Carnegie Mellon University

2018 Doherty Award Recipient

Jonathan CaganJonathan Cagan

George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Jonathan Cagan has been passionate about the teaching, research and practice of design innovation throughout his nearly 30 years as faculty at Carnegie Mellon University.  His work in integrated product development with colleagues in the College of Fine Arts (CFA) and Tepper School of Business helped put Carnegie Mellon on the map as a world leader in design innovation education and research, and resulted in the formation of the Integrated Innovation Institute.  

Within the institute, Jon co-created the Master of Integrated Innovation for Products and Services program almost 20 years ago as a professional degree in new product development. More recently, he co-founded the Master of Science in Technology Ventures (MSTV), a bicoastal degree that teaches students how to start, manage and succeed in new venture creation. In this program, students can complete their M.S. in a traditional technology area in Pittsburgh and the entrepreneurial MSTV degree in Silicon Valley. Today, 150 students graduate annually from the Integrated Innovation Institute and its programs.

Jon also helped to create the Venture Bridge, now part of the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, a pre-accelerator at the Silicon Valley campus to enable students and alumni to transition their idea from concept to startup.

Jon has authored three books on product innovation including "Creating Breakthrough Products," considered a classic in product innovation methods. Used in industry and universities throughout the world, the book provides the pedagogical and curricula basis for the institute and several other design efforts at CMU.  

Jon’s research focuses on design methods, cognitive problem-solving and computation. By understanding the fundamental cognitive mechanisms that individuals and teams of designers use while solving problems, new approaches to automating design and problem-solving emerge. These models leverage design representation, optimal search and machine learning, resulting in over 250 reviewed publications and several patents. Focus areas include computer-human teaming and biomechanical systems design and diagnostics. Jon’s research deeply benefits from the collaborative DNA of CMU.

Jon serves as associate dean for graduate and faculty affairs in the College of Engineering. He is the recipient of the College of Engineering’s Outstanding Research Award, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a recipient of the ASME Design Theory and Methodology Award. He has received more than a dozen best and other honored paper awards. Jon also serves as associate editor of several design journals. He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Rochester, his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and is a registered Professional Engineer.

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