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Medical Device Design and Assessment: Unearthing business decisions

Product Archeology is a pedagogical technique for reconstructing the decision-making processes of the designer. For the past eight years we have offered a course in which students must unearth the business decisions in bringing a medical device to market. In the first half of the class, teams put themselves in the shoes of the company five years before the product launch. The challenge is to excavate information on topics such as FDA, consumer trends, supply chains, intellectual property, market dynamics, packaging and distribution. Just as in real archeology they must piece together the decisions based upon what is publicly available. In the second half of the class teams produce a business strategy document that projects the product forward five years. Their proposal is based upon consideration of all the topics above, but also on the value added given the costs of changes in business practices, manufacturing and distribution.

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