Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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Jonathan Cagan

Dr. Jonathan Cagan

Co-Founder, Ladd Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Pittsburgh, PA


Jonathan Cagan, PhD & PE, is an expert in product development and design methods for early stage product development. His research focuses on design theory and methods, product development and strategy, cognition in engineering design, and computational design tools. His research in both design methods and computer-based design have been applied in a variety of industries. In addition to serving as faculty member for the III, Jon is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs for the College of Engineering and a George Tallman & Florence Barrett Ladd Professor in Mechanical Engineering.

As the coauthor of three books and a leader in innovation, Jon has engaged extensively with industry. He has consulted with a variety of small and large companies in diverse areas on product development, brand strategy, and strategic planning. His consulting work includes teaching new product development in executive training sessions. Previously, Jon made an impact on industry as co-founder and Chief Technologist of DesignAdvance Systems, Inc., a company focused on developing CAD software for the early synthesis processes.

Jon has 250 peer-reviewed publications and 6 issued and 2 pending patents. He is an associate editor for Design Studies and Design Science, was a former associate editor of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)'s Journal of Mechanical Design, and also currently serves on the editorial boards of Research in Engineering Design, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, and the Journal of Engineering Design. Jon served on the advisory board for The Design Society from 2001-2005. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania.

  • Design theory & methods
  • Product development & strategy
  • Cognition in engineering design
  • Computational design tools
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Rochester 
  • Cagan, J., and C. M. Vogel. “Creating Breakthrough Products: Innovation from Product Planning to Program Approval.” Financial Times Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002. Second edition: Creating Breakthrough Products: Revealing the Secrets that Drive Global Innovation, Financial Times Press, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2013.
  • Boatwright, P. B. H., and J. Cagan. “Built to Love: Creating Captivating Customers.” Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, September 2010.
  • Vogel, C. M., J. Cagan and P. B. H. Boatwright. “The Design of Things to Come: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Products.” Wharton School Press/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2005. Translated to Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Italian.
  • Antonsson, E. K., and J. Cagan, eds. "Formal Engineering Design Synthesis.” Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2001.

For a complete list of publications, visit Jon's website.

  • Design Automation Award - American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Design Theory and Methodology Award - American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Outstanding Research Award, Carnegie Mellon University - College of Engineering

Additionally, Jon has won more than ten Best Paper Awards

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