Innovation & New Product Development Professional Certificate Awarded

Seyedramin Pajoumshariati


Cornell’s Careers Beyond Academia/BEST helps its participants explore various career paths and, more importantly, supports experiential learning to develop new skills for a successful career outcome. Often, participants themselves identify opportunities, initiated with introspection and intention, then fueled by planning and justification. Following the guidelines for requesting BEST funding support, doctoral students and postdocs in any discipline are eligible.

Our congratulations to Seyedramin Pajoumshariatipostdoc in Food Science and Technologywho completed this six month, 90 hour online certificate program on Innovation and New Product Development. Seyedramin was supported by our Experiential Learning Fund award to further this career goals to work in the pharmaceutical industry as a director. Having spoken with a few directors at large pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Novartis, he noticed they mentioned that to reach this level you need to have such a certificate. In addition, since his research has high commercial potential, this training will also help him as he considers its translation to a future product. Like all postdocs, Seyedramin is busy publishing and continuing his research as a primary objective, so the online flexible format of this certificate meshed well with his schedule.

See his takeaways and feedback:

“This is a set of four useful online courses including Introduction to New Product Development, Managing Product Development Projects, Leading Teams, and Innovation & New Product Development Process that can be used as an introductory course explaining how to bring a new concept to market.

The first course of these series, Introduction to New Product Development, explains how to develop a marketing plan and assess the product’s commercial potential. It introduces some financial sources for startups and patent filing process to protect the idea as well as few ways to develop prototypes. Finally, it briefly suggests few routes for advertising and distribution of the product. This introductory course briefly introduces the process of new product development which is useful for students with different disciplines who may have some ideas and shows them the whole process of transforming their idea to a commercial product.

In Managing Product Development Projects, a typical series of stages that new products go through, including the generation of concept, product design, development of a prototype, product scale-up, and commercialization has been discussed. This course explains the stage-gate process—which tends to increase the revenue, operational efficiencies, and customer satisfaction; in other words, the chance of success in any new product development by evaluating the project at different levels in the gates. The course presents project organization and optimization, project tools (including voice of the customer, qualified functional development, Kano model, financial measures, Pugh matrix, and risk analysis), and technology management fundamentals (including Portfolio management, Rapid time to management, Product planning, Planning & execution strategies, Staffing strategies, Resource planning, Risk management, and Requirements management). In my opinion, this course needs further studies from other resources to have a better understanding of its valuable concepts. It is understandable that the whole concept of management cannot be fitted into this short course. As a suggestion, there are many free lectures on each subject on the internet (e.g., YouTube) and valuable books (e.g., Management: revised edition by Peter Drucker) that I recommend for this course.

In Leading Teams course, it has been tried to provide a brief knowledge of leadership and skills that are necessary for leading the team. Different leadership styles and fundamental tools and approaches including direction setting, motivating teams, managing conflicts, and performance evaluation have been provided for leaders to have a productive team. Similar to the Managing Teams, the study of other resources and valuable books describing the leadership skills is highly recommended. The aim of this course is to improve the ability of the leader to analyze organizational dynamics and to take robust action applying behavioral and social sciences. In this regard and as a suggestion I recommend reading of other valuable books such as my favorite book entitled “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.

The last course of these series, Innovation & New Product Development Process, explains different phases (stages) of the new product development process including concept, design, prototype, scale-up, and commercialization. This course along with the introductory course try to demonstrate the whole picture of the process of transforming the idea to a commercial product.

I really enjoyed studying of this comprehensive course and it opened a new window to a better future for me. I highly recommend this course to all biomedical engineers or who are in the field of biotechnology. This is just a beginning of my journey toward the world of business and thinking different from scientific thinking. As it simply visualizes the whole process, I recommend taking of this course for all undergraduate and graduate students as an encouraging factor for their scientific endeavors to have fruitful outcomes for themselves and others. The course length (6 months) gives students enough time to study and read all supplementing materials which would result in a better understanding of the syllabus provided in the course.”S. Pajoumshariati

This spotlight is from the time period of the NIH grant (Sept. 2013- Jun. 2019) to the Cornell BEST Program now housed in the Graduate School as a university-wide initiative “Careers Beyond Academia” to encompass all disciplines.