Design Thinking and Doing at UC Berkeley

Professor Alice Agogino’s Portfolio of teaching innovation through design thinking and doing at UC Berkeley.

Graduate Courses

blueball Managing the New Product Development Process: Design Theory and Methodology: This course is an operationally focused course, as it aims to develop the interdisciplinary skills required for successful product development in today’s competitive marketplace. Engineering, iSchool, Business, etc. students from Berkeley and Industrial Design students from California College of the Arts join forces on small product development teams to step through the new product development process in detail, learning about the available tools and techniques to execute each process step along the way. Each student brings his or her own disciplinary perspective to the team effort, and must learn to synthesize that perspective with those of the other students in the group to develop a sound, marketable product. Students can expect to depart the semester understanding new product development processes as well as useful tools, techniques and organizational structures that support new product development practice in the context of the “triple bottom line”: economy, environment and society. Although the course focuses on the application of these principles to new product development, they are more broadly applicable to innovation in general – of products, services, organizations, business strategies and governmental policies. This course will also receive credit towards the design option for the Engineers and Business Sustainability Certificate. This course is team taught with an instructor from the Haas School of Business (Sara Beckman 1995-2010; Mark Martin 2005, 2011-2012; Jonathan Propp, 2013; Michael Borrus 2015)
blueball Innovation through Design Thinking Designed for professionally-oriented graduate students, this course explores key concepts in design inovation based on the human-centered design an approach called “design thinking”. Topics cover include human-centered design research, analysis of research to develop design principles, creativity techniques, user needs framing and strategic business modeling. This course will introduce students to the tools and practices of innovation, deep customer insight, and design thinking in real world applications.
blueball Design, Evaluate and Scale Development Technologies  The primary goal is to provide students with a set of skills that will allow them to flourish in a climate of complex problem solving and design challenges in development engineering.  Students will learn to participate in and lead innovation and creativity in collaborative settings. Students will learn how to learn from users using qualitative and quantitative tools including surveys, interviews, new monitoring technologies, statistical analyses and experimental designs. Students will be able to apply these skills to current challenges in development engineering. Students will use multiple qualitative and quantitative methods to learn about user needs, to come up with new ideas, and to understand how new products and services achieve or fail to achieve their goals in a development setting. Students will consider solutions in context and devise business plans and plans for continuous improvement. This required course for the Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering will include projects and case studies, many related to projects at UC Berkeley, such as those associated with the Development Impact Lab (DIL)).
blueball Green Product Development: Design for Sustainability The focus of the course is management of innovation processes for sustainable products, from product definition to sustainable manufacturing and financial models. Using a project in which students will be asked to design and develop a product or service focused on sustainability, we will teach processes for collecting customer and user needs data, prioritizing that data, developing a product specification, sketching and building product prototypes, and interacting with the customer/community during product development. The course is intended as a very hands-on experience in the “green” product development process. In addition, This course will also receive credit towards the design option for the Engineers and Business Sustainability Certificate. In 2007 this course was team-taught with Sara Beckman (Haas School of Business) and Nathan Shedroff (Chair, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of Arts).
blueball Cognition and Development: Educational Issues in Engineering Design and Problem Solving, Spring 1997, Spring 2010 syllabus.
blueball KAUST ME220 – Theory and Methods in Product Design, Spring 2010 Course Description and Syllabus. Taught through distance learning with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). I brought in designers from Dar Al Hekma (a women’s college in Saudi Arabia) and the emerging Green Jeddah initiative.

Undergraduate Courses

blueball ME110 Introduction to New Product Development, Spring 2003-2004, 2010-2011, 2013-2015. This course provides an introduction to the engineering design process and conceptual design of products. It provides an experience in preliminary project planning of complex and realistic mechanical engineering systems. Design concepts and techniques are introduced; the student’s design ability is developed in a design project or feasibility study chosen to emphasize innovation and ingenuity, and provide wide coverage of engineering topics. Design optimization and social, environmental, economic, and political implications are included. There is an emphasis on hands-on creative components, teamwork, and effective communication. There is a special emphasis on the management of innovation processes for the development of sustainable products, from product definition to sustainable manufacturing and financial models. Both individual and group oral presentations will be required. Photos of 2015 final tradeshow.
blueball E10: Introduction to Design and Analysis; Mechanical Engineering Module: Human-Centered Sustainable Product Design (course website) How do engineers design successful, sustainable products? Students in this module will follow the human-centered design process to investigate the needs of stakeholders and develop sustainable solutions for one of several projects. This sustainable product development process includes customer needs analyses, conceptual design, prototyping, testing and life cycle analyses. Various prototyping tools will be available, including our new rapid prototyping equipment. Students can expect to finish this module with an understanding of what sustainability means, how designers draw from sustainability concepts, and the process used to generate and evaluate sustainable solutions.
blueball E39F Freshman/Sophomore Seminar: Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CARES). Freshman/ Sophomore Seminar on CARES (Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability) with Application to the Pinoleville Pomo Nation. CARES research has shown that living sustainably, having access to accurate environmental data, and having implementable solutions are of major concerns to consumers. Research also indicates that people would be more eager to adopt a sustainable lifestyle if they are able to collaborate, share and work together with others. CARES seeks to help reduce climate change by being the first to close the loop of assessment, advisement and implementation of more sustainable lifestyles. This seminar will cover approaches to community assessment of renewable energy, with a focus on conservation, geothermal, microhydo-electric, solar photovoltaic, solar hot water heating, and wind energy. We will also explore issues associate with creating a “green corridor” with electric vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area with connections to Northern California tribes.
blueball Engineering 39D/ Women’s Studies 39E: Designing Technology for Girls and Women, Spring 2003 Designing Technology for Girls and Women. This course covered gender issues associated with new product development from a human-centered design perspective. Students learned to apply state-of-the-art information technology and new tools in product development to tackle and design solutions to crucial societal problems. The problems and the populations the class serves were determined by the students through service work conducted during the first two weeks of class, but could have included problems in energy, health care, education, transportation, underserved community groups, and the environment. Students had an opportunity to work in multidisciplinary design teams, give both individual and group oral presentations and attend a Saturday interactive design workshop with target users and industry sponsors. This class worked closely with the Institute of Women and Technology (www.iwt.org) and supporting companies in the SF Bay area. The mission of IWT is to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology and to increase the positive impact of technology on the lives of the world’s women.
blueball ME 39C and ME 139C, Spring 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 Multidisciplinary Multimedia in Engineering Design. The philosophy for this course is to encourage students to develop an understanding of engineering through investigation and design in a collaborative learning environment. Students will be encouraged to construct their understanding and share their knowledge and experience during case studies development with other students. As modeled by the instructor, students will provide feedback and critique to other students on projects. Instruction is based on the Scaffolded Knowledge Integration framework. We hope to build on students’ intutions in design, capitalize on social supports, and make thinking explicit. The Kolb model of experiential learning is used to structure activities to promote learning into four areas that include reflective observation, active experimentation, concrete experience, and abstract conceptualization [Kolb, 1984; Svinicki & Dixon, 1990]. This model of experiential learning is appropriate for professional engineering education with a view towards preparation for lifelong learning and as a means of accommodating and exploiting learning style differences.

