Brown University Product Development Q&A

Mark Sousa, COO of Empire Group, leads a Product Development Q&A with Brown University Design & Engineering Students

Mark Sousa, Product Development Q&A

This week at Empire Group, we welcomed Engineering and Design students from Brown University to our facility to learn and explore the world of new product development.

These students came prepped with questions for our COO, Mark Sousa, who led the student Q&A session.

With Mark’s impressive background in product development, he bestowed some great design, engineering, and product marketing wisdom to give these college students a foundation for understanding the product development process.

The students learned about each stage of the product development lifecycle and what is involved in taking products and ideas from design to manufacturing. Mark pointed out just how critical it is that product designers and engineers understand the factors that can impact a product’s manufacturing and marketing feasibility.

There were some key takeaways from the session that are relevant to even the most experienced product developer. We’ve summarized them for you below.

Product Development Lifecycle
Stages of New Product Development
Additive Manufacturing in Design

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding your end-user is critical for everyone involved in developing a product. From the Industrial Designer, to the Rapid Prototyping Technician, to the Marketer.

  • Mistakes are a necessary part of the process. Learning about what you don’t want is equally as important as knowing what you do want.

  • Take advantage of the speed and flexibility of additive manufacturing in the design, engineering and prototyping phases to quickly iterate and improve design.

  • Product development is not always about new ideas. It is about innovation, which can also mean taking an existing item and seeing all the ways it can be improved upon or made better.

“The session was an amazing learning experience for these students and put a reality in their minds to everything they have been learning about.” — Khipra Nichols, Brown University

“The session was an amazing learning experience for these students and put a reality in their minds to everything they have been learning about.” — Khipra Nichols, Brown University


The Wright brothers were not the first to invent the plane. They were the first to perfect it.
— Mark Sousa, COO Empire Group

Interested in booking an educational tour for students or setting up a product development lunch and learn for your team?