had very little experience with structured ideation methods.  This project examines both the barriers and how to use of structured ideation tools, including a current state assessment and an exploratory experiment at two companies

“Embracing Risk: Analysis of Negotiation Behaviors in Inter-Organizational Relationships”

Authors: Nick Guzylak

Abstract: This project analyzes negotiation behaviors between various groups in the new product development planning process. Behaviors are identified that are the most conducive to mutual understanding and cooperation and, ultimately, benefit the entire organization.

“The Problem Sourced Advantage: Utilizing the Problem Sourcing Toolbox to Rapidly Accelerate and Steer Product Development”

Authors: Donald Ausmus, Christopher Pinto

Abstract: This paper examines collaborative problem sourcing methodologies and shows how problem sourcing can be utilized to accelerate product development efforts.  Considerable confusion exists in terminology which can result in ineffective communication, poorly defined requirements, and unsuccessful utilization of resources.

“Developing an Objective Approach to Assessing the DoD’s Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) of a Design”

Author: Daniel Herrling

Abstract: Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) is used by the DoD to assess the likelihood of success of a given design prior to manufacturing.  This project demonstrated an approach to improve objectivity in assessing the MRL through better use of data and appropriate analysis, to replace subjective human-based assessment. 

2014

“The Application of Business Fundamentals Utilizing a New Product Development Framework for Emerging Aquaculture Markets”

Authors: Oliver Miller, Michael Kenward

Abstract: Although profits can be made from aquaculture on a commercial scale, there is a high degree of risk associated with this type of business venture.  This capstone team investigates root causes for aquaculture businesses failure.

“An Investigation of Requirements Engineering Errors in Safety-Critical Product Development”

Author: Paul Ebert

Abstract: This research presents a qualitative case study of how and where errors are introduced in the requirements engineering process of a medical device manufacturer. Causes are explored and proposals for process improvement are provided.

“Leveraging Enterprise IT Systems to Develop VoC for New Product Development”

Authors: Zhassulan Amirov, Richard Ray

Abstract: This capstone project explores the opportunity to leverage enterprise IT business systems to augment conventional VoC processes.

2013

“Statistical Worldview Analytical Metric Indicator”

Authors: Jack Fitzgerald, Tom Walter, Bill Eign

Abstract: Using metrics to measure performance is well understood, but metrics can also aide in predicting the success of a product development effort.  This paper focuses on the evaluation of metrics to help practitioners determine if chosen measures are, in fact, effective.  The paper will introduce a new tool called the “Statistical Worldview Analytical Metric Indicator” to help determine if a metric correlates with the success of an organizations product development efforts.

“Approximate Life-Cycle Cost Estimation – A Case Study”

Authors: Chuck Munson, Josh Jones, Chin So

Abstract: A lifecycle estimating (ALE) model is developed to help improve planning through better information, and to provide opportunities for design trades, design to cost targeting, and cost reduction initiatives. An artificial neural network (ANN) methodology is employed to develop the model.

“Patterns of Waste in Product Development”

Authors: EJ Ryder, Jason Simmons, Sam Mendolia

Abstract: This paper examines product development models and how they facilitate the identification of waste patterns, and provides insights for specific projects and organizations on how to identify waste.  Once characterized, waste can be reduced or eliminated.

2012

“A Communication Methodology to Improve Collaboration in Cross-Functional Teams in the New Product Development Arena”

Authors: Allison Matusick, Margot Sandy, Tim Weiskopff

Abstract: Collaboration within cross-functional teams has been studied extensively, but counterproductive conflict continues to be an obstacle to team performance.   This project examines how teams can better identify a set of tools to mitigate or avoid conflict, and then develops a robust toolset for application within the New Product Development domain.

“Right-Sourcing Product Development”

Authors: Jason Stanbro, Don Moran, Doug Axtell

Abstract: Appropriate sourcing of new product development requires that organizations consider a myriad of factors, both internal and external.  This paper carefully examines both successful and unsuccessful outsourcing relationships as well as insourcing arrangements, to help identify critical decision criteria and their impact on “right-sourcing.”  Finally, a tool is developed to help organizations make more informed sourcing decisions.

“Agile Principles in Regulated Development Environments"

Authors: Sam Saif, Prasad Puzhankara, Savio Soares, Eric Zolner

Abstract: This project explores the application of “Agile” product development methodologies to companies in heavily regulated industries.  Although agile principles have been utilized extensively, application to medical device development and to other regulated industries has been limited and the results disappointing.  Three case studies are examined and recommendations are provided for incorporating Agile principles in regulated product development processes.

