Bryant Yee

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Pawtty Mouth

Integrated Product Development, 2010

Integrated Product Development (IPD) is an experiential, cross-disciplinary course that puts teams of students from Business, Engineering and Art/Architecture in a competitive product development environment. This course has been featured on CNN and written up in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Businessweek as one of the top design courses in the world.

In this course, each team acts as an independent firm in competition with other teams. The instructors announce a product class and each team must design and build a fully functional product within that class. The product class is broad enough to allow a wide variety of design solutions.

Given the product class, each team must work through the process of market research, concept generation and selection, technical development, production process design, pricing, inventory stocking and advertising. Teams must design, build and compete with a real, fully functional, customer-ready product. Teams compete with their products through two channels. The first is a web-based “trade show” where teams promote their products via student-designed web sites, and people from around the world log into the IPD trade show to vote. A team’s market share (and sales revenues) is computed from the share of total votes it gets nationally. A physical trade show will be held where members of the community are invited to view the physical products, listen to teams’ promotions, and vote for their favorites. The market shares and revenues are computed based on these votes.

The challenge was to design, manufacture and promote a pooper-scooper to hygienically collect and transport waste during a dog walk.

The Team

  • Features

  • How-to

Tradeshow Photos

View the Design Process

Market Research

We started by visiting a local dog park multiple times to get feedback and occasionally brought along existing products to ask customers what features they liked and didn't like. In addition to visiting the dog park, we sent out multiple surveys to friends and family whom we knew had dogs, asking them specific questions. We concluded that our product would be directed towards customers who wanted to make a more sustainable approach to picking up their dog's waste while on a walk. Our product was going to be made from post-consumer recycled paperboard and also be biodegradable since our product was intended to be disposable after every use. The problem we found with using plastic bags is that they are not biodegradable, even the ones "claiming" to be biodegradable. Research showed that there are small loopholes in the system saying that bags only need to be a certain percentage biodegradable before they can market the product as such.

Concept Generation and Selection

The majority of our ideation process took place at The Innovatrium, a private space dedicated to collaborative brainstorming. All of the walls and tables were comprised of dry erase boards, so we could keep a record of every thought and idea that came to mind. It was a great way for us to share ideas.

Technical Development

One of the benefits to attending a large university was the amount of access we had to the most advanced technologies and resources. We knew that new technologies could help and speed up the various processes. Once we developed a design concept we were willing to pursue, it was just a matter of designing and testing. We produced over 50 iterations of our product before arriving at our final design. Throughout the process, we sought feedback from everyone we knew. We put customers in the midst of everything so we could describe their journeys and dissect them. We paid close attention to the "extreme" users such as the elderly and children. From the feedback we received, we organized the information and synthesized more possibilities.

Production Process Design

We created over 100 functional pooper-scoopers so customers could test our product at the tradeshow. For this endeavor, it was vital that we develop an efficient manufacturing process to optimize production time. In addition, we were required to provide a costing document to our professors, describing the entire process, as well as, time it took to assemble. Our profit margin was determined by how much it would cost to produce our product.