Also see:

blueball Berkeley Institute of Design (BiD): The Berkeley Institute of Design (BiD) is a research group that fosters a deeply interdisciplinary approach to design for the 21st century, spanning human-computer interaction, mechanical design, education, architecture and art practice.
blueball Human-Centered Design Threads: Design is pervasive in our lives, as we spend most of our time interacting with human-made tools, objects, services, and information spaces. All these interactions are mediated through design, through structures and processes which are meant to optimize our relations with our environment. Design then is not only about form, but also about function, purpose and meaning. Many design questions start with an object or a practice, but lead to fundamental questions of economics, justice, and philosophy. The Course Thread in Human-Centered Design connects a rich offering of courses to the core question of design: Who does what with which tools? This question can be answered in a historical or visionary context, but also in a theoretical and a practical context. Hence our course thread connects business courses with engineering courses, and reading-intensive courses with practice-driven courses.
blueball The BEST Lab has three major theme areas. (1) The Berkeley Expert Systems Technologies (BEST) Lab addresses cutting edge research in applied Artificial Intelligence, Expert Systems, Human-Computer Interaction and Design Informatics. (2) The Berkeley Energy and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Lab focuses on sustainable communities, sustainable product design, alternate energy and appropriate technologies. (3) The Berkeley Emergent Space Tensegrities (BEST) is a new collaboration on tensegrity soft robotics with NASA Ames.

