Green Product Development: Design for Sustainability

Teaching Design Thinking and Doing

ME290H: Green Product Development: Design for Sustainability


William Schneiderman,

Sinistore Julie,

Time and Location:

MW 1:30 – 3:00 pm, 220 Jacobs Hall

Syllabus and Class Flyer: 2007 Syllabus;  ME290H_flyer

Course Objectives:

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. The course will be a Management of Technology course offered jointly by the College of Engineering and the Haas School of Business. In addition, it will also receive credit towards the new Engineering and Business Sustainability Certificate (currently under review by the Academic Senate). We aim to have half MBA students and half Engineering students (with a few other students, such as from the I-School) in the class. The instructors will facilitate students to form mixed disciplinary teams for the development of their “green” products. Students from the California College of the Arts (CCA) will also participate on the teams through a course taught separately at CCA. Students can expect to depart the semester understanding “green” product development processes as well as useful tools, techniques and organizational structures that support sustainable design and environmental management practice.

Course Website

We will make extensive use of the course Web site to both communicate information to you and to converse with you about your homework and your projects. You will find the course listed on bSpace. Once you have formed your project groups, we will set up group web pages on which we expect you to store your working documents for your project. The faculty will review the group pages regularly to provide feedback on your work.

Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to New Product Development (NPD); NPD Environment and Processes; Green Design Case Introduction
  • Green Product Strategic Alignment; Product Planning; Sustainable Businesses
  • Multidisciplinary Teams in NPD; Multicultural Issues; Project Proposals and Team Assignments
  • Customer and User Needs Assessment; Ethnographic Methods; Empathic Design
  • Translating the Voice of the Customer, Developing Specifications
  • Concept Generation Methods; Lead Users; Community-based Design
  • Appropriate Technology; Design for the Environment
  • Metrics for Sustainability; Concept Selection
  • Concept Testing; Prototyping; Product Testing; Design Refinement
  • Design for X: Design for Manufacturability, Accessibility
  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for Sustainability
  • Design for Flexibility, Reuse; Sustainable Product Architectures
  • Launching Sustainable Products: Sustainable Financing Models; Project Management
  • Class Summary: Project Reviews and Capturing Lessons Learned
  • Final Exam: Product Presentations and Judging