Interdisciplinary Product Development

At the beginning of the fall semester, I was wondering what classes to take and after speaking with a couple classmates, I chose to enroll in IPD, Interdisciplinary Product Development. Before applying to UIC Liautaud, I had heard of the class and was somewhat intrigued, but I hadn’t researched it too much. When I enrolled I didn’t really know what the class entailed, but I understood that it involved working in a group, for an actual company, trying to create a product for them to bring to market. I had never done anything like this before and I figured it would be a great learning experience. I’m always up for a challenge, so I figured I would give it a go.   

What I didn’t realize was just how “real” this class is. Our class meets in the UIC Innovation Center, which is a great place by the way. If you haven’t been there, check it out. Anyway, I am part of a group consisting of two MBA students, three Engineering students, and two Industrial Design students; a true cross functional team. Our class also has four professors, all from different backgrounds, teaching us the necessary steps to research a concept, plan a new product, and develop it into something that can make money in a consumer market. 

This is a two semester course, so I’m not even at the halfway point. However, I am very thankful that I signed up for this class; it really gives a person a true sense of what’s involved in new product planning and development. Previously, I wasn’t entirely sure of what I wanted to do upon graduation. However, since going through this class, I’ve been able to clearly see how much I enjoy market research and new product development. I know that once I leave school, I need to work with people. I need change, challenges, and don’t want to sit at a desk day in and day out.

One of the steps in creating a product is conducting market research; doing interviews and observing. During the process of figuring out which ideas to pursue, our group had to do a lot of this.  We interviewed a lot of different people and tried to get an understanding of what people knew about our topic.  I had never done this before, and after doing this for class, I can honestly say I would love to make a career out of it. I truly enjoy sitting down with a person and picking their brain about a topic, figuring out what they know, and understanding how they feel it can be improved. Because of this class, I now have a very clear picture of what I want to do.

Another great aspect of this class is working with the other people involved. Everyone is very knowledgeable about multiple topics. I can bring a good understanding about marketing and strategic business decisions to my group, but without the engineers and industrial design students, I would be nowhere. I’ve made new friends and as always, have learned a lot just listening to what they have to say.  

So if you’re thinking about what classes to take and want something that is very real and hands on, look into IPD. Talk to some people about the course and maybe even take a walk over to the Innovation Center. Check the place out and see what’s going on over there. I think you’ll like what you see.  I know I can't wait to see what the rest of this class has in store for me!

For more information on the course, check out this link: www.ipd.uic.edu/IPD/