IDM Celebrates Launch with Heart

By Melissa Parrillo, IDM Assistant Director

The faculty, staff, and students of MIT Integrated Design & Management (IDM) gathered with a select group of early supporters to celebrate the inception of the program at the Middlesex Lounge, on Massachusetts Avenue, in Cambridge, on Thursday, October 8, 2015.

DSC02598“IDM is going to impact MIT …the entire realm of graduate education …the world,” SDM and IDM Faculty Codirector Steven D. Eppinger said in addressing the crowd. “The products, services, and experiences created by our grads are going to have positive impact on ecosystems, economics, and on people, and we’re going to be known for that.”

Offered jointly by the MIT School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management, IDM is a graduate offering for early to mid-career professionals that integrates industrial design, engineering design, and other design disciplines with management.

The track was founded by IDM Director Matthew S. Kressy, an entrepreneur who founded Designturn and who had previously taught at MIT, Rhode Island School of Design, and Harvard Business School. At the launch party, Eppinger called Kressy “a visionary” as well as “a gifted teacher, an inspiring mentor of an entire generation of MIT and RISD students.”

Kressy, for his part, gave a moving speech in which he applauded several champions of the new offering and thanked IDM’s students for giving him the privilege of being their teacher. He described the new students as “driven, smart, compassionate, loving, open—amazing.”

IDM’s first cohort of 18 students arrived on campus on August 24, 2015. The nine men and nine women are a diverse group that hails from nine countries. The cohort, made up in equal parts of designers, engineers, and business professionals, bonded quickly in the students’ first two weeks on campus—during “boot camp.” A key feature of both SDM and IDM, “boot camp” is an intense period of classwork and team projects.

In the second week, for example, IDM students were tasked with designing and building musical instruments to play in concert, a project drawn from an analogy that Kressy has used to describe IDM—as an orchestra formed from diverse musicians and instruments.

Already, IDM students have delved into their first project—a six-week deep dive into product research that led to a formal research review on October 1, 2015. The presentations included reports on market research, needs research (and interviews), and observational research. In his speech, Kressy noted that the students’ work on this project had already impressed him as well as his co-instructors, Eppinger and Lecturer Serena Cheng.

“I can’t wait to see what happens when you leave this program and go out into that world,” Kressy told the students at the party. With a rush, the students surrounded Kressy in a speech-ending group hug.