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Jonathan Cagan and Craig M. Vogel, Co-Directors


Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

iNPD course

Example projects
from iNPD class





Current Research projects

Perceptual gaps - This project focuses on understanding the differences that
different disciplines view products, users and the product development
process. The goal is to more completely understand the way different players
in the design process think about their project and their team members, and
identify tools to improve interdisciplinary team performance.

User models - The goal of this project is to create a model of how the user
is represented within the project development process. The general model is
made specific to any company or project, and serves as a formal means to
understand how the user impacts, or should impact, the process.

Team negotiation - This project explores the development and application of
methods from organizational behavior to communication in interdisciplinary
teams. The goal is to analyze the use of interests, rights, and power in a team interaction, and identify ways to increase the use of interests, and decrease the use of top-down power in a product development team.

Shape grammars - This project explores the application of shape grammars,
originally developed in the field of Architecture, to product development.
Shape grammars are a form of production system where parametric rules
transform shapes into different shapes. Their power stems from a concise
language that represents a class of products, and their property of emergence where new forms not directly put into the computer can materialize - so what you put in is not what you get out. We have created shape grammars to generate coffeemakers, inner hood panels of vehicles, motorcycles, and more. We have used shape grammars to capture the essence of product brand, for example generating Harley-Davidson motorcycles from the motorcycle grammar. We also have developed core, patent pending technology to enable the rapid computer implementation of shape grammars.

Brand - This project explores the representation of product and company brand through the product itself, versus the advertising campaign. The goal is to understand the relationship between product, customer and brand, and position brand relative to customer and company values.

Global design - The emergence of the global market and corporate partnerships and acquisitions brings new challenges in product design, distribution and strategy. This project explores how local cultural and lifestyle influences can be incorporated into business strategies for global product development.