Business and Design Students to Showcase New Products at Haas, Dec. 11

Designs for making a more energy-efficient refrigerator and providing privacy for sleeping passengers on international flights will be among the projects displayed at the annual tradeshow for the Haas School's Managing the New Product Development Process course.

The show will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Bank of America Forum. Fifteen projects will be on display to the Haas community.

This tradeshow is unique because of the hours of coaching provided to students by industry professionals, says Mechanical Engineering Professor Alice Merner Agogino, who is co-teaching the course this year with Haas Lecturer Mark Martin, CEO of design4x, a consulting company for design and manufacturing engineers. “The design coaches are the exceptional aspect of this course,” Agogino adds.

Coaches meet with students three times during the semester, reviewing their progress with research, concept generation, and design development. The coaches, from companies such as IDEO, Frog Design, and Google, try to push students beyond the current thinking on sustainability and design, Agogino says.

Adam Menter, a sustainability education program manager at Autodesk, coaches a team working on a Mabe EcoRefrigerator. The team, which traveled to Mabe’s manufacturing plants in Mexico, is working on how to get users in and out of the refrigerator more quickly and cooling strategies that optimize electricity use.

Working with Mabe’s industrial engineers in Mexico and the three engineers on his team provides real-world business experience, says Haas student Tarek Hosny, MBA 12. “The way business is done today it’s inevitable that you deal with cross-functional and cross-geographic teams,” he says. “This (project) is a great experience that you don’t get in class."

Most of the projects are designed by Berkeley MBA students, UC Berkeley graduate engineering students, and design students from the California College of the Arts. As in past years, students from the National Autonomous University of Mexico who attended their own version of the class at their university in Mexico City will fly to California to display four projects.

Leaders from various companies including Autodesk, Smart Design, Lunar, Frog Design, IDEO, Bridge Design, and Google will judge the products. Other projects include a reversible, water-repellant shirt from men’s clothing maker Naked Suits; a transportation solution to reduce emissions, increase mobility, and improve self-sufficiency for the Pinoleville Pomo Nation (an Indian reservation); and passenger screens and restroom tokens for international air travelers.

A few student design ideas from the course, previously co-taught by Senior Lecturer Sara Beckman and Agogino, have evolved into companies. Jason Kibbey and Jeff Denby, both MBA 08, developed a prototype of their company's first product while taking the course. Their company, called PACT, teamed up with one of the judges, designer Yves Behar, to make organic underwear, donating a share of its sales to various social causes.