Thirty teams comprised of 120 Darden Second Year students
showcased their original prototypes at the 2013 Product and Service
Design Fair held at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Participant turnout was the
largest to date, reflecting a growing interest in entrepreneurship
and innovation among MBA students.
The inventions and amenities the students produced solved an
array of challenges:
- Most campers would love to have a sustainable way to access
electricity. Students offered a device that allows its users to
harness energy by gathering water from the nearest source.
- The prospect of dressing a squirmy baby into a onesie can be
daunting. One team designed a way to wrap babies into their
clothing instead of having to fuss with rigidly designed outfits
through which parents have to pull baby's tender limbs.
- It can be difficult putting a pet back on its leash after
playtime. A new lasso-like leash was designed with enough space to
wrap around the neck of a small to medium-sized dog with a
mechanism to help avoid fitting the dog too tightly.
For roughly seven years, students enrolled in the elective,
"Developing New Products and Services," have had the opportunity to
conceptualize and design original creations at the end of the
elective to share with the Darden community.
"There is definitely a change in the career interests of
incoming students at Darden and generally in business schools.
Though many still want to work in investment banking or consulting,
many also want to own their own companies. They want to be
entrepreneurs," said Darden Professor Raul Chao, who facilitates the elective with Darden Professor
"For my long-term career, I'm interested in product development
and innovation," said Darden Second Year student Peter Crow. "I wanted to take this course to really
understand the on-the-ground work and how it's done, so that later
as a general manager I can work with engineers, go through the
prototyping process and help prioritize good ideas."
The students worked together to come up with ideas and create
working prototypes in a short period of time thanks to tools and
advice from Chao and Hutchison-Krupat. Together, they help students
understand how to engage stakeholders to develop products and
services that provide value.
"We go through some readings early on and discuss how to find
what the user's needs are. We also teach students to define the
functions of the product or service," said Hutchison-Krupat. "Based
on those functions, we guide them through the prototyping process;
it's a constant iteration of identifying the problem, figuring out
concepts, testing these concepts and then identifying the next
In the spring, many of the students will participate in the
Darden Business Project, "Venturing," where they will expand the
work they began in "Developing New Products and Services."
"Venturing" will allow the students to refine their prototypes,
explore product economics, find suppliers and eventually launch
For questions or information, contact Abena Foreman-Trice at or a member of the Communication team.
About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of
the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and
Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines
the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances
global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit
learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders
who are ready to make an impact.
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