Launch Lab/Thesis 1 - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Launch Lab/Thesis 1

Course Number 5241

Professor Robert D. Howe
Adjunct Professor Alan D. MacCormack
January; J; 3 credits
Jan 9-24, 2020 all days, 9AM - 9 PM, in the Meredith Room on HBS campus
Enrollment: Limited to EC students in the SEAS/HBS joint degree program

Educational Objectives

The MS/MBA Capstone is an intensive project that requires teams of students to apply and integrate the skills they have learned across core disciplines developed in the program curriculum. Specifically, teams will be expected to design, build and launch a new technology-based product/service venture, and thereby to demonstrate mastery with respect to three areas of knowledge: Design Knowledge: The use of human-centered design methods to understand users, identify solutions to their needs, and gather feedback via rapid, iterative prototyping. Technical Knowledge: The use of rigorous system engineering methods to plan, design, develop, build, and test a complex technology-based product/service, integrating knowledge across multiple engineering disciplines. Business Knowledge: The use of business model analysis and lean experimentation methods to develop and test a set of hypotheses that capture how the new product/service will create value, including business model design, pricing, sales and marketing, operating model and profit formula.

The Capstone is divided into two parts, the first of which is an immersive course completed during the January term of the EC year (Capstone I). The subsequent spring course (Capstone II) follows on from and builds upon work completed in January. In Capstone II, dedicated mentors will be allocated to each team based upon the specific projects they are completing. Given students prior coursework, a working knowledge of human-centered design methods, systems engineering techniques, and business modeling and lean experimentation is assumed. Launch Lab therefore focuses on the practical application of these skills to team projects, supplemented by content in three areas: i) seminars on advanced methods and techniques, ii) workshops that demonstrate how to put these skills and tools into practice, and iii) guest speakers who share their experience in the areas of design, technology and business.