Corporate collaboration

PDP - Product Development Project

PDP is an 8-months long project course where learning is tied to a real-life product development challenge usually given by partner companies. The course is recommended to be taken as part of voluntary master studies at any study programme of technology, design or business. The teams form in September and deliver a functioning prototype in the final PDP Gala in May. Suggestions for topics are welcome from March to August.
PdP_functional prototype of a 3D body scanner
Functional prototype of a 3D body scanner

The PDP course covers the project phases from clarifying the task and working out the project plan to modeling, prototyping, testing and finally introducing the results in Product Design Gala. When the course is over, prototypes and reports will be transferred to the company partner.

PdP course takes place in Aalto Design Factory (ADF), which is an experimental co-creation platform of Aalto University. ADF as an operational environment is twofold. One is the material side consisting of team working spaces, machine & electro shops, prototyping & testing facilities, software tools et cetera. The second is its immaterial form which is composed of low bureaucracy, low hierarchy, interaction, development methods and workshops that support co-creation and planned coincidences.

What can the company expect from taking part in this project?

The PDP welcomes all company partners from startups to the largest global players. However, we try to avoid projects that are completely immaterial, e.g. software, service, or business concept development only with no connection to any tangible development. Most of the problems are given by manufacturing companies who are searching for innovative cooperation with the next generation of product developers.

The participating company will receive

  • comprehensive research
  • out-of-the-box ideas
  • cutting-edge technologies
  • interdisciplinary and international team
  • publicity and visibility
  • prototype, report, intellectual property rights

What is required from the company?

In addition to the project fee, we request a 1-page description of the project challenge and commitment to participate in relevant meetings and provide guidance. Schedule and frequency of the meetings with the company partners will be decided later, and those meetings may take place at the company or DF.

What do the students receive?

The students will learn how to plan and execute a development project. They learn scheduling and budget management. Product development methods and tools are applied in interdisciplinary team settings. Students will learn the importance of advanced prototyping and testing and user involvement in this process.

The Design Factory (DF) as a home base provides good facilities for meetings, prototyping, testing and showcasing the results. A typical project includes research, interviews, study trips, brainstorming, developing of concepts, prototyping, testing and reporting.

Students are open-minded in their ideas, which should be allowed to mature and develop on their own.

Sanna Kotisaari, Future Memory Care Oy, Project partner in 2019

Course details

27th Product Design Gala: Unveiling the Future of Product Development

Ever wondered what groundbreaking innovations can be achieved with a €10,000 budget, a diverse team of talented individuals, and a real-world challenge provided by a top-tier industry partner? Find out at the 27th Product Design Gala!

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PDP Gala ad
PDP Gala 2023 ad picture

PDP Gala 2023 (external link)

The streaming of PDP Gala 2023 will be shown on this site Friday 12th of May.

Picture from PdP Gala

Back to the future products

The 25th anniversary gala of the PDP course took place on the 13th of May at Design Factory. Many interesting future products such as electric wooden boat, extremely precise factory crane and edible packing material were presented at the Gala.

PdP Gala poster

Products of the future presented at the PdP Gala

This year the PdP Gala was organised virtually on 21th of May with amazing prototypes from ten different student teams.

Kuva Aallon pdp-gaalasta

ABB has faith in future product developers

When future product developers solve challenges provided by companies, bold ideas and even crazy experiments can lead to genuinely new approaches. The collaboration between ABB and Aalto Design Factory bears fruit and brings genuine out-of-the-box thinking to ABB's product development.

Corporate collaboration
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