Products and Nonprofits from Agogino’s Design Innovation Courses in the News

  • E10 & MBA290N/ME290P: CARES (Community Assessment for Renewable Energy and Sustainability) and the Pinoleville Pomo Nation case study
    • Student design embraced by Pinoleville Pomo Nation, Forefront feature article by Abby Cohn, Spring 2009.”What started as a six-week project for engineering freshmen is helping to create culturally sensitive and energy-efficient housing for a small California Indian tribe. A yurt-style house design conceived in last spring’s E10, Engineering Design and Analysis, was used as the base concept for several successful housing grant applications by members of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation (PPN), who will use the funds to build up to 26 new homes in the Mendocino County community of Ukiah, California. Student design embraced by Pinoleville Pomo Nation, Forefront feature article by Abby Cohn, Spring 2009. “What started as a six-week project for engineering freshmen is helping to create culturally sensitive and energy-efficient housing for a small California Indian tribe. A yurt-style house design conceived in last spring’s E10, Engineering Design and Analysis, was used as the base concept for several successful housing grant applications by members of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation (PPN), who will use the funds to build up to 26 new homes in the Mendocino County community of Ukiah, California. “There’s an acute need for housing here,” says David Edmunds, environmental director for the tribe, which has about 300 members scattered throughout northern California. “Housing is considered a linchpin for a lot of things the tribe wants to accomplish.” Sustainability is also important to tribal members, and this spring new teams of E10 students are investigating the possibility of retrofitting existing Pomo homes with solar hot water heaters, photovoltaic systems and other energy-efficient improvements.” More on the project can be found at the website for the Pinoleville Pomo Nation Collaboration.
    • A Real-Life Lesson in Design, CARES (Community Assessment for Renewable Energy and Sustainability) ME290P & E10: Innovations: Research and News from Berkeley Engineering, Vol. 2 Issue 9, October 2008. What started as a six-week project for freshmen engineering students may create culturally sensitive and energy-efficient housing for a small California Indian tribe. A roundhouse-style design conceived in last spring’s E10 Engineering Design and Analysis course has been embraced by members of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation. The tribe plans to submit the UC Berkeley concept when it applies for federal funding to build up to 25 new homes in the Mendocino County community of Ukiah. This project will also be featured in a new course by Professor Galen Cranz on “Socially Conscious Design” in Architecture Spring 2009.
    • Student design embraced by Pinoleville Pomo Nation, UCB COE News, August 2009.
    • Filling the Sustainability Information Gap: The CARES Project, TriplePundit, August 2009.
    • Engineering Design that CARES, June 20, 2011. Ryan brought the idea to his advisor, Mechanical Engineering Professor Alice Agogino, who decided to make it a module in her E10 Human-Centered Sustainable Design class in Fall 2008. She worked with the PPN, Ryan and UC Berkeley architecture graduate student Yael Perez to drive the Berkeley students two hours north to spend a day meeting with members of the PPN on their sovereign Native American soil. They used an Innovation Workshop format based on Agogino’s prior work in leading co-design workshops with under-served communities. This workshop was the first of many such meetings that resulted in an innovative and decidedly Pomo home prototype. The first three homes, funded with grants from HUD and DOE, will be completed in August 2011.
    • Healthier Tribal Housing: Combining the Best of Old and New, Environmental Health Perspectives, 2013.
    • Indian Country Leading Green-Building Revolution, Indian Country Today, May 14, 2013.
    • MBA290N/ME290P: Revolution Foods (taught this year with Sara Beckman and Mark Martin.)
      • MBA team Revolution Foods wins social venture competition , UC Berkeley News, April 17, 2009.
      • Revolution Foods Brings Organic Goodies on Lunchbox Bus Tour to New York City and New Jersey , TreeHugger, August 16, 2009.
      • At Some Schools, Tastier Trays Come at a Price, Washington Post, September 30, 2009. Excerpt: “Oakland, Calif.-based Revolution Foods thinks it might have a solution. The four-year-old company turns out thousands of made-from-scratch meals — such as roasted chicken with yams, beans, a locally grown peach and a carton of milk — that meet all Department of Agriculture nutrition standards. It shuns high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats and includes only hormone- and antibiotic-free milk and meat and all-natural ingredients. The price, between $2.90 and $3 per lunch, is not much higher than the current $2.68 the government pays.”
      • Healthy, organic and cheap school lunches? Order up , USA Today, December 1, 2009.
      • Oakland’s Revolution Foods tastes school success , San Francisco Business Times, March 27, 2009. Excerpt: “In little more than three years, Oakland-based Revolution Foods has grown to provide 100 schools — 9,000 Bay Area children and 5,000 in Los Angeles and San Diego — with healthy school lunches. It employs 120 people, 80 locally, and is on track to bring in revenue over $10 million for its fiscal year ending in June. Revolution Foods will add 50 California schools next academic year, mostly charters. Next fall it could move out of state. Washington, D.C., and Denver, Colo., are likely to see early spinoffs. Along the way, Revolution Foods has also licensed a growing line of packaged snack products. The founders, Kristin Groos Richmond and Kirsten Tobey, met at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where they shared a passion for education reform, health and business.”
      • Making a Healthy Lunch, and Making It a Cause , New York Times, January 23, 2010. Excerpt: “Friends since they met in business school at the University of California, Berkeley, Ms. Richmond and Ms. Tobey founded Revolution Foods Inc. to ride a political and economic wave: surging support for healthier food in school cafeterias. Federal nutrition guidelines require subsidized school lunches to meet benchmarks on calories and fat, but they do not require that foods be whole, local, truly nutritious or good to eat. As a result, the standard cafeteria fare is doing little to curb the nation’s rising rate of childhood obesity and might even be contributing to it. That was the problem that Ms. Richmond and Ms. Tobey identified in a graduate school class and set out to solve. What began as a class project is now a growing company with headquarters in Oakland, 240 employees and operations in Los Angeles, Denver and Washington.”
      • Revolution Foods Bringing 30,000 Nutritional School Lunches Per Day to Nation’s Cafeterias , Planet Green, January 26, 2010, 2010. Excerpt: “Enter Revolution Foods. They’re a for-profit company bent on providing fresh, healthy, organic, local (whenever possible) and nutritional foods to the nation’s school system. Quite a concept, right? The company began as a collaborative project between two grad students at UC Berkeley’s business school, moved onto a series of pilot programs in Oakland, and is now operating in the Bay Area, Washington, LA, and Denver. And they’re serving up 30,000 nutritional lunches to kids a day.”
      • America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs , Bloomberg Businessweek 2010. Excerpt: “Tobey and Richmond met at the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley and hatched the idea of creating a venture that combined their backgrounds in education with their shared love of food. Currently, with 120 employees and two commercial kitchens, Revolution delivers more than 20,000 lunches to more than 100 schools in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, with plans to expand across the country. Two years ago, the pair launched a separate business: Revolution Foods, an organic line of food products sold online and at Whole Foods. Last year, the company earned $4 million in revenue for their fiscal year that ended in June and Tobey says they are on track to make $10 million this year.”
      • The War Over America’s Lunch , Time Magazine, April 26, 2010.
      • School Menus Get a Makeover and the Kids Love It, CBS EVening News, October 5, 2010. Excerpt: “Five years ago, the Berkely Business School grads behind Revolution were preparing 200 meals a day for one school. Now they’re running a company that serves almost 60,000 fresh and healthy meals to mostly low-income students in 350 schools and programs from California to Washington, DC.”
      • Colorado schools extend healthier options to vending machines, September 5, 2011. Revolution Foods serves more nutritious breakfasts and lunches to 71 Colorado schools, most of them charters. The Oakland, Calif.-based company started operating here in 2009.
      • School of Thought: 11 Education Activists for 2011 Time, January 6, 2011.
      • October 06, 2011 video clip from the Today Show. Nutritionist Joy Bauer picked Revolution Foods Fruit & Veggie Mashups as a “Healthy Lunchbox Find”. She claims, “I love the packaging, they are adorable!”
      • Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Aim To Disrupt Food Industry, Forbes, January 23, 2012.
      • May 11, 2012, CNN Money, 100 fastest growing inner city businesses: Revolution Foods is #2 on the list. 2010 Revenues: $17.9 million; 5-year Annual Growth Rate: 144%. Revolution Foods provides healthy, fresh, affordable meals to school districts in over 20 cities across the United States. Founded by CEO Kristin Richmond and her U.C. Berkeley classmate Kirsten Tobey, the company now boasts 770 employees and is growing at a rapid clip. Richmond and company are driven by a mission to combat childhood obesity by providing a robust nutritional education program to schools. As the only company of its kind, Revolution Foods serves large school systems and underserved schools as well as grocery stores. The company is headquartered in inner city Oakland and hires primarily from underserved areas via partnerships with local job development partners across the country.
      • SF school to get healthier lunches, January 1, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle, “While Revolution Foods has been around since 2006, few large school districts have signed up, despite parental pleas for higher quality cafeteria food, because of the higher cost. But over the last few years, Revolution has been among the fastest-growing urban companies, with production centers in California, Colorado, Texas and the East Coast, serving more than 200,000 meals every day to children in private, public and nonprofit school programs. Cost savings came with the growth, allowing Revolution Foods to compete for bigger contracts, going up against national school lunch providers offering frozen meals shipped to school sites all over the country. The company, created by two moms as part of a business school project, nabbed its biggest client yet in December, when it beat out bigger companies to get a $9 million contract with San Francisco Unified.”
      • Revolution Foods celebrates 50 million healthy meals served!, December 11, 2012. On December 12th, Revolution Foods, a leader in education reform by ways of healthy meals and nutrition education will deliver its fifty millionth meal. The release of this meal signifies a major milestone in education reform — proof that it is possible to provide healthy, nutritious, delicious school meals which are compliant and affordable, to all school kids, regardless of socio-economic status. This milestone represents seven years of growth. Over the past seven years, Revolution Foods has established seven regional culinary centers nationwide, provided sustainable career paths for its nearly 1,000 Team Members and a partnership with 850+ school partners who recognize and support the connection between good nutrition and academic success.
      • Biting commentary: A new company is trying to make school meals healthier, The Economist, May 4, 2013.
      • Fox News video: Revolution Foods founder and CEO Kristin Groos Richmond on how her company is changing the way schoolchildren eat, serving 1 million meals a week, May 30, 2013. Kirstin discusses their approach to affordable to kid-tested foods.
      • Lunchables, the Lunchbox King, Faces a Rival Vowing Higher-Quality Fare, New York Times, August 21, 2013.
      • ABC News Good Morning America: Lunch Box Battle: New Take on Lunch Kits with a Healthy Twist, August 28, 2013.
      • For more news on Revolution Foods, go to their real press link.

