Virginia Commonwealth University

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Introducing our Master of Product Innovation

Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU’s ) da Vinci Center for Innovation received approval from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) this past Tuesday, March 22, for a Master of Product Innovation (MPI).   The 30 credit hour program is a unique cross-disciplinary master’s program focused on product innovation in the Commonwealth.  It is the first Master of Product Innovation in the United States.

A collaboration of VCU’s Schools of the Arts, Business, and Engineering, the MPI embraces and equally covers subjects across these three schools via a comprehensive and integrative curriculum.  The program culminates with a hands-on, yearlong master project to synthesize learning in the program and give students a real product innovation experience by having them develop a real product.  The program defines product broadly to encompass many types of offering, including service and idea offerings.

The introduction of this program is timely as much attention has focused on the importance of innovation to future economic prosperity.  There is a particular interest in having universities instill the spirit of innovation among students and faculty.  VCU’s MPI serves this purpose by building on student’s undergraduate degree to advance understanding and competence in the product innovation area.  The program emphasizes how to function as an effective team member and be a team leader for cross-functional teams.  An end objective is to create “T-shaped people,” which portrays individuals as deep in one disciplinary area (e.g., arts, business, or engineering) and augmented with broad knowledge of all aspects of product innovation activity. The comprehensive program prides itself on delivering a practical, hands-on experience so that students upon graduation can immediately fill positions as leading product innovators.

Overseeing the MPI program is VCU’s da Vinci Center for Innovation.  The aims of the da Vinci Center are three-fold: (1) prepare students to enter a product innovation career; (2) catalyze innovation through collaboration among the disciplines of the Arts, Business, and Engineering; and (3) serve as a resource for advancing interdisciplinary innovation and technology-based entrepreneurship.  Through the da Vinci Center, the MPI program will develop individuals who can join organizations and spur an innovation culture through product innovation initiatives.

Dr. Kenneth Kahn, Director of the VCU da Vinci Center looks forward to launching the new program in 2011-2012 academic year.  “We are very excited to offer this unique program.  Students enrolling in this program will receive a very enthralling educational experience that when completed will provide graduates with clearer purpose and ability to deliver on product innovation.”

For more information on the Master of Product Innovation, refer to the da Vinci Center website at

You may also contact Dr. Kenneth Kahn at

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