Karl Ulrich

Karl Ulrich
  • CIBC Endowed Professor
  • Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions
  • Professor of Management
  • Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3730 Walnut Street
    547 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: environmental issues, product design and development, entrepreneurship, innovation

Links: CV, Personal Website

Overview

Karl T. Ulrich is Vice Dean of  Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the CIBC Professor of Entrepreneurship and e-Commerce at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds an appointment as Professor of Mechanical Engineering. His research is focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and product development.

He is the co-author of Product Design and Development (5th Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2011), a textbook used by a quarter of a million students worldwide. His most recent book is Innovation Tournaments (Harvard Business Press, 2009). He is the winner of many teaching awards, including the Anvil Award, the Miller-Sherrerd Award, and the Excellence in Teaching Award at The Wharton School. At Penn, he co-founded the Weiss Tech House and the Integrated Product Design Program, two institutions fostering innovation in the university community.

In addition to his academic work, Professor Ulrich has led dozens of innovation efforts for medical devices, tools, computer peripherals, food products, web-based services, and sporting goods. As a result of this work, he holds more than 20 patents. Professor Ulrich is a founder of Terrapass Inc. which the New York Times identified as one of the most noteworthy ideas of 2005, and he is a designer of the Xootr scooter, which Business Week recognized as one of the 50 coolest products of the 21st Century. Professor Ulrich holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.

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Research

Teaching

Current Courses

  • OIDD415 - Product Design

    This course provides tools and methods for creating new products. The course is intended for students with a strong career interest in new product development , entrepreneurship, and/or technology development. The course follows an overall product design methodology, including the identification of customer needs, generation of product concepts, prototyping, and design-for-manufacturing. Weekly student assignments are focused on the design of a new product and culminate in the creation of a prototype, which is launched at an end-of-semester public Design Fair. The course project is a physical good - but most of the tools and methods apply to services and software products. The course is open to any Penn sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student.

    OIDD415401

  • OIDD515 - Product Design

    This course provides tools and methods for creating new products. The course is intended for students with a strong career interest in new product development, entrepreneurship, and/or technology development. The course follows an overall product design methodology, including the identification of customer needs, generation of product concepts, prototyping, and design-for-manufacturing. Weekly student assignments are focused on the design of a new product and culminate in the creation of a prototype, which is launched at an end-of-semester public Design Fair. The course project is a physical good - but most of the tools and methods apply to services and software products. The course is open to any Penn sophmore, junior, senior or graduate student.

    OIDD515401

  • OIDD614 - Innovation

    The course is first and foremost an intensive, integrative, project course in which student teams create one or more real businesses. Some businesses spun out of the course and now managed by alumni include Terrapass Inc. and Smatchy Inc. The project experience is and exciting context in which to learn key tools and fundamentals useful in innovation, problem solving, and design. Examples of these tools and fundamentals are: problem definition, identification of opportunities, generating alternatives, selecting among alternatives, principles of data graphics, and managing innovation pipelines. The course requires a commitment of at least 10 hours of work outside of class and comfort working on unstructured, interdisciplinary problems. Students with a strong interest in innovation and entrepreneurship are particularly encouraged to enroll. Please read carefully the syllabus posted on-line before registering for this course.

    OIDD614002

  • OIDD652 - Des&dev Web-based Prod

    This course will cover applications of decision models to managerial problems in a variety of business functions. The course will use management science techniques such as mathematical programming (LP/IP/NLP), Monte-Carlo simulation, decision trees, probability theory and statistical analysis as the vehicle for applying diverse management theories to real-world problems. Potential in-class applications include product-line selection, risk management, corporate real options, and supply-chain restructuring. The course will emphasize the practical application of these techniques; problems will be solved using popular packages such as Excel, and Crystal Ball.

    OIDD652001

  • OIDD654 - Product Design&devel

    The course provides the student with a number of tools and concepts necessary for creating and managing product development processes.The course consists of two interwoven parts. First, it presents the basic steps that are necessary for moving from a "cool idea" to a product sufficiently mature to launch an entrepreneurial start-up. This includes cases, lectures, and exercises on topics like identifying customer needs, developing a product concept as well as effective prototyping strategies. The capstone of this first part is a real project in which student teams conceptualize and develop a new product or service up to the completion of a fully functional prototype. Second, the course discusses a number of challenges related to product development as encountered by management consultants, members of cross-functional development teams as well as general managers. We will analyze several cases related to, among others, resource allocation in R&D organizations, organizational forms of product development teams, as well as managing development projects across large geographic distances.

