Global Product Development, spring 2018

September 29, 2017 | 10:03 am

About the course

Global Product Development is a project-based course that aims to educate students about the process of translating a functional prototype into a commercial, consumer-ready product. 

This course will provide a high-level overview of the many important aspects of product commercialization, including design for manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, intellectual property and regulatory certification, and more. Each class meeting will be divided between lecture, often featuring guest lecturers with real-world experience, and project work time.

Student-designed product


Global Product Development is open to upper-division undergraduate students, master’s students, and PhD candidates by application only. Enrollment will be limited to 25 students. The course will take place on Tuesdays, 11am-2pm, in the spring semester. It is a 3-unit course and satisfies the Advanced Design requirement for the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation.

Application form
Applications due October 31st, 2017.
Decisions will be sent November 8th.
Enrollment agreement forms due November 15th.

Students enrolling in this course should already be familiar with a human-centered design process, and should have gone through at least one full iteration of it, whether through a prior design course, a work project, personal project, or other. In this course, students will work through a condensed version of the human-centered design process, while lectures will focus more on the latter stages of design and commercialization of a product.

Student designs

Course organization

Part 1: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver

This course will start with your design ideas. We will revisit the foundation of these design ideas by capturing the voice of the customer. Then, we will go through the four-phase design process in a Double Diamond Model: discover the problem; define the area of interest; develop potential solutions; deliver the solutions. By the end of this stage, you will have several initial concepts for further exploration.

Part 2: Iterative Design

The choice of a particular product concept requires objective methods of comparing the alternatives and narrowing them down to few concepts. During the concept refinement process, you will learn some structured design methodology, e.g., Design for Manufacturing (DFM), Design for Assembly (DFA), and Design for Sustainability (DFS). Your design concepts and prototypes are expected to be improved from iteration to iteration by collecting feedback from users and your peers. By the end of this stage, you will select the best concept for product launch preparation.

Part 3: New Product Launch

You will explore the boundary between product design and manufacturing.  You will discover the concept of flexibility, how to quantify it, and when to consider mass customization. A field trip to Hong Kong and China will provide you with a closer look at the supply chain capabilities of the greater China region.  In order to prepare for the product launch, you will also learn about supply chain management, logistics management and product lifecycle management, and how to compose a business plan and financial plan for a new product.  Finally, your product will be presented and demonstrated at the end-of-semester Jacobs Institute Design Showcase.

Field trip information

The course includes a field trip to Hong Kong and China during spring break 2018 (March 25th to 31st). Visits will include:

  • Design studios
  • Factories and assembly lines
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Shenzhen electronics market

Electronics market

You must be available to travel during the full week of spring break to be considered for this course. No exceptions will be made to this requirement.

Costs paid by
Round trip airfare, San Francisco – Hong Kong & China Jacobs Institute
Hotels Jacobs Institute
Transit within Asia (trains, buses) Jacobs Institute
Meals Jacobs Institute will provide one meal per day. Students are responsible for all other meals.
Passport and visas Students
Incidentals Students
Transit from Berkeley to SFO airport Students (accessible by BART)

If any of these costs present extreme hardship, please request a meeting with Emily Rice, Director of Programs and Operations for the Institute, and we can explore options for support.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


Please contact Roland Saekow at