Is New Product Development Culturally Bound?

DS 69: Proceedings of E&PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, London, UK, 08.-09.09.2011

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Fain, Nusa; Kline, Miro; Duhovnik, Joze
Series: E&PDE
Section: International Collaboration and Global Product Development
Page(s): 715-720


Changes in the business environment, responses of companies to these changes and the available information and communication technologies (ICT) pose a number of challenges to present and future product developers, as well as to educational institutions. An appropriate response to these challenges is to create a solid basis for strategies to combat stronger competition, since existing educational programs have provided this only to a small extent. Several European universities provided this basis with the development of an international design course European Global Product Realization (EGPR). The main objective of the EGPR course is to provide a stimulating working environment for students, where they can conquer the design competences needed for their future professional practice. The main focus is put on multidisciplinary, multinational and multicultural teams, using virtual technological developments in solving a new product development (NPD) problem at a global level. The participating students only know each other through the video-conferencing meetings. All the communication and work is done with the help of IT technologies, as the participants are located in different parts of the world. Knowledge is built and exchanged by communication and collaboration of the various participants (students, company experts, instructors, lecturers, researchers, industrial partners, end users) via various forms of interaction and inquiry This paper presents the basic idea behind the course and studies how the growth of the course internationally effects the design process carried out. A survey was carried out among the students of the past four courses and the analysis shows that the cultural background of the students has significant effect on their perception of the courses' processes. This is a novel challenge that the developers of the course need to face in order to provide the highest level of knowledge possible to the students.

Keywords: Project work, interdisciplinary correlation, cultural diversity, creativity, virtual teams


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