“ROADS - Robust Organization Analysis and Design Synthesis”

Authors: Pete Richard, Tim Rountree, Amit Khanna, Charlie Hacker

Abstract: Today’s leaders face unrelenting pressure to utilize the resources and energy of their organizations for growth, often by harnessing policies informed by best practices.  Leaders must also monitor the enterprise to validate whether policies product desired outputs, and then respond effectively.  This project identifies analytical methods to help select and apply guiding principles to organizational challenges, and proposes a new methodology called “Robust Organization Analysis and Design Synthesis (ROADS)” founded on systems engineering principles.

“New Product Development Analysis of a Federal Vendor”

Authors: Justin McMillan, Kevin Muto, Jeff Prokop, Roy Sumarsono

Abstract: In spite of extensive research on new product development, little attention has been given to firms known as “global vendors” to the federal government.  This project will attempt to characterize and identify key practices employed by one of “top 100” federal vendors, compared to best practices captured in the literature and associated with commercial enterprises.  The goal is a plan to improve NPD performance at federal vendors.

“Towards Empowerment: A Methodology Linking Psychological and Structural Empowerment”

Authors: Chris Rericha, Bill Egert, Andrew Pierson

Abstract: Current literature on empowerment has largely been focused on either structural or psychological elements of empowerment. This project investigates the links between these two characterizations and proposes a novel methodology for identifying structural obstacles to greater psychological empowerment.

“Business Model Evaluation”

Authors: Eduardo Martony, Michael Cote

Abstract: In today’s competitive environment, companies need a strong business model  that articulates how the organization creates and captures value.  Assessment of a business model requires not only a fundamental understanding but also how to use the business model and how to identify which components are critical for success.  This paper uncovers some of the mysteries surrounding business models and offers suggestions on how to effectively evaluate them.

2011

“Component Obsolescence: Managing Lifecycle Differences in Commercial Products for the Department of Defense”

Authors: Scott Bartholemew, Travis Brown, Glen Dragon, Aaron Smykowski.

Abstract: The Department of Defense (DoD) is constantly looking to improve its communications capabilities. In order to meet cutting edge technological needs, producers of military products must utilize the latest commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) components.  COTS components often have a primary use in the high volume commercial markets (eg. smart phones) which are characterized by short product lifecycles to satisfy consumer needs and remain competitive.  Most tactical military products have a very long design, production and support period that can often exceed ten years. Given the lifecycle mismatch, an obsolescence management process is essential for a producer of military products to effectively manage obsolescence.

“Lean Concepts and the Ideation Phase of New Product Development”

Authors: John Giorgi, John Serio, Mehran Sabzehi, Brian Wenink.

Abstract: Lean methods have been widely studied and practiced by many manufacturing and product development organizations.  While manufacturing has garnered much of the attention, product development has also been examined as companies take a holistic view of how their business processes can be continuously improved through lean thinking.  This paper looks at the application of lean philosophies such as fast failure, continuous improvement, and pull processing to idea genesis, selection, and new product introduction.  Findings suggest that companies with innovation processes that exhibited the most lean behaviors were also most satisfied with their performance.

“Listening to the Voices: Identifying Critical Success Factors of World-Class Voice of the Customer Processes”

Authors: James McCusker, Joshua Ostrander, Joseph Presicci, Bret Woz.

Abstract: Companies all create products and services for customers but there is considerable variation in how customer information is gathered and utilized.  Needs and wants, usually referred to as “Voice of the Customer” (VoC), consists of many things obtained in many ways, and most companies struggle with the VoC process.  Companies in government and military markets struggle even more and their VoC process are oftentimes more difficult to understand and less thoroughly studied.  This paper focuses on the differences between these two market types for the purpose of development insights and offering suggestions to organizations looking for world-class VoC elicitation techniques.

2010

“Decision Criteria for Backshoring or Retaining Advanced Manufacturing, New Product Development, and R&D Activities Onshore”

Authors: Linn Hoover, Derek Schmitt, Matthew Ochs

Abstract: There is emerging evidence of companies "backshoring" work that had previously been offshored as well as companies retaining advanced manufacturing, new product development, and R&D “onshore”.  This capstone project identified twenty decision criteria cited by companies for retaining or backshoring these activities to the US, and defines units of measure for each criterion. A decision-making process is proposed including concept selection and decision modeling tools to assist senior managers as they evaluate options regarding onshore/offshore or offshore/backshore.

