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Walter Herbst on Product Innovation


Capstone Integration Project

MMM team works on a project with Vera Bradley

The MMM coursework culminates in the capstone course, Integration Project. The course involves applying specific knowledge of design innovation together with general knowledge of business to address a problem of real world importance to the client. Students work in teams of four to six with the aid of a faculty supervisor from either the Kellogg School of Management or the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Most projects involve introduction of a new product/business venture. The project requires a visit to the company site at both the beginning and end of the project, plus a formal final report and presentation. Often, the final deliverables will be presented to senior level executives within the sponsoring company.

Over the years, many clients have found great value in the Integration Projects and often implement them within their companies. Similarly, MMM students enjoy the opportunity to apply their knowledge and learn from the hands on experience this project facilitates.

Past projects have included:

  • Supplier Park Design: A team of students worked with a major automobile OEM and several suppliers in assessing the strategic issues that would arise with building the supplier park and provided insightful solutions to those issues.
  • Customer Resource Management: Working with a computer manufacturer, the student team provided a recommendation for how to most effectively synchronize three independent customer service contact methods (telephone, fax and email).
  • International Operations Audit: When a medical devices manufacturer wanted to open a plant overseas, they counted on a team of MMM students to provide an operational audit for various locations and assessed the best way to transition to the new plant.
  • Knowledge Management System: A telecommunications equipment manufacturer had manufacturing systems worldwide that were all facing similar issues. Through an Integration Project, a team of students helped the company design a system that would allow the various facilities to share data about how factories were operating and practices implemented to improve efficiency.

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