Methods & Tools for Product Innovation Online Certificate
With any great innovation, it’s the people behind the product that drive it. Our Methods & Tools for Product Innovation Certificate trains you to identify promising opportunities and to develop insightful solutions, integrating business, design and engineering principles.
By leading interviews and employing powerful research methods, you’ll learn by doing, unearthing the problems your product seeks to solve. You’ll learn how to gather data to explore new possibilities, transform unstructured data into meaningful insights via analysis tools, and ensure that human experience is always at the heart of what you create. Go from blank slate to prototypes in a matter of weeks.
The certificate may be completed conveniently online in as little as one semester.
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What Will You Gain?
Students will use project-based learning to gain the skills needed to move from ideas and concepts to product completion. Data-driven decision-making is a vital part of the process, and students will utilize ethnographic techniques to identify opportunities that appeal to potential users. The certificate also emphasizes visual communication techniques that push ideas forward.
- Ability to leverage an innovation process, starting with white space and finishing with an innovative product concept
- Methods to gain specific insights into human needs, the foundation of any product/service opportunity
- Tools to analyze unstructured data to discover insights relevant for new products
The Methods & Tools for Product Innovation certificate is divided into two courses. The first course is organized around a general product innovation process: identifying, understanding, and conceptualizing a product opportunity. The second course will cover methods of user research, including one-on-one interviewing and ethnographic techniques.
Course 1: 49-604, Innovation Processes & Tools
- Learn and use an innovation process: identifying, understanding, and conceptualizing
- Gain knowledge to assess trends, identify opportunities, and uncover value propositions
- Focus on communication skills — both verbal and visual
- Implement an innovation process, leading to the final deliverable of a product concept
This course covers early stages of a product innovation process: identifying, understanding, and then conceptualizing a product opportunity. The course presents fundamental tools to assess trends, identify opportunities, identify and uncover the value proposition of key stakeholders, articulate the value proposition, define product requirements, and conceptualize solutions. Because innovation insights and ideas are new and can be abstract without additional effort, it is important that students learn how to make ideas more concrete via visual communication techniques. As such, communication of work and findings are core to this course.
We will cover the following:
- Industrial design sketching
- Information visualization & dashboards
- Graphic user interface design
- Executive summary and pitch decks
- Visual brand language, templates and styling
- Visual explanations
- Storyboarding and making simple videos
Course 2: 49-605, User Experience Research for Digital and Physical Products
- Learn methods of user research, from interviewing to ethnographic techniques
- Use ethnography in a project, both in digital and traditional settings
- Plan research, collect data, analyze, and synthesize data into a research report that identifies specific opportunities to innovate with new offerings.
This course will teach the basic methods of user research, including one-on-one interviewing and ethnographic techniques. To master certain skills, students will dive deeper into one method. Students apply the basic principles of ethnography in a project as participant observers in both digital and traditional settings.
Students will plan the research, collect data, analyze, and synthesize what was learned, and present a research report that identifies not only what was observed, but also interprets its meaning and indicates opportunities to innovate with new offerings. Although the course will focus on qualitative and primary research, the benefits of quantitative and secondary research will also be addressed. The course includes lectures and discussions, along with readings and research assignments.
Am I a Good Fit?
The iii's online coursework attracts career-minded individuals who are looking for a flexible learning structure that allows them to go to school and continue working full time.
Highly qualified candidates demonstrate a passion for product & service development, innovation, and/or entrepreneurship and have the following background. Sound like you? Learn more about the admissions process.