Is your company or organization interested in posing a Product Challenge?

Product Challenges require a thought-provoking, actionable question that is neither too broad, nor too specific. Learn how to create a challenge that leads to meaningful product development milestones for your organization.

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What Is a Product Challenge?

Challenges are substantial questions that ask students to step beyond obvious solutions and push the boundaries of problem-solving through technology. Unlike an internship, Product Challenges are for educational and exploratory purposes, not work-for-hire.

While challenges should lead to meaningful product development milestones in one semester (three months), the best challenges have a long-term vision that goes beyond the semester.

Product Challenges are expressed in the form of a “How might we…” question in order for our students to respond to the challenge. For example, 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?”

Our students will respond to your challenge with inspiration, ideation, and an implementation plan. Organizations should ask questions that are interesting to them, relevant to their businesses, worthy of exploration, and challenging to our students.

How Students Respond to a Challenge

Students use prototyping, user testing, and business planning to answer their “How might we…” question and integrate it back into the business.

In the final presentation, student teams will present a digitally enabled solution to the challenge. The team will share a working demo with the challenger company, and educate key stakeholders on their findings.

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Learning Goals for Our Students

A group of students surrounding a table and working on their laptops

Learning Goals for Our Students

  • Learn product design, prototyping, and business planning.
  • Collaborate directly with organizations to help tackle complex challenges and ideas.
  • Build upon and advance an idea drawn from a diverse set of real-world challenges and opportunities for technology-based disruption.
  • Work in cross-campus teams, gaining experience communicating project plans, timelines, status, and results in a learning environment that mirrors the real-world.
  • Gain exposure to business and societal drivers of technological advancement.

Our Matching Process

  • Prior to the start of the semester, Product Challenges will be grouped into domain clusters for students to choose between.
  • Throughout the first few weeks of the semester, with all of the HMW challenges in the cluster serving as inspiration, students will conduct research within their chosen domain so that the ideas they generate are tied to a deep understanding of the problem space.
  • During this time, groups of students will engage with the company advisors listed on the applications as a form of expert network. Advisors will assist in the research and idea generation and will get the unique opportunity to network with other working professionals in their domain. Because we are remote for the fall, we welcome advisors from anywhere in the world, not just the NYC metro area.
  • About 4-5 weeks into the semester, teams will form within each cluster around ideas that result from the user and industry research.
  • Company advisors may match with teams once the team has identified an idea in October. This means that every company advisor will have a front-row seat to the process students go through in generating ideas, and you will only match with a team that has an idea you believe in. We expect every advisor who wishes to will be able to match with a team.


By the end of the first semester, teams will create a development plan and product roadmap to manage the most critical risks to their product or service.