Product Realization for Global Opportunities: Learning Collaborative Design in an International Setting

Matthew M. Mehalik, Michael Lovell, Larry Shuman
Department of Industrial Engineering
University of Pittsburgh


This paper discusses lessons learned from a new course offered in the Spring of 2007 at the University of Pittsburgh entitled Product Realization for Global Opportunities.  The purpose of this effort was to further infuse sustainability and product realization into the undergraduate engineering curriculum.  We have done this by creating a unique product realization course in which student E-teams of students from University of Pittsburgh and the University at Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil attempt to develop products for sustainable human development. This course tries to address the product realization process in the context of sustainability, especially for the developing world.  In doing this, we are taking advantage of the School of Engineering’s rapidly expanding interest in sustainability led by the Mascaro Sustainability Initiative (MSI), a growing relationship with UNICAMP, and close involvement from the University’s International Business Center and the Center for Latin American Studies (both Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers).  Students are using our Swanson Institute for Product Innovation.  The course is supported by a program grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).  The data analysis portion and evaluation section is in the process of being updated to encompass the results of a more extensive NCIIA entrepreneurship survey.  These results will be uploaded to a revised draft of this paper.

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