“Inefficiencies in Management Customer Software Problems: A Case Study on Opportunities to Improved the Customer Software Problem Management Process”

Authors: David Campbell, Alan Dawson, Timothy Dioguardi

Abstract: This paper discusses the complexities of software and how companies manage the customer software support process, to identify inefficiencies and to formulate improvement strategies.  Common issues include ineffective communication, decentralized information technology (IT) systems, and a lack of dedicated software maintenance teams.   Opportunities exist to improve the customer software problem management (CSPM) process which can provide competitive advantage through the efficient resolution of customer software problems.

“Identifying Success Factors for Inter-firm Online Collaboration Within the New Product Development Process”

Authors: James Guentner, Matthew Hoffmann, Seth Merritt

Abstract: Online collaboration and the success factors that enable its adoption within an extended new product development (NPD) team are not well understood, causing companies to underutilize social media within the NPD process. This paper attempts to understand whether these tools can be effectively used to improve NPD, and what the success factors are for deploying and utilizing online collaboration tools.  A qualitative repertory grid technique is used to solicit antecedents, success factors and consequences from social media experts.

”Enablers and Barriers to Successful Platform-based Product Development”

Authors: David Havens, Jens Jorgensen, Paul Salvatore

Abstract: Product development teams are facing continued pressure to develop more products in less time and with fewer resources. Platform-based developed is commonly seen as a solution to increase capacity of the product development pipeline.  This paper focuses on identifying enablers and barriers to successful platform-based product development by utilizing data from successful and unsuccessful platform development teams working under similar constraints.   Key enablers include institutionalizing systems engineering, development and communication of product development roadmaps, augmentation of phase gate review process and critical parameter characterization.  Augmentation of phase gate review process includes a recommendation to focus product development justification on point products and product development on a family of products.  Operational recommendations are considered possible without significant changes to existing processes and organizational structures.

2009

“Developing New Products for Emerging Markets: A Competency Based Approach”

Authors: Casey Kang, Matt Place, Donna Seyler

Abstract: Multinational corporations (MNC’s) are strategically disadvantaged in developing new products for emerging markets due to geographical, economic, social, culture, infrastructure and governmental differences. The lack of solid market data often forces MNCs to use generic macroeconomic data and to make assumptions based on their home markets.  Our work suggests that deeply embedded values, processes and resources need to be adjusted to win in emerging markets.

“Holistic Approach to Lessons Learned in the New Product Development Process”

Authors: Robin Louvain, Matt Pankow, Mike Sculley

Abstract: To be effective at organizational learning, a company needs a structured, holistic approach to its lessons-learned process. The approach must be built upon a foundation of strong management support and a culture that promotes learning.  A formal lessons-learned process should be integrated into the product development process and utilized at the start of the project, during project execution, and at project conclusion in a post-project review (that focuses on processes), and in a post-launch review (that evaluates the product in the market).

“Sustainability: Waste Stream Utilization”

Authors: Trevor Gyles, Alicia Mruthyunjaya, Franly Sanchez, Jerry Valentino

Abstract: As sustainability continues to gain momentum, companies are seeking ways to integrate sustainbility into their product development process and to understand the impact of their decisions on the environment.  By using waste as raw material, companies can continue to recycle technical and biological nutrients to improve resource utilization across the entire ecosystem. This project focuses on the characteristics that enable resource exchanges to take place and provides insights on the role taken by product development.

“The Commercialization of Radical Innovation in Small Companies: Theory and Application to Catalytic Converter Industry”

Authors: Charles Dickinson, Kevin Kolmetz, Michael McVeigh, John Solpietro

Abstract: This project examinnes a nanomaterials start-up company and its efforts to commercialize a"radical innovation” and sell into a well established market.  Recommendations are offered on the basis of existing literature and a comprehensive assessment of the company and its target market.

2008

“Effectively Integrating Design Thinking into the NPD Process”

Authors: Dale Ryan, Ellery Wong, Tom Pierce

Abstract: This Capstone project argues that the insertion of “design thinking” principles and practices into the NPD process can significantly enhance the innovation capability and competitiveness of the firm.  Specifically, design thinking methodologies provide a means of conceiving and delivering products with relevant product differentiation and resonating customer value, which yield a measurable and significant return-on-investment.  Further, the integration of design thinking into an existing NPD process can be accomplished in a straightforward manner.