  • ME110: Sustainable Surfing ReRip.org
    • Sustainable Surfing, By UC Berkeley Students: The Story of Restoked, May 16, 2010. Re-Rip Boards are collected and inventoried depending on their current state; unrideable and broken boards are used in recycling R&D efforts and by local artists to create unique art pieces; or being mulched to add as a filler in concrete – “Surfcrete” The four person team of student mechanical engineers Srikanth Kondragunta, Kimberly Chang, Peter So, and Andrew Riggs project, called ReStoked, as part of Mechanical Engineering 110, taught by Professor Alice Agogino. The team’s trusty TA and coach is Tobias Schultz, founder of the Surfboard Cradle-to-Grave; they have also been coached and assisted by Meghan Dambacher, Co-Founder of Rerip.com.
    • UC Berkeley and Rerip Team Up to Make Surfing Sustainable, July 28, 2010.
    • Rerip saving surfboard from landfills, September 2010. There will be live music from Sezio, local artist Wade Koniakowsky will be painting live, and graduate students from UC Berkeley will be presenting recent research findings related to surf industry sustainability.
    • Article by the College of Engineering: Think globally, surf locally, October 2010. At Berkeley, Schultz also worked on sustainable housing and life-cycle assessment—the painstaking analysis of the resources consumed and pollution caused by manufacturing, using and decommissioning a product.
    • Rerip & UC Berkeley expand surfboard program, September 2010. As the latest step in an ongoing collaboration, the San Diego-based organization Rerip has teamed with Tobias Schultz, from the Mechanical Engineering department at UC Berkeley, to help expand its surfboard recycling program. Schultz, known for his “Surfboard Cradle-to-Grave” study, is a graduate student at UC Berkeley..
    • Keeping surfboards out of landfills with recycling and reuse, January 2011. UC Berkeley and Patagonia are Rerip’s partners in its sustainability efforts, which have allowed the company to divert hundreds of boards from San Diego-area landfills over the past three years, it says. A reminder, then, that even the most unlikely industries produce waste in need of recycling.
    • ReRip videos, May 2011. Agogino and Shultz discuss the course project in Part II and the ME110 class in Part III.
    • Cardiff Surf Classic and Rerip Green Fest, September 19, 2011. Businesses and attendees from across Southern California came together to promote an array of environmental causes during the two-day event at Seaside Reef.
    • New documentary inspired by local event, September 2011. Meghan Dambacher, co-founder of Rerip.com, said the film was an important piece of the puzzle in changing the way people view consumption. Seetrailer.
    • Founding of Rerip San Francisco: Surfboard Recycling in the Bay Area, September 25, 2011.

