Interdisciplinary Product Development (IPD) at UIC is a two-semester curriculum that integrates the latest technologies and best practices for innovative product development. The course combines Industrial Design, Engineering, and MBA/Marketing students from all three colleges to work together in cross-functional teams to research and develop new product concepts. The course focuses on the early stages of the product development process, from identifying market opportunities through initial prototyping. Eschewing the old sequential model of product development, in which a design idea originates in a business unit, is given visual form by industrial design, and then passed off to engineering, this course teaches current best practices of true integration of all three disciplines from the very earliest stages of product development.
The course is team taught by faculty from the three colleges. Each year, a corporate sponsor is recruited to serve as the client, and provides the financial support to incorporate outside resources and materials not normally available to an academic environment. Funding is used to cover the course expenses associated with paying for professionally conducted market research, team building exercises, innovation training, rapid prototyping, materials and supplies, as well as other significant course expenses. The client company, in association with the IPD faculty, also provides an interesting and challenging assignment that will result in the research, conception and development of innovative product concepts for the client.
The IPD course in 2014-15 partners with Baxter Healthcare, Cigna Healthcase, and Sears Holding.