15.356 | Spring 2012 | Graduate

How to Develop Breakthrough Products and Services



Your course grade will be determined primarily on the basis of two 7-page papers (1.5-line spacing). Both papers are due on the last session, Ses #12. If you would like early feedback, you can also turn in one paper at the midpoint of the class, Ses #6.

For each paper:

  1. Choose a topic covered in this class that especially interests you.
  2. Briefly explain the topic at the start of your paper. Devote 1–2 pages to this. No extra reading needed here: derive from class lectures and discussions, assigned readings, and other sources of information that you may already have.
  3. Expand the topic in your direction of interest. State and summarize where you are going with the topic and then go to it! Devote the remainder of your paper to this. Fine to draw in your personal experience and views in addition to findings from extra reading on the topic.


  1. Topic:

    “Brainstorming” as a concept generation method.

  2. Brief explanation of topic:

    Here is how brainstorming was described in class readings and lectures. Here is how it is thought to work, and what its advantages and disadvantages are thought to be (1–2 pages).

  3. Expansion of topic in your direction of interest:

    Brainstorming is based on analogical thinking. I want to explore what kinds of innovations analogical thinking is likely to reveal. Can it reveal/invent any kind of innovation, or are there limitations?

    Here are my ideas.

    Next, here is what some studies of problem-solving say about analogical thinking.

    Finally, here are the conclusions I draw with respect to the characteristics of brainstorming as a method for generating concepts for radical new products and services.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2012
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments