Bio: Michael Meyer is a consultant and thought leader specializing in user insight, product strategy, and integrated product development. He started and led the product strategy practice in the Boston office of IDEO, a world-renowned product-development firm. Over the course of five years he expanded the practice, exploring new methodologies and building it into a thriving business. Before IDEO, he managed the production and testing of shipboard nuclear power plants as a Navy engineering officer and was the general manager of a multilingual, multicultural telecommunications facility in Naples, Italy.
Reflecting a philosophy that diverse experiences foster innovation, Mr. Meyer’s projects have ranged widely. He has planned a new line of home electrical devices, crafted the vision and defined the value proposition for a major pharmaceutical company’s Internet presence, developed a next-generation electronic payment token, envisioned the future of bedding and bedroom furniture, and led the cockpit and cabin design of a new jet aircraft.
He has an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
He is also a private pilot with a passion for open-cockpit biplanes. When not flying, he pines for his temperamental old Alfa Romeo and daydreams about flying.
Expertise: Developing Insight and Inspiring Innovation–dentifying new product opportunities, creating product line plans and innovation strategies, and crafting the conceptual design of new products
Fellowship Focus: As a Batten Fellow, Michael Meyer will explore with his faculty hosts the foundation of innovative product design: the discovery of the wants or needs that are basic drivers of users’ fulfillment and the incorporation of those in a product or service. Product design, Meyer believes, is at an inflection point. As the methodologies and techniques of user-focused integrated product development become ever more understood and accessible, companies will be less able to achieve competitive advantage from isolated incidents of well-designed products. The new opportunities for creating value in product design will be found at the far front end of the process.
During his fellowship, Meyer will develop and teach a seminar on managing the early stages of the innovation process. Recognizing that students will initially find themselves in the role of a manager participating in the process with their own team or engaging a team from another department or an outside firm, Meyer will design the seminar to help students become active creative participants as well as intelligent consumers.
Meyer will also work with his faculty hosts to record a studio interview on issues related to user insight and innovation, contribute to the Batten Briefings, and meet with the Marketing Club and the Technology Club.