What is a Design Challenge?

In our world, challenges are everywhere!

  • How can we harness energy more sustainably for a better future?
  • How can we use technology to create safer cars?
  • How can we reduce and eliminate waste in production processes?

A design challenge is a means by which projects are initiated to develop innovative solutions to a complex problem, like those mentioned above. Design challenges are made up of phases to guide participants through the design thinking process. These phases generally include: Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation.


The Inspiration Phase

The Inspiration Phase involves understanding the problem at hand and learning about the needs and challenges of individuals faced with the problem. A student recognizes a problem and decides to actively begin brainstorming ways to fix it.

The Ideation Phase

The Ideation Phase involves brainstorming, visualizing, and discussing ideas to solve the problem. The student forms ideas, workshops them, and creates new solutions in this phase as challenges are identified. Ideas are revised multiple times, sometimes even scrapped, until the student is completely satisfied with their idea.

The Implementation Phase

The Implementation Phase involves putting together the solution-oriented product or service. Students take their fleshed out idea and create a plan for implementation that SOARs: is Sustainable, Original, Achievable, and Realistic. Often, the student recruits a larger team to make their idea a reality.


Want Some Examples?

Here are some great examples of other successful design challenges that have been conducted all around the world.

Nike Grind Challenge

Over 500 teams from around the world joined this unique challenge calling for ideas to repurpose otherwise wasted material from Nike. With extremely creative and original ideas, the challenge was a hot spot for collaboration and community surrounding sustainability.

Early Childhood Innovation Prize

Answering the question of “how might we maximize every child’s potential during their first three years of life?“, this challenge garnered 567 innovative ideas towards bettering the lives of children, and continues to make an impact today.

Ready to join our own design challenge?