Methods & Tools for Product Innovation
With any great innovation, it’s the people behind the product that drive it. Our online 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. Gain a new perspective with our certificate and make ‘next’ happen now.
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.
Because this certificate is offered online, courses may be taken from anywhere with an internet connection. Students experience the challenging curriculum of Carnegie Mellon University, grow professionally, and earn a transcript showing graduate-level credits.
What will you gain from the Methods & Tools for Product Innovation?
- Ability to leverage an innovation process, starting with white space and finishing with an innovation 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 then 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
Weekly visual communication assignments will allow students to develop their communication skills throughout the course. The course will revolve around opportunities for product innovation. This is a project-based, team-based course in which teams will be given an open-ended problem statement. Students will implement the innovation process that they learn in their project, leading to a final deliverable of a product concept that they communicate with both text and visual techniques.
Course 2: 49-605, User 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 a participant observer 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.