Eppinger Honored with Two Awards


Steven D. Eppinger, ScD

By Lois Slavin, SDM Communications Director

MIT Sloan School of Management’s Steven D. Eppinger, ScD, recently received two important awards: the Medal of Excellence from the Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET) and the 2015 Distinguished Speaker Award from the Technology, Innovation Management, and Entrepreneurship Section (TIMES) of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). Eppinger is the General Motors Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management; Professor of Management Science and Innovation; and codirector of System Design & Management (SDM) and Integrated Design & Management (IDM).

Instituted in 2004, the PICMET Medal of Excellence recognizes the extraordinary achievements of individuals in any discipline who have made outstanding contributions to science, engineering, and technology management. Eppinger was honored for several important accomplishments, among them:

  • Co-authoring Product Design and Development (with Karl T. Ulrich)—currently in its sixth edition, this leading textbook has been translated into several languages and is used by hundreds of universities and over a quarter million students;
  • Conducting extensive research that has been applied to improving complex technical projects in a wide range of industries; and
  • Serving as Professor of Management Science and Innovation at MIT and as codirector of SDM and IDM, which are offered jointly by MIT Sloan and MIT’s School of Engineering.

Eppinger is the first faculty member from MIT Sloan to win the PICMET Medal of Excellence, although several Sloan faculty members have won other PICMET awards. For example, the following professors have received the organization’s Leadership in Technology Management Award: Eric von Hippel (2005); Edward B. Roberts (2006); Nam Pyo Suh (2012); and James M. Utterback (2014).

On November 2, during the INFORMS annual meeting in Philadelphia, TIMES presented Eppinger with the 2015 Distinguished Speaker Award in recognition of his outstanding academic leadership in the field of technology management. At that time, Eppinger delivered a presentation, “The Structure and Management of Technical Projects,” in which he reviewed some key design structure matrix (DSM) research results and described ways in which the method is used today to manage complex technical projects. He also offered thoughts on frontiers in technology management that may be addressed using DSM modeling and reflected on why it has taken more than 20 years to bring this practical method into common practice.

Other MIT Sloan faculty who have received the TIMES Distinguished Speaker Award include Roberts (2001), Hippel (2005), and Utterback (2012).

Eppinger is one of the most highly recognized scholars in product development and technical project management. His research is applied to improving complex design processes in order to accelerate industrial practices. He pioneered the development of the widely used DSM method for managing complex system projects. He has authored more than 70 articles in refereed academic journals and conferences. He is also the co-author of a book based on DSM research, Design Structure Matrix Methods and Applications, published by MIT Press.

In his current research, Eppinger delves into complex engineering systems with particular emphasis on:

  • the integration of complex engineered systems—to explore a new way to apply DSM to complex systems;
  • technology readiness—he and collaborators are investigating the state of the art in the use of technology-readiness-level assessment methods in system development; and
  • engineering communication networks—Eppinger and collaborators are investigating the patterns of technical process communications through engineering networks.

Eppinger previously served five years as deputy dean of MIT Sloan. He received SB, SM, and ScD degrees from MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.