Other News Articles on Alice Agogino’s Product Development Courses

    • Students Practice Rapid Prototyping in Multidisciplinary Product Course. Artilce on graduate New Product Development Trade Show, 2013. “Professionals from such firms as Google, 44 Energy Technologies, Parc, and Aditi Rao Design added their insights by volunteering as judges and coaches for the experiential learning course, which draws students from across campus, including the College of Engineering and School of Information. The course is taught by Haas Lecturer Jonathan Propp and Alice Agogino, the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Three of the teams at the Trade Show travel from Autonomous University of Mexico City, where they took a similar course and worked in parallel with three UC Berkeley teams. “At the end of the semester we conduct a ‘lessons learned’ exercise with the class. The greatest learning experience for students this year was working in multifunctional teams and conducting in-depth design research with potential customers and potential users,” says Agogino. “We don’t want the students to create a polished prototype of a product no one wants. Rather we want them to focus on creating a conceptual prototype for a compelling product that could go to market.”
Farmer's Market Team toys glove
Garden Gate: tote bag
designed for farmers’ markets
Dash: software, and hardware to
engage kids in science learning
Care Down There:
High tech feminine hygiene
Smart Glove: sensor-based
tracking for feedback on
weight lifting

Meyer Sound sponsored a class project in Alice Agogino’s ME110 design class this Spring. With Jennifer Wang as a mentor, the project was launched as an exhibit at the Lawrence Hall of Science in April and is now part of the Design Quest as an expanded part of the Ingenuity program. Recently, engineers from Meyer Sound Laboratories and students in Alice Agogino’s Mechanical Engineering Product Development course at UC Berkeley developed a sound challenge in which visitors built their own speakers and instruments in the Ingenuity Lab. “Collaborating with engineers makes the activities and topics relevant and rewarding for all involved,” said Jennifer Wang, a UC Berkeley doctoral student in the SESAME program (Studies in Engineering, Math and Science Education) who has helped develop the Ingenuity program at the Hall over the past three years. “It’s a unique experience, and the families that visit play for hours getting their designs to work just they way they want them to.”

Meyer Sound team with Jennifer Wang Find more at: New exhibit at Lawrence Hall of Science helps youths learn engineering skill, Pleasanton Weekly or the blog at Meyer Sound: Putting Audio Engineering into the Hands of Kids.
  • Video on our human-centered sustainable design produced by the Luce Foundation. “The University of California Berkeley Engineering and Business for Sustainability (EBS) Certificate Program brings sustainability into product design and development in a variety of ways, from surfboards to housing. Exemplifying interdisciplinary creativity and consequence, faculty, students, and their partners in various communities show the power of innovative thinking about sustainability.”
    • Grad students design an ‘EcoFridge’ that uses 40 per cent less energy, GreenBiz.com, February 2012. Project from my ME290P class is highlighted. “Imagine an environmentally friendly household refrigerator that is affordable and helps break people’s energy-wasting habits when they use the appliance. That is what team of UC Berkeley grad students in engineering and industrial design students from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico envisioned when they were asked by appliance manufacturer Mabe to develop a cost competitive fridge that is kinder to the environment than others available to consumers in Mexico.”
Photo of Blender Photo of PowerKey Photo of PowerKey Photo of PowerKey Photo of PowerKey
New Product Development class in the news: Haas Achieves Maker Lair: Students Develop New Products in Hands-on Course. (Selected product images above; Teaching team and some judges photo right). instructors_judges

Creativity is a matter of course in Managing the New Product Development Process. For nearly 15 years, this Berkeley MBA/Mechanical Engineering course has guided inter-disciplinary student teams from concept generation through prototype development in a semester-long project. Industry professionals from IDEO, Frog Design, and Google provide coaching to the teams, whose students come from Berkeley MBA and graduate engineering programs and from the California College of the Arts. Work culminates with a product tradeshow. Alden Woodrow, MBA 12, worked on Project “Reinventing the Briefcase,” an idea from Mechanical Engineering teammate Emily Rice, MS 12, who observed that urban professional men use different bags for work, working out, and going out. A flap on the team’s “Either” bag changes the look from conservative black with a leather handle to bright print with shoulder or backpack straps. “We envisioned a young SF lawyer going from an important client meeting to drinks with friends in the Mission,” says Woodrow.

Sue Young, MBA 12, worked on PocketKey, a keychain that can charge a cell phone.” We’ve all had the moment where we can’t call our friend, reply to our boss’ email, or find the restaurant because our phone ran out of battery,” says Young. Learning the importance and the how-to of understanding customer needs was her biggest takeaway from the course. “In a corporate setting, I find the focus within problem solving is more on finding solutions and less on a deep understanding of the problem. In the design process, understanding the need is absolutely critical.”

Working with a UNAM team, the blender of the future is efficient, quiet easy to clean.

  • Concept…Prototype…Product! Haas news article about New Product Development Fall 2012 (taught by Dr. Mark Martin and Celeste Roschuni in 2012 while Alice Agogino was on sabbatical).
    The Industrial Design Society of America featured some of ME290P class projects in their Spring 2005 issue of Innovation. The student designs featured were VinPod Crop Protection System, with Joe Ulrich, Thomas Cauley, Alex Do, Brian Sosnowchik, and Martin White, Bike Thieves SOL with Barry Chubrik, Remy Labesque, Nathan Pletcher, and Adam Rineck, MetroMule with Samir Mehta, Grason Ott, Joanna Moanders, and Ruth Wan, and SnoBunny with Matthew Gale, Jesse Herrick, Gauri Sharma, and Dror Shimshowitz. See Innovation article for photos and article. Download poster for tradeshow (2 MB) here.

