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

The Studio team reviews all challenges we receive. Our team selects the most relevant challenges to be put forth to the students for selection.

A matching algorithm is used to form student teams and match those teams to challenges, optimizing for student interest. Groups of four to five students participate on a cross-campus team, with each student devoting about 10 hours a week to the challenge.

Only one team can match to a challenge. Companies and students will be notified via email of the match. Please note that the program is highly competitive and we receive more submissions than we have student teams so not all submissions will match.

  • The Studio team will review all challenges between June and July.
  • The Studio team will inform companies in July if their challenges are moving forward to the student selection phase.
  • In July, students will receive all of the challenges that have moved forward and will be asked to rank their top 10 choices in order of preference.
  • Dream Team, our matching algorithm, is used to form multidisciplinary student teams and match those teams to challenges, optimizing for student interest. Each team will consist of 4 or 5 students.
  • In early August, companies will find out if they have matched with a student team.
  • In September, a kickoff meeting with the student team will begin the engagement.
  • Companies can expect to meet with their teams about once per month (or more frequently if they like!) from September through November.
  • Teams will deliver a final presentation and demo in early December.