Montreal, Canada, 2012-01-11 -
The Projet HEC is one of the many projects of the University of Montreal’s School of Industrial Design. The project has been an integral part of the curriculum for nearly twenty years, and its importance is ever growing. The objective of the project is singular: design students are mandated to conceive a unique product that has yet to be seen on the market. They must then produce twelve manufacturing-quality items, which ultimately will be sold during a specific event. The time frame is less than generous all must be done within five weeks.
As with all industrial design workshops at the University of Montreal, students are guided by a group of well-seasoned professionals, three of whom are in charge of practical guidance, and one being the project manager. The selected guests for the 2011 edition of the project were Michel Morelli, Claude Mauffette and Annie Legroulx. Jean-François Jacques, the project manager, orchestrated the assignment and ensured that all went smoothly.
This very project is exceptional as it does not limit students to the theoretical aspect of industrial design. It stimulates the practical thought process as well. The challenge of the assignment is that students must not only draw, but also produce and package in an absolute professional manner. It is this evolution of thought through to execution that gives birth to such brilliant products.
Once all twelve items are produced and packaged, the future designers redirect their efforts to the marketing and sale of the finished product. This activity involves the conception and building of a kiosk that reflects the image of the product. This element plays an important role in the sale, since it serves as a magnet to potential buyers, especially in the situation where all the students are gathered in the same room for the event that lasts but an hour and thirty minutes. It is at this point that the real success of the product is determined. Finally, after the sale, the project is concluded with a brief financial evaluation in order to determine if the exercise was profitable.
To sum up, the Projet HEC is a project that is much appreciated by the students of the School of Industrial Design. The fact of having the freedom to conceive, design, build and sell one’s own product is very motivating. In addition, the mentors are encouraging, all while providing students with critical, yet constructive feedback. The Projet HEC will be celebrating its twenty years this coming fall so expect a very memorable sale!