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DSGN 495-40: CPG Product and Business Innovation Studio (Previously “Intersect CPG”)

Quarter Offered

Spring : Course will meet synchronously and remotely for two 3-hour sessions each week (one for lectures and one for team/lab time), Tuesday and Friday 9:00 am- 12:00 pm ; Craig Sampson and Helen Vondensteinen


Open to all graduate students, with a focus on Kellogg MMM, Segal EDI, and Medill IMC programs. Enrollment is limited and by instructor permission. Interested students should submit a brief statement of interest via email to the instructors, Craig Sampson and Helen von den Steinen. Statements should include reasons for interest in the course, skills brought to the course, personal learning goals, and the student's resume (and portfolio if available). Interested students should submit their statements by Monday, February 15, 2021. Students will be notified of their enrollment status by end of day Wednesday, February 17, and permission numbers will be issued.


This experiential course lives at the intersection of transformative product innovation, design thinking, and business model innovation. The learning experience will be both rich and realistic.

Multidisciplinary student teams will work under NDA on real-world upstream product innovation projects sponsored by Procter & Gamble, experiencing and helping to advance the way in which big innovation works in highly scaled businesses like P&G. Each team will develop both the consumer and business value proposition of their project through hands-on exercises, prototyping, testing and regular coaching by sponsor mentors. 

Unique characteristics of this class include a range of state of the art consumer research methods (including in-home ethnographic interviews), physical and virtual product prototyping, business model development, and pitch development and testing. Skills and interests including physical & social science, engineering, business, communication, design and prototyping are all highly valued, and will be brought together in pursuit of a common innovation goal.

The work will be challenging, comprehensive and rewarding, building individual ability and team collaboration skills that will translate to the professional world. If you want to experience how big product and brand innovation works in the world of Consumer Packaged Goods (and, by analogy, to many other businesses), as well as learn powerful frameworks that guide innovation across a range of business scales, then this is the course for you.

Due to this course spanning three schools, which all have very different schedules, we need to schedule extra time to ensure that students teams are able to work together.  As such, the course will meet twice a week, with our time split evenly between class-wide interactions (lectures, exercises, discussions) and dedicated team collaboration time.

Learn more about the instructors, Craig Sampson and Helen Vondensteinen.

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