Design Labs and Challenges
Find out more about different things you can experience through IDEA. IDEA consists of a variety of unique experiences that help our students learn new skills and also put them to the test. We host Design Labs, workshops, and other programs that last from a few days to even a whole semester.
What is a Design Lab?
Design Labs are half-day workshops where design methods are used by participants to explore a topic or theme to identify where there is potential for innovation and identify solutions that can make a social impact.
The basic components of the design lab are:
- Intro to lab format and participant introductions
- Lightening talks by experts and community advocates
- Defining the problem, identifying questions
- Brainstorming / Ideation
- Feedback and iteration
- Reflect and wrap-up
What is a Design Challenge?
Design Challenges are multi-day to multi-week experiences where time is spent in each of the design stages (empathy, define, ideate, prototype, test.)
IDEA partners with student-led organizations, governmental agencies, and industry to offer a variety of challenges for students to think about what problems they want to solve while practicing design and entrepreneurial thinking.
Design Challenge partners and opportunities include:
- Design For America at Rutgers
- Hult Prize at Rutgers
- The Opportunity Project, a program of the Census Open Innovation Labs at the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Johnson & Johnson's Black Technology Professionals' HealthTech Hack
- I-Corps Fellowship program with the I-Corps Northeast Hub
- Steelcase Social Innovation Lab
AY22-23 Design Labs and Challenges
Design Lab #1: Coastal Systems and Food Security in Micronesia
Sponsored by JCNERR
October 14, 2022
Design Lab #2: Smart Packaging
Sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive
November 11, 2022
Design Lab #3: Service Design
Sponsored by NASA SBIR/STTR
February 24, 2023
Join the IDEA Tech Team, to:
- Design and create digital products with federal open data
- Conduct community research to ensure projects address community needs and resonate with the public
- Collaborate with data experts to explore and use data sets, user advocates to understand community needs, and advisors to develop a post-sprint strategy
- Own and maintain the products after the sprint, or develop a strategy for handoff
Sponsored by The Opportunity Project
Sponsored by Design for America at Rutgers-New Brunswick
Past Design Labs and Challenges
Past Design Lab Themes and Topics
Design Lab for Women’s Global Health: How might we tackle emerging issues in women’s global health?
Sponsor: Institute for Women’s Leadership
Living Donor Lab: How might we connect living donors to those in need of a kidney transplant?
Sponsor: Dr. Advaith Bongu, RWJMS and Professor Mary Chayko, SCI
Transparent Mask Lab: How might we improve adoption of the transparent mask?
Sponsor: Lingnan University, Hong Kong, MIT D-Lab, and i.d.e.a.
Accessible Oral Care: How might we make oral healthcare products more accessible?
Past Design Challenges
The Opportunity Project: Helping the Public Understand the Effects of Emissions on Local Air Quality
Johnson & Johnson 2020 HealthTech Hack
Hult Prize 2021 Challenge - Food for Good: Transforming Food into a Vehicle for Change
The Opportunity Project: Assisting Businesses, Community, and State/Local Government Leaders to Make Critical Decisions Using Decennial Data
The Opportunity Project: Tackling the Climate Crises through Climate Smart Communities
Johnson & Johnson 2021 HealthTech Hack
Steelcase Social Innovation Lab: Equity in Education Challenge
Sponsor a Design Lab
New Jersey industry and community partners are invited to sponsor a Design Lab by submitting ideas each summer and working with students during the Fall or Spring semester.
IDEA will work with you to facilitate a design experience that addresses complex problems facing your company. IDEA provides guidance to the participating students, assistance with design methods, and coordinates involvement with researchers and faculty experts providing feedback to the participating students. We:
- Work with design lab sponsors to develop problem statement(s)
- Identify and put together relevant open resources and materials
- Recruit participants
- Facilitate the 3-hour experience
Design Lab sponsors receive the artifacts created during the design lab to bring back to their companies for progressing ideas towards solutions. Sponsors can also choose their favorite solution to be further developed during the IDEA Summer Design Program.
After submitting a design lab idea the IDEA Team will reach out to set up a planning meeting.
Great problem statements avoid proposing a firm solution to allow interdisciplinary student teams to uncover multiple prospective solutions through design exploration.
Email email@example.com if you have any questions about submitting a design lab idea or if you would like to speak with the IDEA Director to make sure your idea is a good fit for a design lab. You can also look through the Design Labs and Themes section to see topics from previous years. Or, you may use one of our four learning pathways as inspiration for a design lab.
Design Lab sponsors support IDEA through a sponsorship fee of $3,000 per Design Lab. Up to half of the fee goes directly to purchasing design lab materials. IDEA uses the remainder to support program facilities and community development projects. Non-profit organizations and NGOs are eligible for a reduced fee of $500. Governmental agencies and Rutgers University departments are not charged a fee. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.