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

Authors: Jeffrey Earl, Steve Hart, David Lomenzo

Abstract: Harvard University Professor Clayton Christensen is well regarded for his research on product life cycles and the theory of the shifting basis of competition.  Firms competing in the 1st stage are generally vertically integrated with integral product architectures and rely heavily on tacit engineering knowledge of how the product works.  In the 4th basis of competition price and product variety are most important.  This Capstone team suggests an opportunity for firms to move beyond the 4th to a 5th basis of competition, where the product definition changes to include not just the physical item but also the entire customer experience surrounding the product.  Firms must go beyond appealing products to customer-specific services.

“Challenges in Incorporation Sustainability into Product Development”

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

Abstract: Our study began with an overview of the role of internal considerations as a firm implements a sustainability strategy, but we found that, in general, the literature was unable 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 actually implement such a strategy. Using a qualitative approach, we studied two business divisions at two 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”

Authors: James Apolito, Shawn Chawgo, Jennifer Rice

Abstract: The project examines technology transfer practices which aid small-to-medium sized enterprises (SME’s) commercialize new technologies.  A survey was conducted with three large firms to understand best practices and shortcomings encountered during technology transfer efforts.  The same survey was then given to seven SME’s to examine similarities and differences with large firms.  The surveys in combination with secondary research was used to identify key enablers of technology transfer and to develop a model to assist companies of all sizes in the commercialization of new technologies.

2007

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

Authors: Alicia Campbell, David Cipolla, Rod Proulx

Abstract:  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”

Authors: Timothy Carter, Kimberly Wayman, Michael Lopez

Abstract: 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.  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 project examines ways that knowledge transfer can reduce overall development cost and optimize cycle time.

“Foundations for Strategic Outsourcing

Authors: Jonathan Hunter, Mark Raymond, Daniel Wood

Abstract:  Many companies have fallen victim to the belief that outsourcing will guarantee long term success.  Through inadequate information, a lack of long-term thinking and planning, and a host of other reasons, companies continue to spend more and achieve less with their outsourcing programs.  This project examines a number of companies that have been successful and unsuccessful in the outsourcing arena.  The authors summarize best practices and create a toolkit to increase the success rate of outsourcing activities.

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

Authors: Christopher Bondy, Jack Rahill, Michael Povio

Abstract:  Developing products that truly delight customers is, surprisingly, an unusual occurrence.  Uncovering the requirements that drive breakthrough products is a daunting product planning task in today’s fast moving, competitive, and high-tech global marketplace. This project examines obstacles that arise in the traditional product planning process to the conceptualization and development of breakthrough products.  Results suggest that successful companies engage in much more intimate immersion with target customers, they build more prototypes, and frequently revisit the planning process throughout the development process.  A new product planning process is proposed for breakthrough products.

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

Authors: Diego Pereda, Joel Spano, Roderick Zimmerman

Abstract:  To win in the marketplace, manufacturers must develop product or services that are differentiated from all the others in a manner which resonates with the end user.  Understanding the customer and how to meet their needs is more important than best practices or process efficiency.  This project reviews commonly used VOC techniques in the literature and at both  Xerox and ITT Space Systems, and then proposes a new VOC process to addresses shortfalls.

2006

“Convergence of Market and Technology Opportunities in Derivative Product Development: A Project Selection Framework”

Authors: Carol-Lynn Goldstein, Matthew McLaughlin, Jeanne Wesline

Abstract:  Firms today increasingly seek to leverage product platforms via derivative product versions of the base platform, but successfully doing so is a significant challenge.  Numerous enablers are required, such as robust product development processes, effective and well trained organizations, R&D activities that are aligned to support product strategies, and a clearly defined corporate strategy.  In derivative product development, firms struggle with identifying the optimum derivatives to develop and bring to market.  Our research has lead us to propose a generic derivative concept generation and selection framework of use in platform development.

“Partnering to Productize Technology: Putting Best Practices to Test in Developing and Launching New Products”

Authors: Ravi K Nareppa. David S. Shuman

Abstract:  Having performed an in-depth review of available literature on the topic of innovation and partnering, one could conclude that there are many companies that systematically process ideas and incorporate them into new products. While examples abound of larger companies performing collaborations, we became curious about how concepts and inventions can be passed from the unaffiliated inventor to the corporate world. Cases where individual or small teams of inventors were able to find a home for their technology with large companies were few. Thus it was decided that perhaps the best way we might gain in- depth knowledge on this topic was to develop a product of our own and try to make some contacts with potential partners.

