Go For Launch

Learn the deep-dish secrets of new product development in Chicago.

Course: New Product Development


When: Three times a year; Next: February 21-25, 2005; June 13-17, 2005

Instructors: Sanjay Dhar, Jonathan Frenzen, Arthur Middlebrooks

Class Size: 35

Where: University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business

Cost: $6,375

Mission: Help managers strategically bring a product to market


What you will learn Tools for designing and creating a new product, including testing and launches. The right time to kill an idea that proves wrong for the market. How to be an innovator inside an organization and how to deal with being a lone voice. In the last instance, for example, Professor Jonathan Frenzen uses a 1997 New Yorker profile of former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold (“The Microsoft Provocateur”) to stimulate conversation. Frenzen recommends that students deconstruct a situation in which they were the sole supporter of an idea or product, considering what went right and wrong. And to eliminate risk and help build support, students need to know their stuff, being able to impressively quote the facts while arguing their points.

What to expect You’ll spend four and a half days in Chicago. Your nights will be filled with a heavy reading load, and each day will feature a solid eight hours of class time. (If it’s February in Chicago, be happy you’re inside reading.) Classes consist of discussions about the objectives of new products, how they need to perform, and how to integrate a product into the needs of the customer and the market. As the course progresses, students move into hands-on exercises, such as screening and concept development, and analyses of pricing issues. Each section comes with a set of readings in addition to cases that apply to different aspects of creating a new product. Students can also expect to study videotapes of focus groups to find out what new product ideas can come from them. “We want students to leave here with a clear idea of whether a new product opportunity is worth pursuing, how to make sure a particular design is worth going forward with, and how to know if the design is right for and will be supported by the market,” Frenzen says.

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