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Glen Urban

Glen Urban is a leading educator, prize-winning researcher specializing in marketing and new product development, entrepreneur, and author. He has been a member of the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty since 1966, was Deputy Dean at the school from 1987 to 1992, and Dean from 1993 to 1998.

Urban's research focus is on management science models that improve the productivity of new product development and marketing. For example, in a methodology he devised called Information Acceleration, he uses multi-media computer technology to simulate future sales of products such as cars, computer systems, telecommunications, and drugs.

Information Acceleration emerged from Urban's earlier ground-breaking work in premarket forecasting for frequently-purchased consumer (nondurable) goods called Assessor. Since the Assessor concept publication, it has been used to forecast the success and profitability of more than 3,000 new consumer products around the world. Dr. Urban's recent research is to develop a trust-based marketing system on the Internet. An extension of the Information Acceleration research, the system uses pickup trucks for a prototype Web site that integrates attribute screening, expert advice, collaborative filtering, and community interaction. This is being extended to understanding how the click stream from such an advisor/customer dialogue can be used to discover unmet needs. Finally research is underway to find the determinants of trust on the Internet and design a real-time adaptive experimentation system to increase the levels of trust on a Web site.

Trained initially in engineering and business—earning a BS in mechanical engineering in 1963 and an MBA in 1964, both from the University of Wisconsin—Urban went on to earn a Ph.D. in marketing at Northwestern University in 1966. He is co-author of six books, including Digital Marketing Strategy (2004), Design and Marketing of New Products (second edition, 1993), Advanced Marketing Strategy (1991), and Essentials of New Product Management (1986). He has also published more than 30 articles on premarket forecasting of new products, test marketing, product line planning, leading-edge users in new product development, and consumer budgeting. His papers have won several prestigious awards, including two O'Dells—in 1983 and 1986—for the best papers published in marketing research. In 1996 he received the American Marketing Association Paul D. Converse Award for outstanding contributions to the development of the science of marketing, and the Journal of Marketing award for best paper in that year. In 1999 he was winner of the American Marketing Association and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for recognition of a body of work in marketing research. In 2000 he presented the Wroe Alderson Lecture at the Wharton School.

With two other researchers, Urban founded Management Decision Systems, Inc., a marketing consulting firm that merged with Information Resources, Inc. in 1985. He also co-founded Management Science for Health and its spin-off John Snow, Inc., both consulting firms specializing in international healthcare and family planning that have grown to several hundred employees worldwide. He co-founded Marketing Technology Interface, Inc., a company that uses multimedia computing to support strategic new product design, which merged in 1993 with Mercer Management, a consulting firm. In 1998 he co-founded InSite Marketing Technology, a software firm for trust-based marketing on the Internet (sold to Silknet in October 1999). His newest firm is called Experion Systems and was founded in December 1999.