Cram Session

University of Michigan's IPD Trade Show Tackles Tiny Living

Dec 14 2017 - 12:38pm

In December 2017, University of Michigans Tauber Institute for Global Operations presented its Integrated Product Development (IPD) Trade Show, marking more than two decades of innovations by featuring products created by students from Stamps School of Art and Design and programs in business, engineering and information. Students were challenged not only to design and build, but to market products with the theme of “Efficient and Satisfying Use of Small Living Spaces.”

Taught jointly by the faculty of Stamps and of the Ross School of Business, the annual IPD course challenges cross-disciplinary student teams to face free market competition.

"IPD has such a great history at Michigan," says Stephanie Tharp, IDSA, the faculty advisor to the IDSA Student Chapter. "I'm truly honored to teach this course and take the journey with the students each semester. The course is both challenging and rewarding, and it's fun to see the teams learn so much, grow together and see the excitement build to the final exhibition of the work. The high level of involvement from industry adds to the learning in the course and pushes the teams to do their best work."

Entrants visualized life in a very small apartment and considered the offered products and how each would help make efficient and satisfying use of the tiny living space. The products must be profitable at a consumer cost of fewer than $250. The public, and members of the University of Michigan community—including Dean Gunalan Nadarajan of the Stamps School—met the eight student design teams, tested prototypes and voted for “Best of the Best” at the new U-M Stamps Gallery in downtown Ann Arbor, MI. Student teams also designed webpages and videos to advertise their new products and released them to the public for online voting.

The product with the highest unit sales was HerbIn, an indoor, herb garden in a compact pot that offers a simple, watering design and magnets to attach the pot to a surface. The product that scored the highest unit gross margin was Lyra, a set of wireless, voice-activated, decorative lights that can be attached by adhesive to a table, or stand alone.

The fall 2017 IPD course was supported by Procter & Gamble Higher Education Grant Program.