Nearly every industry vertical, from the manufacture of hard goods to the delivery of services, is experiencing an upheaval of its traditional business models. New technologies, global competition, increasing environmental awareness and shifting demographics are but a few of the causes driving this change. As a result, automobile manufacturers are now in the mobility services business. Subscriptions are no longer the sole domain of media content but are available for everything from pet food to laundry detergent. We now “manufacture” meat and “grow” jet engine parts.
Such change will only increase in velocity, requiring every industry to reassess its existing processes for the development of new products and services to meet these ever-changing demands. The established methods of new product innovation, marked by closed-wall R&D organization with budgets fixed to some predetermined percentage of total revenues, project funding based on committee-approved internal rate of return metrics, and strictly guarded intellectual property policies are quickly being replaced. Smart firms are embracing collaborative, cross-functional internal teams; external co-working spaces; crowdsourced, open-innovation competitions; customer-centered design thinking methodologies; and fresh, invigorating new approaches to industry/academic partnerships and collaborations.
I’m proud to say the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI has both anticipated and responded to this new world of innovation and academic/industry partnerships in our curriculum. For example, our IoT Design and Business Innovation course taught within the Department of Human-Centered Computing is not just focused on creating the appropriate user experiences within a connected device or an internet of things ecosystem. Our focus also includes how these user-centered design methods can identify entirely new business opportunities and business models.
In order to “stress test” the application of this methodology, we engage with industry partners to provide our students with real-world business challenges facing that particular industry. These fast-paced, five-week design sprints replicate today’s innovation environment, preparing students for life outside the classroom along with a portfolio of work that will help launch their career and position them for long-term success within any industry. Our industry sponsors benefit from the experience by witnessing how these user-centered design techniques can be applied to their business, while assisting in the development of a new cohort of young professionals. The experience also provides the sponsor with a potential source of talented new hires prepared to address the ever-changing dynamics of new product and services development.
IUPUI is supporting students as they prepare for this new paradigm of industry innovation. The results could impact lives around the globe.