MEM to Host 'Tectonic Shifts & Re-planning Product in a Crisis'

Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) webinar will examine the role product managers can play in navigating a crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it, with businesses across the globe screeching to a halt and millions of Americans told to remain at home in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

All those well-thought-out plans companies made at the end of the year to deliver products and technology for their consumers and to help their business can potentially be thrown out the window during surprise, black swan events like the coronavirus.

As society endures through this unprecedented situation, it also will be faced with a wide variety of questions, some of which may ultimately be the difference between life and death.

  • How can you quickly and consistently ventilate a patient with limited ventilator resources?
  • How can the pandemic be fought in parts of the world with limited resources?
  • What solutions will be needed to allow people to return to work safely?

To help address these questions and others, Northwestern University's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program is hosting "Tectonic Shifts & Re-planning Product in a Crisis," a webinar examining the role product managers can play in navigating a crisis. The webinar will be led by Birju Shah, MEM adjunct professor, and Head of Product: Platforms and AI at Uber.

"Black-swan moments cause businesses to rethink their plans, and usually the companies that adapt the fastest survive and do the best coming out of it," Shah said. "We will discuss product strategy and planning during a crisis to shift your product plans."

In the webinar, Shah will highlight a product strategy framework in order to demonstrate how to create "crisis pillars". He also will explain how to focus on certain projects to help the company move forward, how to emphasize cash preservation, and how to create a playbook to help the company set itself up for success as it comes out of the crisis.

"I am looking for the webinar to showcase the role of product management in society as a way to focus and harness the energy of the gifted engineers and product designers to solve societal problems in a practical way," said MEM Director Mark Werwath. "Product managers really focus on rapid adoption of their solutions and this is how the world gets changed. 

"They are experts at achieving product-market fit."

During the academic year, MEM leverages the expertise of alumni and faculty to create webinars on topics relevant to technology, innovation, and management. Webinars are just one example of the ways Northwestern’s MEM program prepares its students to stay abreast of timely and emerging topics in the field of engineering management.

To get more information, register for the webinar or visit the webinars page on the MEM website.