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Think. Make. Start. (Build innovative products of your ideas in 10 days!)

Module MW2245

This Module is offered by Chair of Product Development and Lightweight Design (Prof. Zimmermann).

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2020

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2021WS 2020/1SS 2020WS 2019/20WS 2014/5

Basic Information

MW2245 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered every semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Catalogue of soft-skill courses
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
180 h 120 h 6 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


During the interdisciplinary team project, students work methodically, purposefully and agilely on a development project to develop innovative new products with the intention of successfully launching them on the market. Current needs and problems from social, technological and economic systems are identified, analysed and validated in the interdisciplinary team. In doing so, they cooperatively solve challenges that arise from constraints from the different disciplines. They generate suitable market hypotheses and product ideas at an early stage and interact with initial potential customers/users. They iteratively create prototypes and evaluate their hypotheses with them in experiments.

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Learning Outcome

After the successful participation in the module, the students are able to:
- examine the relevance of a problem and develop a solution collaboratively in an interdisciplinary team.
- to discover the innovation potentials of new products / ideas, to evaluate the novelty and social relevance.
- To convert one's own ideas into a Minimum Viable Product and thus use potentials for one's own business start-up.
- To know methods of product development (from thinking to doing), to apply them independently and to evaluate the results (prototyping, design thinking, lean startup, agile, systems engineering).
- to reproduce the principles of user-centred design, to apply them independently and to evaluate them.
- Understand the context of use and analyse customer needs (where do I serve a need and what technology/method do I use).
- To quickly develop important hypotheses involving relevant stakeholders (customer, user, ...) through proper Planning with "purposeful prototyping".
- Change perspectives across disciplines and apply project management in interdisciplinary teamwork.
- To work independently, to make and justify decisions and to learn from one's own mistakes.
- To possibly lay the foundation for one's own business start-up by identifying a start-up idea or team.


The basic requirement is a willingness to engage with new learning methods, approaches, disciplines and ways of working. Cross-role experience in project management, product development (Design Thinking, TRIZ, Systems Engineering, etc), interdisciplinary teamwork, communication skills, creativity and problem solving skills are an advantage. A lot of emphasis is placed on practical experience.

For the "Problem Expert" role, experience in the following areas is an advantage:
- User Testing, Requirements Engineering, Interviewing, Human-Centered Design, Design, Visualisation, Use Case Definition, UX/UI Design, marketing, market research, benchmarking, design thinking.

For the "Tech Developer" role, experience in the following areas is an advantage:
- Hardware (mechanical): design, manufacturing (workshop/makerspace), prototyping, CAD/CAM.
- Hardware (electronic): embedded systems engineering, microcontrollers, sensors/actuators, Arduino, Raspberry, circuitry, board design, metrology, BUS protocols, prototyping, closed-loop/open-loop control, robotics
- Software focus: Backend development, databases, frontend development, machine learning, web development, app development, embedded systems

For the "Business Developer" role, experience in the following areas is an advantage:
- Business Plan/Strategy/Design, Marketing, Sales, Interviewing, Finance & Accounting, Business Law & Regulations, Entrepreneurship.

The number of participants is limited and there will be an application process.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

"THINK. MAKE. START." is a two-week, practice-oriented, interdisciplinary and competitive teaching format in which students from all faculties can participate (credits are given individually related to the study program). It is organised by the different chairs of TUM, TUM ForTe, and UnternehmerTUM. They get access to the high-tech workshop Makerspace and budget to transform their own ideas into real prototypes (mechatronic products). Learning outcomes are achieved through the following teaching and learning methods:
- Milestones to be achieved, team roles to be held and predetermined course structure provide the roadmap for the project.
- Coaching and teaching expertise in prototyping, business validation, agile development, design thinking, systems engineering, lean startup and user-centred design.
- Teaching the basics of interdisciplinary collaboration through a role concept (Business Developer, Tech Developer, Problem Expert).
- All participants work in interdisciplinary teams (10 teams of 5 students each) and are encouraged to become active themselves and learn through practical experience (hands-on learning).
- Each team pursues a real business idea chosen for the seminar. Special attention is given to really understanding the customer and verifying the solution approach, through questioning, observation, prototyping or expert discussion.
- Using prototyping to bridge the gap between thinking and doing.
- Reflecting on one's own results and approach supports project decisions.
- The teams present their projects to a jury on DemoDay and present the prototypically implemented product ideas to guests from industry, the start-up scene and research.


Project manual, presentations, hand-outs, posters, videos, examples.


Esch Franz-Rudolf (2012) Strategie und Technik der Markenführung, 7. Auflage, Vahlen

Faltin, Günter (2008): Kopf schlägt Kapital, Hanser

Halgrimsson (2012): Prototyping and Model Making for Product Design (2012)

Kalweit Andreas, Paul Christof, Peters Sascha, Wallbaum Reiner (2012) Handbuch für Technisches
Produktdesign, Material und Fertigung, Entscheidungsgrundlage für Designer und Ingenieure, 2. Auflage, Springer

Kelly, Tom (2016): The Art of Innovation

Lindemann, U (2007): Methodische Entwicklung technischer Produkte - Methoden flexibel und situationsgerecht anwenden. 2. Auflage

Münchener Business Plan Wettbewerb: Handbuch Businessplan-Erstellung, München

Malek, Miroslaw / Ibach, Peter K. (2004): Entrepreneurship, Dpunkt Verlag

Moore, Geoffrey A. (2002): Crossing the Chasm, Harpercollins

Osterwalder, Alexander / Pigneur, Yves (2010): Business Model Generation: A Handbook for

Ries, Eric (2011): The Lean Startup

Savoia, Antonio (2019): The right It

Timmons, Jeffry A. / Spinelli, Stephen (2009): New Venture Creation, 7thedition, McGraw, Hill Professional

UnternehmerTUM (2011): Handbuch Schlüsselkompetenzen, 7. Auflage

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The module examination consists of a project work incl. written documentation (approx. 10 pages) and presentation (10 min), in which the students develop a new product in a group project and present their idea for founding a company on this basis. The individual performance is assessed to what extent the students are able to develop a product with market potential by means of an iterative approach to prototypical implementation. The assessment also includes the ability to work in a team, the ability to make well-founded design decisions and the completeness and conclusiveness of the concept, taking into account social relevance, novelty and innovation. As part of the project work, in addition to documentation, there is a final oral presentation. Through the presentation, students are expected to show whether they can demonstrate their ability to act as a competent team.
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