Selected Publications Design Education

    • Clive Dym, Alice Agogino, Ozgur Eris, Dan Frey & Larry Leifer “Engineering Design Thinking, Teaching, and Learning,” Journal on Engineering Education, ASEE, v. 94, no. 1, pp. 103-120 (2005). Abstract: This paper is based on the premises that the purpose of engineering education is to graduate engineers who can design, and that design thinking is complex. The paper begins by briefly reviewing the history and role of design in the engineering curriculum. Several dimensions of design thinking are then detailed, explaining why design is hard to learn and harder still to teach, and outlining the research available on how well design thinking skills are learned. The currently most-favored pedagogical model for teaching design, project-based learning (PBL), is explored next, along with available assessment data on its success. Two contexts for PBL are emphasized: first-year cornerstone courses and globally dispersed PBL courses. Finally, the paper lists some of the open research questions that must be answered to identify the best pedagogical practices of improving design learning, after which it closes by making recommendations for research aimed at enhancing design learning.
    • Sara Beckman & Michael Barry, “Innovation as a Learning Process: Embedding Design Thinking,” California Management Review, 50, no. 1 (Fall 2007). Abstract: The article discusses strategies for encouraging innovation through education and design of organizations and work spaces. Charles Owen of the Illinois Institute of Design proposed that design as a process has two phases: an analytical phase of finding and discovery, and a synthetic phase of invention and making. D.A. Kolb proposed a theory of learning that includes experiencing, reflecting, thinking and acting. The authors propose a combination of these theories that leads to innovation through observational or ethnographic research, creating frameworks for understanding data, analyzing new customer needs, and developing solutions or new products to meet those needs. The various learning styles appropriate for the different phases of innovation are discussed.
      The article was Awarded the 2009 Accenture award by CMR in March, 2009. See video made for the award ceremony.
    • Corie Cobb, Alice Agogino, Sara Beckman & Leslie Speer, “Enabling and Characterizing Twenty-First Century Skills in New Product Development Teams”, International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 24 (2), pp. 420-433. (2008). Abstract: This paper outlines a New Product Development (NPD) class designed to enable ‘flat world’ skills, multidisciplinary teamwork, rapid prototyping, creativity, business, entrepreneurship and human-centred design. This course aims to develop the skills necessary for successful product development in today’s competitive global marketplace. To accomplish a truly multidisciplinary dimension, the graduate course draws students from UC Berkeley’s Engineering, Business, and Information Systems departments, as well as from the Industrial Design programme at the California College of the Arts. Students from all of these programmes and colleges join forces on four to five person product development teams to step through the new product development process in detail, learning about the available tools and techniques to execute each step along the way. Each student brings his/her own disciplinary perspective to the team effort and must learn to synthesize that perspective with those of the other students in the group to develop a sound, marketable product or service. Students depart the semester understanding new product develop- ment processes as well as useful tools, techniques and organizational structures that support new product development practice. In recent years, we have added material on social entrepreneurship and have encouraged socially-conscious design projects. This paper presents quantitative and qualitative data gathered to evaluate teams and project-based learning outcomes along with case studies of three socially responsible ventures from our class that took the next step in regards to further developing their product or service after the end of the semester. Third party structured interviews and post mortem analyses of these teams provide a window into what enabled them to move their products to the next stage beyond the semester course. The three cases covered are: AgLinx Solutions, Revolution Foods and Seguro. All of these successful teams had a core group of dedicated student leaders who worked with teams having a diverse mix of skills.
    • Jono Hey, Alan Van Pelt, Alice Agogino & Sara Beckman, “Self-Reflection: Lessons Learned in a New Product Development Class”, Journal of Mechanical Design ASME, Vol. 129, No. 7, pp. 668-676. (2008). Abstract: New product development (NPD) classes based around problem-based learning and mediated by design coaches from industry provide an effective vehicle for authentic learning and realistic design experiences within the constraints of academic settings. Little is known, however, about what students actually learn in these courses or whether the learning corresponds to what is required by industry. To address these questions, we: (1) analyzed data from a structured “lessons learned,” or self-reflection, exercise performed by NPD students in a graduate, multidisciplinary NPD class at the University of California, Berkeley each year for the past 6 years; and (2) conducted interviews with our industrial partners who coached the students’ projects. We present an analysis of over 2300 lessons learned and compare the students’ views with the reflections of the industry coaches. In the lessons learned analysis, students highlighted skills for working in multidisciplinary teams as their most important learning experience, and secondarily, within lessons about the NPD process itself, identified the gathering and analysis of customer and user needs. Students commonly referenced skills that are not part of a traditional engineering design curriculum: listening, observation, and performing research in context. The interviews with the design coaches largely confirmed the importance of both the realistic teamwork experience that accompanies NPD and user research skills. Our findings reinforce the importance of providing students with real multidisciplinary team experience for NPD projects and suggest that greater emphasis be given to the teaching and practice of “softer” skills, such as listening, negotiation, empathy, and observation. The research also indicates that more guidance, tools, and frameworks are needed to assist student product developers in the complex task of gathering, managing, and applying user needs.