“Open Innovation Inside & Out: Recommendations to Xerox & Delphi”

Authors: Nancy Jia, David Anderson, Shelly Hamilton

Abstract:  Since Henry Chesbrough coined the term Open Innovation in his 2003 book Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, Open Innovation has become a buzz phrase in the business world and numerous publications have been released on the topic. Unfortunately most of the literature is limited in scope to the aspect of Open Innovation which deals with leveraging ideas originating outside the four walls of the firm and in general fails to provide practical advice from an established firm's perspective.  To address this shortfall, the authors propose the development and implementation of a virtual Innovation Marketplace, breaking down the organizational silos within the firm, aiding in the creation of a high-energy, innovative environment of collaboration labeled “Open Inside.”

“New Process Implementation: A Multi-Dimensional Approach”

Authors: Jason Calus, James Ellis, Brian Fletcher

Abstract:  The goal of this project is to address deficiencies in the literature regarding the organizational impact of new process implementation.  The authors closely examine a process roll-out at ITT Space Systems and develop a segmentation model that provide insights of use to other firms.

“Achieving Growth for Large Pharmaceutical Corporations through Strategic Licensing”

Author: X. Michael Liu

Abstract: Product development in the pharmaceutical industry has become a lengthy, risky, costly and extremely complex process.  Few pharmaceutical companies today have the breadth of internal proficiency and resources required to continuously develop sufficient new products to keep their pipelines filled.  Many large pharmaceutical corporations have utilized mechanisms such as licensing, alliances and acquisitions to obtain new products/technology and fuel growth. This capstone research project focuses on strategic licensing as an effective means of achieving top line growth for pharmaceutical companies.  It utilizes secondary and primary research to identify critical success factors and failure indicators associated with licensing agreements between large pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotech firms.  Current “best practices” in pharmaceutical licensing are also identified.

2005

“Strategic Thinking and Resource Management in Small to Mid-Size Printing Companies”

Authors: Bob Strach, Jeff Miller

Abstract:  Very little research has been conducted within the printing industry to identify how small companies develop strategic plans and make decisions for the future.  This study provides insights into the strategic development process through exploratory interviews with firms experiencing a broad range of growth rates.  Results show that small and medium size companies who carefully align resources with a strategic plan for growth experience high growth relative to their industry average.

“What is the Right Platform Development Strategy for a Small, High Tech Company?”

Authors: Brian Bessel, Ken Rosys, Tom Patrick

Abstract:  Contemporary literature on product platforms is focused almost exclusively on large organizations, but small companies have constraints and organizational structures that may prohibit adoption of platform strategies common to larger companies.  This paper examines fifteen small high-technology companies and develops a platform “continuum” that relates organizational characteristics and behaviors to success in executing a platform strategy. 

“Using Technological Growth Curves for Business Decision Making”

Author: Matile Malimabe

Abstract: A methodology is presented for improving product forecasting by integrating robust forecasting techniques associated with technological product diffusion.  Historical data, industry trends, and survey information provide inputs to several prediction models, which are utilized to generate growth curves.  The goal is to provide general managers with a tool to understand forecasts and enable enlightened decision making regarding product development and deployment in the marketplace.

“Leveraging the Organization’s Collective Intelligence: The Application of Prediction Markets to the New Product Development Process”

Authors: Tim Green, Sarwat Siddique

2004

"Conducting Market Research Using Web-based Methods and Their Impact on the Product Development Process”

Authors: Kris Hartman, Tina Chapman

Abstract:  Failure to adequately understand market needs and trends is the primary reason that new products fail in the marketplace.  This paper examines web-based market research methods and their important role in understanding customers and markets, and in improving the effectiveness of the product development process.

"Examining the Implications of the Integral/Modular/Re-Integral Hypothesis of Product Architecture: A Study of the Contemporary Camera, Automobile, and Disk Drive Industries"

Authors: Jim Nargi, Joe Miska, Mary Schlitzer

Abstract:  Ease of use, miniaturization, and design differentiation in commoditized markets are recognized as important new drivers of reintegration.  Several contemporary trends present additional risks during the reintegration stage to companies trying to avoid undifferentiated product offerings and obsolescence.  This paper examines three key industries, through primary and secondary research, and provides insights and advice to companies in the face of commoditization.

