Service Design Challenges

As part of my work instructing and speaking at General Assembly and Designation, I am often asked to provide design challenge prompts. UX Students are provided challenges with a week to research and prepare a response. Some of the challenges I’ve issued to students:

The Renewable Energy Design Challenge
The transition from limited natural resources to renewable energy is a problem that impact us all on both a local and global scale. How might we make renewable energy more accessible at the local level?

  1. Observe and document 2 instances in your own community where renewable energy innovations could have a much larger impact.
  2. Prototype a solution that would be a viable solution to one of those instances. Sketches are acceptable.
  3. List out the technologies, institutions, people and places that might be involved in realizing this vision.
  4. Put together a plan to test this product or idea. Who and what would be involved? How would you facilitate those next steps?

Highlights from student responses included a residential system for heating water with compost and a re-imagined pathway system for the Chicago lakefront.

The Food Waste Design Challenge
What can be done within your local community to tackle the problem of food waste? What specific innovations do you think would need to be researched and explored?

  1. Observe and document 2 instances of the problem within your immediate local area.
  2. Prototype (sketches, photos, wireframes, etc.) an idea that would be a viable solution to one part of that problem.
  3. Put together a plan to test this product or idea. Who and what would be involved? How would you facilitate those next steps?

Highlights from student responses included an on-demand service for picking up and recycling food waste from restaurants and hotels, as well as a smart refrigerator that alerted users when food was going to expire.