Facebook tracking code

Challenges are not just engineering problems or design facelifts. Students work in integrated teams across all disciplines to learn and practice end-to-end new product development.

While the student teams should be able to accomplish meaningful product development milestones in one semester (3 months), the best challenges have a long-term vision that goes beyond a semester.

6 tips to keep in mind to help you pose a great challenge question

1. Use the “how might we” design challenge format
Good Example: “How might we tackle teenage weight loss in a manner that makes teenagers feel good about themselves and not like they are on a program?”

2. Avoid challenges that are too specific (if it is work that’s ready for an intern could do, it isn’t a good challenge)
Bad Example: “How might we consolidate our databases and create reporting around institutional metrics?”

3. Avoid challenges that are too broad (if it requires months of research or has too many unknowns, it isn’t a good challenge; it should take no more than the first month of the semester for the team to come up with a product idea so they can spend the rest of the semester building and validating)
Bad Example: “How might we solve world hunger?”

4. Address a specific audience (teenagers, low-income wage earners, software developers, small businesses, sales teams, etc.)
Good Example: “How might we efficiently minimize ambiguity for riders when establishing a pickup location?”

5. Frame the potential impact (what is the value to the audience)
Good Example: “How might we efficiently minimize ambiguity for riders when establishing a pickup location?”

6. Limit dependencies (confidential datasets, access to internal company systems, etc.), and if there are dependencies, they must be readily supplied

Examples of well-designed challenge questions

Weight Watchers challenged our students with, “How might we tackle teenage weight loss in a manner that makes teenagers feel good about themselves and not like they are on a program?”

Robin Hood challenged our students with, “How might we create a new online marketplace that harnesses the power of the sharing economy to benefit low-income wage earners?”

Intersection challenged our students with, “How might we use the LinkNYC to redefine the way citizens engage with their government?”

AiCure challenged our students with, “How might we use artificial intelligence to motivate and impact behavior change in patients?”

The New York Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence challenged our students with, “How might we create an application that provides comprehensive and multidisciplinary information, tools and resources for domestic violence survivors while also protecting their safety and privacy?”

Google challenged our students with, “How might we encourage people to get a balanced view on controversial topics such as gun control regardless of their (political) leanings?”

frog challenged our students with, “How might we use wearables and/or sensors to enhance a design researcher's ability to draw more valuable insights while in the field?”