"New Product Development: Corporate Culture and Quantitative Tools"

Authors: Gar Larkin, Mark Trzyzewski

2003

"Disruptive Indicators and an Early Warning Methodology"

Authors: Peter Cucci , Greg Eisenbach, Megan Weiner

Abstract: Clayton Christensen has shown how disruptive innovations can affect an incumbent company’s products and competitive position. This paper explores whether or not a disruptive event in predictable.  In particular, conditions are examined under which radically different customer solutions and business models are required to compete. Using Geoffrey Moore's technology adoption model in conjunction with Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation, three case studies are critiqued and early indicators identified. These indicators are then applied to a situation that is predicted to happen, to demonstrate that organizations can respond proactively.

"Tacit Knowledge Transfer -- The Integrator's Dilemna”

Authors: Ted Foos, Gary Schum

Abstract: This project centers on the challenges associated with internalizing and integrating tacit knowledge from an external partner.  The authors investigate factors such as contracts, due diligence, and trust, that may influence the transfer of tacit knowledge from one organization to another.  Suggestions are made for improving transfer and retention of tacit knowledge to improve the success of alliances and acquisitions. (This project was published in the Journal of Knowledge Management, v. 10, #1, 2006, pp. 6-18).

"A Commercialization Framework for Making Strategic Make, Buy, and Sell Decisions"

Authors: Dan Czuprynski, Wayne Didas, Lisa Simpson

Abstract: This project is focused on providing a strategic framework for make/buy/sell decisions. Areas investigated include decision making, new product commercialization, and value chain participation with the goal of developing a collection of recommended practices for the firm to improve their make/buy/sell decision making capability. A strategic framework is provided for integration with the product commercialization process.  Four industry segments were researched to learn how decisions are really made.  These decision models were evaluated against recommended practices and a newly developed decision making maturity model.

2002

“Radical Innovation in Medium Size Companies”

Authors: Patricia Dwyer, Connie Treese

Abstract:  Unlike large enterprises and small startup companies, medium-sized firms ($100-$500MM in revenues) have been below the radar screen with respect to investigations of their unique challenges and assets for innovation implementation.    Like large firms, medium-sized firms have institutionalized process-oriented structures to some degree.  Like smaller companies, medium-sized firms have limited resources to support R&D or to defend commercialization of groundbreaking products.  This exploratory study examines radical innovation in medium-size firms to uncover contextual issues unique to firms in this size category.  Specific focus areas include: strategic view of radical innovation, decision-making framework, metrics utilized to approve and track projects, team structure, and other operational aspects of innovation.

“An Exploration into the Fuzzy Front End of Innovation”

Authors: Dhirendra Damji, Scott Latona, Rajesh Mehta, Eric Mundt

Abstract:  A firm’s ability to balance its efficient and rational tendencies against its entrepreneurial drive and innovation process has a strong influence on a company’s ability to create new products.  This paper examines the least understood segment of the innovation pipeline, the initial stage of the pipeline or “fuzzy front end.”  By drawing strong parallels between the entrepreneurial process and the processes at the front end of the innovation process, and validating them with primary data, the authors offer a new framework for the fuzzy front end along with suggestions to help companies improve.

“Strategic Alliances: Dynamic Factors That Can Change a Firm’s Competitiveness”

Authors: Mike Flood, Melissa McCullough

Abstract:  Strategic alliances have become an essential component of corporate business strategy, yet statistics suggest that up to 70% of alliances fail to deliver on their objectives.  The authors examine the dynamic behavior of alliances, with an emphasis on those factors which originally influenced alliance formation.  A framework for analysis of an alliance’s environment is provided, and five cases are studied to test validity of the model and provide recommendations for alliance formation and management.

“Creating Competitive Advantage in Commodity Markets:  The Implications of Product Modularity on the Product Development Process”

Authors: Johanne Korrie, Terry Street, Giana Phelan

Abstract:  As the basis of competition moves away from features and functions to price and product variety, it becomes too complex, time-consuming, and expensive to develop integrated products.  Consequently, companies must eventually modularize their designs; yet, the ability to create a product-based differentiation strategy is difficult in industries with modular product architectures.  This paper examines how leading firms that compete in modular markets sustain competitive advantage, and how their product differentiation methodology affects the product development process.  Six distinct approaches are identified and then examined at firms that have successfully adopted each approach.