    • Jono Hey, Julie Linsey, Alice Agogino & Kris Wood, “Analogies and Metaphors in Creative Design” International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 24 (2), February 2008, pp.283-294. Abstract: In our increasingly flat and connected world, skills in innovation and creative design have emerged as key attributes for graduating engineering designers. Metaphors and analogies are commonly voiced as key tools for enhancing creative design yet little research has been performed on their relation to each other and their use within the design process. In this paper we discuss the relationship between metaphor and analogy use in the design process, with a focus on engineering education. We support our discussion with results from interviews and experiments with student designers. Our results highlight that both metaphor and analogy are spontaneously used by student designers and that metaphor dominates as the design tool for early problem-framing design phases whereas analogy dominates as a tool for concept generation. We also present an analysis of the metaphors for our understanding of design in use within Germany, the UK and Mexico. We found an 85 per cent overlap between textbook usages of metaphors in conceptual design in these countries as compared to textbooks authored in the United States, suggesting that cross-cultural differences in design understanding are relatively small in higher education. We close by presenting a design by analogy method to promote and enhance the use of analogy as a skill for graduating engineering designers.
    • Jono Hey, John Yu & Alice Agogino, “Design Team Framing: Paths And Principles”, Proceedings of the ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conference, ASME (2008). Abstract: This paper addresses two major challenges new product development teams face in making a product people want. The first challenge is to frame the design situation based on a real need of a customer. The second, less obvious, challenge is to get everyone on the team in agreement about what that framing is – everyone needs to be on the same page about what it is they’re doing. Yet these two challenges are not independent, they are intertwined with each other, connected by the concrete research and sharing activities the teams perform. We introduce a framework to help understand the path of a design team along these two dimensions as well as illustrations of the three most common paths observed among graduate multidisciplinary new product development teams as supported by interviews and survey data. These case studies form the basis of four themes and twelve design principles to help teams navigate the new product development process.
    • Celeste Roschuni, Alice M. Agogino and Sara Beckman, “The Design Exchange: Supporting the Design Community of Practice”, Proceedings of ICED 2011 Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED11), Vol. 8, 2011, pp. 255-264. Abstract: The study of design – and more specifically, the quality of the process of design – has been shown to have high impact and leverage on the quality and success of engineered products. As design research does not fall into any one disciplinary body of knowledge, there is a need to consolidate and organize the many design research methods used, develop a community of practitioners to evaluate and categorize those methods and educate the next generation of design innovators in appropriate methods. In this paper, we introduce a preliminary design for The DesignExchange , an interactive web portal to meet these needs.
    • Lora Oehlberg, Celeste Roschuni and Alice M. Agogino, “A Descriptive Study of Designers’ Tools for Sharing User Needs and Conceptual Design”, Proceedings of ASME DETC 2011, ASME, CD ROM DETC2011-48661; pp. 199-208. Abstract: Designers employ a range of tools to gather, create, explore, sort, and act on user needs and conceptual design information. However, designers work both individually and collaboratively. This research is a descriptive study of technologies employed by designers to individually capture and collaboratively share user needs and conceptual designs. In this paper we examine the range and affordances of tools used by designers, and how they use these tools to share design information. We do this by looking at data gathered in interviews with practicing designers and design researchers, as well as documents produced in undergraduate and graduate-level new product development courses. We gather a wide range of tools from our informants, and analyze them based on sharing semantics and formality. We then introduce a model of sharing as a cycle of capture, reflect and share. Finally, we provide design recommendations for future information tools that support both personal and collaborative user needs and conceptual design information.
    • Ryan Shelby, Yael Perez, and Alice M. Agogino, “Co-Design Methodology for the Development of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Systems for Underserved Communities: A Case Study With the Pinoleville Pomo Nation”, Proceedings of ASME DETC 2011, ASME, CD ROM DETC2011-48661; pp. 515-526. Abstract: The notion of developing sustainable communities is generally accepted as a way to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with human activities, increase the health of citizens, and increase the economic vitality of communities within a country. In order to further the development of sustainable communities, federal and local governments have placed significant attention upon designing sustainability and renewable energy technologies, such as photovoltaic (solar) and grey water recycling system to reduce (1) fossil fuel based energy consumption, (2) water consumption, and (3) climate changing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated anthropogenic activities. The Pinoleville Pomo Nation (PPN) of Ukiah, CA, is an example of a Native American government and community that has embarked upon an infrastructure development program to design and build culturally appropriate, sustainable housing for its members. This paper describes the co-design methodology created by the authors to partner with communities that have historical trauma associated with working with outsiders on projects that involved substantial usage of engineering and scientific artifacts, renewable energy technologies for example, that have not integrated their value system or has been historically denied to them. As a case study, we present the lessons learned from a partnership with the Pinoleville Pomo Nation and UC Berkeley’s Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CARES) team to develop sustainable housing that utilizes sustainability best practices and renewable energy technology as well as reflect the long-standing culture and traditions of the PPN. We also present the Pomo-inspired housing design created by this partnership and illustrate how Native American nations can partner with universities and other academic organizations to utilize engineering expertise to co-design solutions that address the needs of the tribes. As a result of this partnership, the Pomo-inspired house design was utilized to secure federal funding to create housing that will aid the PPN in their tribal sovereignty, economic self-sufficiency, and environmental harmony goals.
    • Lora Oehlberg, Cynthisa Bayley, Cole Hartman, and Alice M. Agogino, “Mapping the Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability Impact of Design for Environment Principles”, in Leveraging Technology for a Sustainable World, Proceedings of the 19th CIRP Conference on Life Cycle Engineering (Eds., D. A. Dornfeld and B. S. Linke), ISBN 978-3-642-29068-8), 2012, pp. 221-226. Abstract: As engineers make decisions on how resources are allocated, used, and disposed in pursuit of a product, they impact sustainability’s triple bottom line of social, environmental, and economic factors. Design for Environment (DfE) principles help engineers identify possible sustainable paths forward. We collected over 300 DfE principles from 29 different sources, including textbooks, academic references, and industry resources on sustainable design. We coded each principle according to where it impacts the Product Lifecycle, and which Sustainability Impacts it addresses. Future work includes eliciting additional DfE principles for sparse categories, and developing DfE tools to inform sustainable decision making.
