Integrated Product Development Course

Integrated Product Development (IPD) is an experiential, cross-disciplinary course that puts teams of students from Business, Engineering, Art & Design and Information in an economic competition and competitive product development environment.

This innovative course has been featured on CNN and written up in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Businessweek. The course is hosted by the Tauber Institute for Global Operations and is taught jointly by faculty members Eric Svaan of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and Stephanie Tharp from the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.

"Eric Svaan and Stephanie Tharp bring the energy, know-how and set the bar high. The product and service challenges are creative and bold, the process is rigorous, the methods taught are broad, the critique is direct and the sense of learning and accomplishment is high.  It has been my pleasure to be involved with the IPD program."  Parrish Hanna, Global Director, Interaction & Ergonomics, Ford Motor Company.

In this course, each team acts as an independent firm in competition with other teams (firms). 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 websites, 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. The second, a physical trade show will be held in April. Here, members of the community are invited to view the physical products, listen to teams’ promotions, and vote for their favorites. Again, market shares and revenues are computed based on these votes.

IPD is an energy-intensive, 6-credit course (students get 3 credits in 2 of the following 3 disciplines: business, art & design, engineering). The class meeting and location is TBD, but most of the work is done outside of class to design and build products.


All Students: This class has been set up as “Instructor Permission”.  To be considered for the class, please indicate your interest by completing this google form

Enrollment Directions

If you are looking for Art & Design grad credit, then register for ARTDES 516, (IPD, 3 credits for Rackham and Non-Rackham Graduates)

Register for both ArtDes 416 and TO 548 for a total of 6 credit hours.

MBA Students register for both TO 548 and IOE 548 for a total of 6 credit hours.

Graduate Engineering Students typically register for both TO 548 and IOE 548 but should consult with their Graduate Program Advisor to confirm how to register for this class (and how it will count). Note: Master of Engineering in Manufacturing (MEM) students may enroll and count IOE 548 at 3 credits toward their "Manufacturing/Design Integration" or "Engineering Core" degree requirement. MEM students may enroll in both IOE 548 and TO 548 (each 3 credits), but MEM students may count only the 3 IOE 548 credits toward their degree program and not TO 548-3 credits. This decision was reached by the MEM Council some years ago; please follow up with program advisor if you have questions.

Dual MBA/MEng Students: Register for both TO 548 and IOE 548 for 6 credit hours (and use 3 credits toward your engineering requirements and 3 credits toward your business requirements), however, you cannot "double count" this class for your MEng degree (please talk to program advisor if you have questions).

View past tradeshows here.

Student Reviews:
Ryan Kennedy (BSE/MSE-IOE '17):  “This class has everything from business fundamentals to scaling up production to wiring and soldering with microcontrollers to thinking about design and wearability from the customer’s perspective,” he explains. “It also places an emphasis on teamwork and working across functions, which I believe to be critical today. As an engineer, you are bound to work with people who have different backgrounds.”

Besides the development work, the IPD course and Trade Show provided Samuel Dion (BSE-ME and MSE-IOE '17) with an opportunity to hone skills beyond the usual engineering focus. “By participating in IPD, I have broadened my perspective on how to tackle complex problems while developing my hard and soft skills,” he explains. “I have developed numerous projects during my engineering education, but this experience usually stops when the product has been created. I am excited to work on the brand and convey our story to consumers. The trade show will be an exciting conclusion to an enlightening and fun experience.”

Integrated Product Development Trade Show - Jim Hackett, Chair of Ford Smart Mobility LLC and other executives visit with students
2017 U-M Integrated Product Development class
2017 Integrated Product Development Trade Show
IPD Trade Show