“Discovery of Hidden Assets in Large and Small Companies”

Authors: Jim Abraham, Matt Lowenstein, Win Trafton

Abstract:  Traditional methods of coupling a company’s capabilities with the needs of customers are well known, yet maintaining a competitive advantage through these capabilities is a constant concern.  Adrian Slywotzky and Richard Wise in, “The Growth Crisis – and How to Escape It,” have coined the term “hidden assets” and described how companies can leverage these assets to provide solutions that meet higher-order customer needs.  This paper focuses on a methodology to help uncover a company’s hidden assets, one that considers core competencies, strategic assets, capabilities, and strategic alignment.  Hypotheses are tested through interviews at a series of large and small companies.

2001

“Application of a Model for Effective Personality Profiling of Key Decision Makers for Use in Competitive Intelligence”

Authors: Nancy Dibella, Bob Gerardi, Peter Kelch, Bill Messner

Abstract:  Developing models that forecast competitive behavior provides important strategic advantages.  Unfortunately, a key decision maker’s personality and style of thinking are absent from most competitive intelligence models.  This paper builds upon an established model for personality profiling and develops a process for gathering, analyzing, and characterizing the behavioral pattern of key decision makers.  A scorecard is proposed and the process validated through case studies.

“Methods for Improving the Technology Readiness Assessment Process within New Product Development”

Authors: Nick Evevsky, Tom Maurer, Tom Wright

Abstract:  Although significant improvements have been made to stage-gate processes and tools, may commercialization projects still fail as a result of inadequate risk assessment and risk management associated with new technologies.  The authors identify several opportunities to improve the effectiveness of technology readiness assessment activities.  A model is developed to address these opportunities, and a methodology is proposed for applying the decision model to existing stage-gate processes.  The model is tested and verified on twenty projects.

“The Role of Architecture in Defining the Business Strategy for New Product Development”

Authors: Jeff Drawe, Dave Erdtmann, Mary Roux

Abstract:  In search for sustainable growth, mature companies continually formulate new business strategies.  At the same time, these companies are exploring new product architectures and technologies as a source of competitive advantage.  Oftentimes, unfortunately, these activities take place independently because companies fail to comprehend the interdependencies.  In this paper, a framework is presented that identifies key aspects and architectural decisions needed by firms to develop radically new business concepts.  Three case studies are analyzed and were found to support the hypothesis that product architecture decisions play a critical role in building new business concepts.  Linking architecture with business concept development allows companies to consider the entire value stream in its NPD strategy.

“Technology Clusters – Improving Technology Transfer”

Authors: Anne Bohan, Lisa DeLouise, Paul Wegman

Abstract:  Regional industrial specialization has long been a recognized phenomenon, but the utilization of industrial clusters as a framework for economic development has not been exploited until recently.  This paper explores the tenets of industrial cluster theory and applies them to the Rochester regional photonics cluster, to better understand the underpinnings of the cluster and to identify barriers to economic growth.  A framework is developed and used to derive recommendations for facilitating growth of the Rochester regional photonics cluster.

“Practical Guide to Assessing Organizational Readiness for Capitalizing on Virtual Teams”

Authors: Joe Hancock, Mark Jankowski

Abstract:  The use of virtual teams in new product development has many established benefits; however, organizations have had difficulty implementing virtual teams with any level of consistency.  This paper presents a practical new tool, called the Virtual Teaming Scorecard, to help project managers assess whether their organization is capable of leveraging virtual teams to meet project objectives.  Decision criteria are provided, along with decision support and real-world examples for each assessment characteristic.  A case study illustrates utilization of the scorecard to predict the likelihood of success in a product development program.

“Start-up acceleration of NPD”

Authors: Jodi Aboujoudi, Joe Rouhana, Mark Muscato

Abstract:  Increasingly complex products and shorter product development cycle times impose significant challenges for teams and managers.  This Capstone project seeks to better understand root causes associated with sluggish performance early in a project’s life cycle.  An in-depth examination of a recent project is undertaken along with historical data analysis from 180 other projects.  Suggestions are offered for addressing the sources of slow progress during the early stages of NPD.

“Selecting Winning Product Ideas in Mature Manufacturing Companies”

Authors: Mark Amico, Sue Burek, Zhenze Hu

Abstract:  This project examines the extent to which a popular screening tool can be applied to mature industries, and looks for opportunities to enhance the underlying model.  Several hypotheses are developed and tested against data collected on 21 projects from three companies. Results from the study are utilized to adjust the model and provide recommendations for mature companies interested in improving their idea selection processes.