    • Lora Oehlberg, Alice Agogino & Sara Beckman, “Framing Sustainability in Human-Centered Product Design”, Proceedings of the ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conference, ASME (2009). Abstract: There is a global imperative for engineers to design sustainable products. However, user-centered designers have repeatedly found that sustainability is not necessarily a widespread user need. Based on user research from a graduate-level product design course, we present findings on how users define and describe sustainability, how sustainability issues interact with user needs, and the tradeoffs and feelings people have when faced with sustainability trade-offs. We also step through a case study of one design teamʼs findings about sustainability, and how it affected the direction of their mission statement and product strategy. Based on these results, we propose a selection of recommendations for how to facilitate the design of innovative and sustainable consumer products.
    • Lora Oehlberg, Ryan Shelby & Alice Agogino, “Sustainable Product Design: Designing for Diversity in Engineering Education”, International Journal of Engineering Education, No. 2 of Vol. 26, pp. 489-498 (2010). Abstract: Current and future engineers will need to address sustainability’s triple bottom line, simultaneously addressing financial, environmental, and social goals. There is also a need to improve diversity in engineering, both in the communities served by new technology and the representation of gender and ethnic minorities among engineering professionals. We present data gathered from ‘Engineering 10: Introduction to Engineering Design and Analysis’. This freshman course includes a six-week Mechanical Engineering module entitled ‘Sustainable Human-Centered Design’, that covers both human-centered design techniques as well as the principles of sustainable design. We investigate these students’ experiences, confidence, and goals, focusing on aspects that might vary with gender and ethnic affiliation. We suggest that enrollment diversity in engineering could be improved by teaching engineering in a manner that both complements the previous engineering and design background of all students, as well as emphasizes the learning goals most important to under- represented engineering students. We also recommend offering sustainability and service learning projects that appeal to women and ethnic minority students in order to pique their interest and encourage their pursuit of an engineering career.
    • Celeste Roschuni, Alice Agogino & Sara Beckman, TheDesignExchange: Supporting the Design Community of Practice”, Proceedings of ICED 2011 Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED11), Vol. 8, 2011, pp. 255-264. The study of design – and more specifically, the quality of the process of design – has been shown to have high impact and leverage on the quality and success of engineered products. As design research does not fall into any one disciplinary body of knowledge, there is a need to consolidate and organize the many design research methods used, develop a community of practitioners to evaluate and categorize those methods and educate the next generation of design innovators in appropriate methods. In this paper, we introduce a preliminary design for The DesignExchange , an interactive web portal to meet these needs.
    • Kimberly Lau, Sara L. Beckman and Alice M. Agogino, “Diversity in Design Teams: An Investigation of Learning Styles and their Impact on Team Performance and Innovation”, International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2012 (pre-publication version). Abstract: In this paper, we examine the role of diversity in design team performance, and discuss how diversity factors affect the dynamics and success of a design team. In particular, we focus on diversity in learning styles, as defined by Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory. We also consider other demographic factors, such as discipline and gender. We present data gathered over two semesters of a multidisciplinary, project-based graduate level design course offered at the University of California at Berkeley. The data were captured through a series of surveys administered during the semester, first to collect diversity information on learning styles and standard demographics, and then to assess team performance as students reflected on their team interactions. We examine and compare the overall learning style breakdown of students in the class, along with an analysis of the teams. The results of our analyses offer insights into how students with different learning styles appear to contribute to design team performance. We provide recommendations that will help inform design educators on how to enhance overall team performance and innovation, with an understanding of learning style differences.
    • Lora Oehlberg, Ian Leighton, Alice Agogino and Bjorn Hartmann, “Teaching Human-Centered Design Innovation across Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences”, International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2012 (pre-publication version). Abstract: Tomorrow’s engineers must be able to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams. In response to this challenge, universities are broadening engineering design curricula. This paper describes two educational programs at the University of California, Berkeley, which engage undergraduates from multiple disciplines in design education: 1. {design.}, a student-initiated course on the basic human-centered design process and philosophy; and 2. the Human-Centered Design Course Thread, a certificate program in which students take multiple courses across departments that are thematically linked to human-centered design. We present the organization and management of these programs along with descriptive statistics on student participation. We also explore the impacts these programs have had on participating students’ multidisciplinary design education, particularly: pursuing design as a career, participating in the multidisciplinary design community, and broadening perspectives of design.
    • Celeste Roschuni, Elizabeth Goodman and Alice M. Agogino, “Communicating Human-Centered Design Research: Empirical Study of the Design Community of Practice,” AI EDAM, Special Issue on Studying and Supporting Design Communication, Vol. 27, 2013, pp. 143-154. Abstract: Human-centered design is an approach to innovation in which user research drives design decisions by providing an understanding of end users. In practice, different people, teams, or even companies manage each step of the design process, making communication of user research results a critical activity. Based on an empirical study of current methods used by experts, this paper presents strategies for effectively communicating user research findings across organizational or corporate boundaries. To build researcher-client relationships, understand both user and client needs, and overcome institutional inertia, this paper proposes viewing user research clients as users of user research outcomes, thus reframing the crafting of communication across boundaries as a parallel internal human-centered design process we refer to as a double ethnography.