2024 Product Innovation Program

Zell Lurie Institute
May 8, 2024

The Product Innovation Program (PIP) at the Zell Lurie Institute offers a hands-on learning experience for a select group of U-M students and alumni interested in pursuing corporate innovation or product management. Participants work in cross-functional teams over 12 weeks, walking through the full product development experience. This virtual program, facilitated by Entrepreneur-in-Residence Rashmi Menon, bolsters students’ understanding of turning an idea into a prototype by delving into customer discovery, user testing, conducting comparable product research, roadmapping, customer acquisition, and defining a minimum viable product. 

The Product Innovation Program began in January 2022 and has since hosted five cohorts with various backgrounds and degrees, including students and alumni from the Ross School of Business, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the College of Engineering, the School of Information, the School of Public Health, and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Participants have produced products from a variety of industries, including improving mentorship in the workforce, improving hiring practices for software engineers, and reducing medication waste in the pharmaceutical industry. In the past year, the program has shifted towards addressing climate change by developing software solutions that provide ways to manage the climate crisis or explore preventative measures that can reduce its effects. 

The Winter 2024 cohort included eleven studentsAarya Padhye (BBA ‘26), Lily Medway (BA ‘25), Ken Malik (MBA ‘25), Mauricio Andrade (OMBA ‘25), Menglin (Cody) Lyu (MS ‘25), Gokulakrishnan Jayakumar (MS/MSE ‘25), Jieyu (Jenny) Liu (BA ‘24), Arnav Tripathi (BBA ‘24), Sumit Rajan (MBA ‘24), Kashvi Tibrewal (MBA ‘24), and Ammarnnath Namakkal Vani Gopinat (MArch ‘24). Together they created innovative solutions that built a marketplace for consumers and restaurants to learn about fermentation, as well as a tech product that reduced furniture waste by tracking current furniture surpluses that exist in the organization.

The hands-on experience, coupled with insightful feedback and a supportive teaching style, made the learning process both enjoyable and deeply informative.

Aarya Padhye

BBA ‘26

The hands-on experience, coupled with insightful feedback and a supportive teaching style, made the learning process both enjoyable and deeply informative. I want to thank Rashmi for her dedication to fostering a nurturing environment that encourages curiosity and growth. I feel confident knowing that I will be able to take everything that I’ve learnt these past few months and carry it with me throughout my professional career.”

– Aarya Padhye, BBA ‘26

The Product Innovation Program is open to students from all U-M schools and colleges, as well as all U-M alumni. The program runs from December through April each academic year. Interested applicants can e-mail zli.studio@umich.edu with questions.