“Radical Innovation: An Analysis of Strategy and Capabilities of Corporations in Upstate NY”

Authors: Nick Ganzon, Mike Moorehead, Jack Rieger

Abstract:  Established companies are usually successful at incremental innovation but have difficulties with radical innovation characteristic of new or unstable markets.  Qualitative research based on interviews and published data were collected from five companies in upstate New York.  Based on these studies, the authors describe best practices, and practices to avoid, to help companies create a culture of radical innovation that can coexist with capabilities for incremental innovation.  A radical innovation capability model is proposed to enable companies to track progress in capability development.

2000

“Strategic Sourcing of Product Development Services – A Decision Making Framework”

Authors: Neil Dempsey, Salvador Barragan-Perez, Charles Cappellino.  

Abstract: Execution of an extended enterprise sourcing model for product development services is an essential endeavor in today's highly competitive and fast paced global economy.  This project explores the critical challenges that must be overcome as companies seek to implement the extended enterprise, including supplier capability assessment, the impact on maintenance of technical competencies, and confusion over roles and responsibilities. A four-step framework is developed to assist product development managers in making effective sourcing decisions.  (This project was presented at the Management Roundtable conference on Product and Process Leadership in Boston, April 2001, and published in the Journal of Supply Chain Management).

“The Governance Mechanisms that Influence the Success of International Strategic Alliances”

Authors: Ed Solcz, Mike Piccirilli, Bill Williams

Abstract: This project examines three primary factors that influence the success of international strategic alliances: the selection of an alliance partner, the choice of organizational form or governance structure, and the management processes used to govern the relationship.  A diagnostic/prescriptive tool is developed to determine the likelihood of alliance success.  Along with a concise set of lessons learned, utilization of the tool will enhance the probability of success for future alliances.

“Collaborative Design and Development to Accelerate Durable Goods Design and Manufacturing”

Authors: Gary Faguy, Tom Lambert, David Thompson, Kris Walker

Abstract: The ever increasing demand for new products at benchmark quality levels necessitates the engagement of partners.  Enabled by the Internet and advanced software, a new breed of collaborative design tools is emerging that will solve many of the problems experienced while partnering.  Our research shows that two major organizational limitations must be solved in order for assembled products companies to embrace these critical tools: 1) internal resources must be optimized by creating true concurrent design practices across global geographies, and 2) partnerships must be extended in an effort to virtualize resources.

“Applying Self-Organizing Principles to Product Development in a Globally Distributed Environment”

Authors: Mike Monahan, Gene DiTomasso, Tony Fantanzo

Abstract: Command and control style management is often too slow or inefficient to manage complex organizations in a turbulent marketplace.  There is a tendency for these organizations to suffer from process paralysis.  Globalization of product design among business partners in a web-based environment represents a paradigm shift in new product development which requires fundamentally new ways of architecting, designing and manufacturing products. This project examines ways in which governing principles of complex adaptive systems can be utilized to improve the architecting, design and management processes of products developed in globally distributed environments.

“Technology Infrastructure Services at Customer Sites”

Authors: Anthony Nozzi, Amy VanDerwerken

Abstract:  Employees located at customer sites often do not have access to electronic information services provided to employees at internally connected sites.  This project undertakes the development of an information systems architecture that enables the delivery of employee services and access to internal corporate resources at remote sites.  A business and technical feasibility analysis forms a solid foundation for full-scale development and implementation.

“Platform Element Dynamics in a Multi-Product Development Environment”

Authors: Hamidah Mansor, Mark Troia

Abstract: One popular approach designed to improve product delivery and lower cost is to develop a family of products based on a common platform. Despite mounds of literature and years of industry experience associated with platform implementation, there continue to be significant challenges with this approach.  In this project a strategic framework is constructed to evaluate the factors affecting platform strategy. A structure is provided to assess the platform development process against its organizational infrastructure and in the context of continuous technology evolution. New ideas are forwarded to improve the platform development process and identify a complementary organizational infrastructure.  A technology roadmap for future platforms is also identified.

“The Application of Software Process Improvement (SPI) and CMM to the New Product Development Process and Financial Results”

Authors: Anthony Bradley, Chris Shafer

Abstract: SPI initiatives are commonplace in today’s software development companies.  Logically, these initiatives should translate into more efficient product development and, therefore, to improved productivity and cost savings.  This project examines SPI activities in a number of companies to determine financial impact and NPD process performance impact.  Guidelines are provided to help managers make intelligent decisions about the application of CMM to SPI initiatives as a function of organizational size and structure, project type and scope.