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Press Release

Contact: Chriss Swaney
(412)268-5776
or Joelle Park
(412)268-5765

For immediate release:
October 22, 2001

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Pen New Book, Create Industry Consortium

PITTSBURGH-Two Carnegie Mellon professsors have written a new book that defies the old adage "that form follows function." The book, "Creating Breakthrough Products: Innovation From Product Planning to Program Approval," can help executives operate more competitively and efficiently in the midst of any economic climate. Given the current national crisis, it is especially imperative to maintain a strong investment in new product innovation.

In perhaps the biggest change for most companies, the book shows them how to shift their focus from the past 20 years to the new paradigm that "form and function must fulfill fantasy."

Technology innovation and quality manufacturing are still important to developing successful products. But successful products must always connect with customer needs and values. And those needs and values are a moving target.

That's why co-authors Jonathan Cagan and Craig M. Vogel, professors of mechanical engineering and design respectively, at Carnegie Mellon, show that companies must master three approaches before they can build break-through products. They are: 1) identifying opportunities that don't simply solve existing problems but create possibilities for new experiences; 2) developing products that meet specific needs of the consumer, and 3) building truly interdisciplinary engineering, design and marketing teams.

The book also offers a step-by-step guide for creating products that can achieve a competitive advantage for companies. It specifically maps out the crucial "Fuzzy Front End" stages of what the authors call the Integrated New Product Development Process. It also provides new techniques for integrating interdisciplinary teams and how to manage them.

Over the past decade, the authors have introduced new tools and methods for new product development based on primary research and consulting with small and large corporations. The authors have also developed and taught an internationally recognized course on "New Product Development" at Carnegie Mellon that has focused on a litany of industries, and, most recently, led to patented designs for Ford Motor Co. for use on its F-Series trucks.

The material used to create this new book combined current best practices with these new tools and methods.

The effort has also led to creation of an interdisciplinary research and education consortium. The Consortium for New Product Development at Carnegie Mellon will seek to partner with industry to show how good design can be made and used effectively in everyday life.

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