Teaching Note | HBS Case Collection | June 1997

Innovation in Action: Product Development Projects and Action-Based Learning, Instructor's Note

by Marco Iansiti

Abstract

As a project-based course, Managing Product Development has been carefully designed so that classroom discussion and students' project team activities infuse each other: learning from course materials enhances project activities, which in turn enrich subsequent discussion. Projects enable students to experience the product (or service) development process in an environment that encourages experimentation and learning. Although the challenges are real, students can be flexible in how they organize and manage the process; as such, they are designing their own learning experience, experimenting with different managerial and organizational approaches, and testing different innovative methodologies. This note provides extensive background on the kinds of projects students participate in, how these unfold, the various milestones that help both instructors and teams keep activities on track, how classroom learning is linked to project work, and the pedagogical challenges (and satisfaction) involved. Appendices provide examples of student "archives," the principal output of the teams' efforts, and other relevant materials.

Keywords: Management Practices and Processes; Management Style; Product Development; Projects; Groups and Teams;

Citation:

Iansiti, Marco. "Innovation in Action: Product Development Projects and Action-Based Learning, Instructor's Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 697-107, June 1997.