    OIDD654751

Past Courses

  • MGMT731 - TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY

    The course is designed to meet the needs of future managers, entrepreneurs, consultants and investors who must analyze and develop business strategies in technology-based industries. The emphasis is on learning conceptual models and frameworks to help navigate the complexity and dynamism in such industries. This is not a course in new product development or in using information technology to improve business processes and offerings. We will take a perspective of both established and emerging firms competing through technological innovations, and study the key strategic drivers of value creation and appropriation in the context of business ecosystems. The course uses a combination of cases, simulation and readings. The cases are drawn primarily from technology-based industries. Note, however, that the case disucssions are mainly based on strategic (not technical) issues. Hence, a technical background is not required for fruitful participation.

  • OIDD415 - PRODUCT DESIGN

    This course provides tools and methods for creating new products. The course is intended for students with a strong career interest in new product development , entrepreneurship, and/or technology development. The course follows an overall product design methodology, including the identification of customer needs, generation of product concepts, prototyping, and design-for-manufacturing. Weekly student assignments are focused on the design of a new product and culminate in the creation of a prototype, which is launched at an end-of-semester public Design Fair. The course project is a physical good - but most of the tools and methods apply to services and software products. The course is open to any Penn sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student.

  • OIDD515 - PRODUCT DESIGN

    This course provides tools and methods for creating new products. The course is intended for students with a strong career interest in new product development, entrepreneurship, and/or technology development. The course follows an overall product design methodology, including the identification of customer needs, generation of product concepts, prototyping, and design-for-manufacturing. Weekly student assignments are focused on the design of a new product and culminate in the creation of a prototype, which is launched at an end-of-semester public Design Fair. The course project is a physical good - but most of the tools and methods apply to services and software products. The course is open to any Penn sophmore, junior, senior or graduate student.

  • OIDD614 - INNOVATION

    The course is first and foremost an intensive, integrative, project course in which student teams create one or more real businesses. Some businesses spun out of the course and now managed by alumni include Terrapass Inc. and Smatchy Inc. The project experience is and exciting context in which to learn key tools and fundamentals useful in innovation, problem solving, and design. Examples of these tools and fundamentals are: problem definition, identification of opportunities, generating alternatives, selecting among alternatives, principles of data graphics, and managing innovation pipelines. The course requires a commitment of at least 10 hours of work outside of class and comfort working on unstructured, interdisciplinary problems. Students with a strong interest in innovation and entrepreneurship are particularly encouraged to enroll. Please read carefully the syllabus posted on-line before registering for this course.

  • OIDD652 - DES&DEV WEB-BASED PROD

    This course will cover applications of decision models to managerial problems in a variety of business functions. The course will use management science techniques such as mathematical programming (LP/IP/NLP), Monte-Carlo simulation, decision trees, probability theory and statistical analysis as the vehicle for applying diverse management theories to real-world problems. Potential in-class applications include product-line selection, risk management, corporate real options, and supply-chain restructuring. The course will emphasize the practical application of these techniques; problems will be solved using popular packages such as Excel, and Crystal Ball.

  • OIDD654 - PRODUCT DESIGN&DEVEL

    The course provides the student with a number of tools and concepts necessary for creating and managing product development processes.The course consists of two interwoven parts. First, it presents the basic steps that are necessary for moving from a "cool idea" to a product sufficiently mature to launch an entrepreneurial start-up. This includes cases, lectures, and exercises on topics like identifying customer needs, developing a product concept as well as effective prototyping strategies. The capstone of this first part is a real project in which student teams conceptualize and develop a new product or service up to the completion of a fully functional prototype. Second, the course discusses a number of challenges related to product development as encountered by management consultants, members of cross-functional development teams as well as general managers. We will analyze several cases related to, among others, resource allocation in R&D organizations, organizational forms of product development teams, as well as managing development projects across large geographic distances.

  • OIDD695 - SSF REGIONAL SEMINAR

    As part of the Wharton Semester in San Francisco (SSF) program, this course is designed to (i) provide integrative material that emphasizes links between finance, marketing, product design, negotiations, and other themes in the SSF academic curriculum; (ii) link classroom theories and principles to actual practice by reflecting on the academic literature and (iii) highlight the unique characteristics of, and the programs proximity to, the Bay Area economy. All students participating in the SSF are required to register for this Regional Seminar.

Awards and Honors

  • Elective Teaching Award – Wharton Executive MBA Program, 2012-2015
  • Excellence in Teaching Award – Undergraduate Division, 2010
  • Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation Award – MBA Program, 2010
  • Excellence in Teaching Award – The Wharton School, 2007
  • Distinguished Fellow – POMS College of Product Innovation and Technology Management, 2006
  • Anvil Award – The Wharton School, 2000

In the News

Knowledge @ Wharton

Activity

In the News

How Bike Sharing Is Maturing in China

Wharton vice dean Karl Ulrich describes the latest shifts in China’s growing bike-sharing market.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2017/09/28
All News

Awards and Honors

Elective Teaching Award – Wharton Executive MBA Program 2015
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