Course Description:

The emphasis in this course is on the entrepreneurial process of innovation, development and commercialization of new products that contribute to sustainable development. The term “product” will be treated in its most general sense in which service may be an important component or the “product” might be entirely a “service.” For example, a software product may have no other function than to provide a service. We will examine how requirements for sustainable development affect the process of product development and will assess how sustainable products contribute to the firm’s competitive advantage and to its entrepreneurial opportunities. We will study various sustainability frameworks for integrating the environment and societal externalities in traditional product design decisions.

In this course the perspective is that of a general manager or an entrepreneur who has the primary responsibility for creation, development and commercialization of the product. One objective of this course is to help you understand how new product development works within a start-up or an established company and how to organize and lead an effective process to accomplish the tasks of product development.

Students will work in teams to identify a market opportunity, to develop a concept for a sustainable product in that market and to plan the full design development and commercialization of the product. You will take your project through user need research and conceptual design development process and build a prototype (either working or mockup). Your final presentation in this course will focus on your product’s differentiated value in customer experience, sustainability impact and feasibility of its commercial success.

(3 Units)

Innovation for a Sustainable Future:
A Catalog of Purpose-Driven Products & Services by Presidio Graduate School Students

Student Class Example:

Rapid Prototyping: Not Your Typical Egg Drop Challenge

Student Project Example:

PriCharge: A Portable Energy Storage System

The PriCharge mobile energy storage system provides a highly functional and sustainable product design that addresses the power needs of today’s car camping community. The aim of this product is to capitalize on a waste stream that can provide an accessible, reliable and cost-effective material source. The growing market share of hybrid electric vehicles and the resulting increase in discarded hybrid batteries represent an exciting opportunity. These batteries are typically sent straight to the recycling center. Research confirms that a large portion of these used hybrid batteries still have considerable energy storage potential remaining for non-automotive applications.


The PriCharge mobile energy storage system was developed for Dr. Dariush Rafinejad’s Fall 2011 Sustainable Products and Services class at Presidio Graduate School.

The PriCharge Team: Allan Enemark, Julien Gervreau, Aaron Israel, James Parle, Chad Reese

Special thanks to Luscious Garage.




Dariush Rafinejad, PhD