Engineering Professional Education

Structured Engineering Innovation


Credit Hours: 3

Learning Objective:
The objective of this course is to teach the new approaches developed by the instructor on how new and valuable functional and system designs can be created by a structured method leading to successful innovation. We plan to teach innovation creation/enhancement approaches that can change the game of competition, for products, processes and systems.

Innovation is broadly defined in this course as: new ideas, methods, products, processes, services and systems that add value and lead to success for a set of defined objectives. Thus we are not only interested in enhancing the creation of new ideas but also to ensure that new ideas will add values and lead to success for the predefined objectives. Next waves of major economic opportunities and competition for an enterprise and/or an individual are most likely affected significantly by innovation. Innovations can change the game of competition and/or a response curve. The objective of this course is to address this central issue of wealth creation in civilization by teaching a structured approach for achieving successful engineering innovation. In this course, we will provide an opportunity for the student to acquire the knowledge and understanding for industrial innovation and a structured process leading to successful innovation, thereby to enhance his/her own career and wealth. We plan to introduce several innovation structuring and creation methods newly developed by the instructor, based on the instructor???s own experiences in industry and academia for competitive new product and process designs and research. We will also facilitate the students to study structured and case-enhanced approaches for product and manufacturing innovation, including extending them to service area. The objective is to be accomplished through reviews and analyses of available literature, books, cases and video media, including the instructor's own innovative experiences in industry and academia for competitive new product design and innovative process R&D. Spring 2017 Syllabus PDF.

Topics Covered:
Our preliminary plan is to cover the following: (1) a review of the instructors own experiences in product and manufacturing innovations and lessons learned about structured innovation, (2) strategy based innovation creation, (3) manufacturing based innovation creation (4) materials based innovation creation, (5) product design based creation, (6) structures, drivers and causes leading to product, process, service and technology innovations, and (7) dynamics of industrial innovation. Practical examples may include innovations in electric cars, jet engines, commercial aircrafts, industrial equipment, mobile phones, laundry products, bearings, cutting tools, machining processes, 3-D printing/additive manufacturing, nanomanufacturing, nanotechnology applications and in related systems. Topics and cases to be presented may include: innovation structure of Tesla, product strategy: Boeing 787 Dreamliner vs Airbus Jumbo A-380X, The Concorde, innovation driver: how innovations in new materials have driven by jet engines, enhancing competitiveness: how Harley Davison was rebuilt through innovation, new product development: developing a domenant consumer product, Innovative R&D: R&D leading to a revolutionary processes for making load-carrying components, industrial competition and innovation, etc.

Graduate standing, experiences in engineering design or synthesis, or by the consent of the instructor.

Applied/Theory: 90/10

Web Address:

Homework consists of simple progress reports of the project, intended to pace and distribute the project work uniformly throughout the semester. Grade for each progress report is 1% or 2% of total, and based on whether it is submitted on time. Some small homework exercises may be included as well.

Term paper/case study may include the following aspects of innovation: innovation evolved for a specific or a class of products and manufacturing processes; drivers of industrial innovation; innovation based on the hierarchical relationships among need, market, function, conceptual design and design realization; methods of idea generation such as a review and application of Triz method; dynamics of industrial innovation; innovation induced by competitive strategy, and any topic on innovation of interest to the student, a job, a company or a larger organization.


Official textbook information is now listed in the Schedule of Classes. NOTE: Textbook information is subject to be changed at any time at the discretion of the faculty member. If you have questions or concerns please contact the academic department.
No required textbooks. References are based on the following: 1. Class notes and numerous video media including innovative products, processes and systems. 2. Burgelman, Christensen and Wheelwright, Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill Irwin. 3. Paul Trott, Innovation Management and New Product Development, 5th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2012.

Computer Requirements:
ProEd Minimum Computer Requirements

ProEd Minimum Requirements: view

Tuition & Fees: view


Spring 2017
Spring 2019
Spring 2021


C. Richard Liu



Purdue University
Grissom 235
West Lafayette, IN 47907


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