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MSU Launches Massive Product Archive & Innovation Hub

MSU School of Packaging's NewProductWorks Collection offers 140,000+ items for industry experts, students, and researchers to explore packaging trends and spark creative ideas.

Part of the NewProductWorks Collection: Quaker Oats packaging through the years.
Part of the NewProductWorks Collection: Quaker Oats packaging through the years.

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Michigan State University School of Packaging (SoP) unveiled the MSU Collective for NewProductWorks on April 10, 2024, at the Smithers Facility in Lansing, Michigan. The result of decades of painstaking curation and archival research, the MSU Collective for NewProductWorks contains more than 140,000 packaged goods manufactured from 1980 onwards, encompassing 350 categories in global, regional, and local markets. The collection is displayed like a supermarket, offering visitors a hands-on means to compare products or gather ideas for research and development.

According to School of Packaging Director Matt Daum, “This is a unique one-of-a-kind collection in its scope and availability to the general public. This collection has tremendous potential for research and creative ideation as well as sustainability approaches used by product categories over the years.” 

The MSU Collective for NewProductWorks will provide learning opportunities for industry experts, faculty, and students. Industry members can access the physical collection by appointment with curator Matt Dingee or through subscriptions to the database (starting summer 2024). Pricing for access to the physical collection is by half and full day rates, while database subscriptions run either 6 or 12 months. The center also offers facilitated access to workshops and ideation sessions, consulting services and market testing on packages and package design. 

In addition, the School of Packaging will offer use of the collection for unique educational and outreach purposes. Multiple units within MSU, including marketing, advertising, entrepreneurship, and supply chain, can integrate learning opportunities with the collection.

“For students and faculty, the collection provides an unparalleled resource for research and study.” Daum said. “Our students will have access to this wealth of creative work to spur their own ideas which they will take with them into the job market. For faculty in units like packaging, marketing, and advertising the collection will serve as a storehouse of comparative study and trend analysis. And for companies looking for design inspiration, competitive analysis or sustainability trends, the physical and digital collection will be an indispensable data source.”

Ipsos, one of the world’s leading market research companies, donated the NewProductWorks collection, which served as the foundation for the MSU Collective for NewProductWorks, and facilitated its relocation to East Lansing, Michigan. Additional support from Ipsos funded the initial setup and oversight of the collection. 

“We’re proud to bring NewProductWorks to Michigan State, where it can be a resource for the next generation of marketers, packagers, researchers and historians,” said Peter Mackey, executive vice president and head of Ipsos’ UX Business. “Under the university’s stewardship, this unique asset will continue to inspire innovation and excellence in product design.”

McKinsey and Company and MSU’s School of Packaging collaborated on the launch of the MSU Collective for NewProductWorks. McKinsey provided the fact base and analysis for MSU to define the collective’s strategy and worked with the School of Packaging to reach this milestone.

Smithers is donating space to display the products in a supermarket-like setting. “Smithers has a fantastic relationship with Michigan State,” said Michael Kuebler, technical director of the Materials Science and Engineering Division for Smithers, “Many of our team members came from the School of Packaging, and we’ve collaborated with them many times as guest speakers, mentors, and technical research partners. Supporting the School of Packaging is a top priority for us, so of course we’re honored to be a part of the university’s plans to showcase the MSU Collective for NewProductWorks.”

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