Student designers in our Tiger Challenge program recently visited New York City, where they had the chance to take in some of the iconic architecture and public art installations and discuss how accessible art has shaped the city and its residents. 

The cohort also visited several social impact organizations and interviewed their administrators to learn about their operations, the challenges they face, and the successes they achieve when creating impact in their communities.

The group continued northward to Boston, where they visited MIT, MASS Design Group, and the Institute for Human-Centered Design. In this design-rich area, they were able to talk with program facilitators and see projects making real-world impact, from bicycle-powered washing machines to portable sterile surgery sets. They also got to discuss the innovation approaches each of these organizations teach and use when building solutions. 

“One of the biggest takeaways for my students on this trip was to see the concepts we are learning put into action out in the world,” said design program manager and lecturer, Jessica Leung. Leung planned the trip within the first few weeks of the program to show students how using the skillsets she teaches them can lead to real societal impact. She emphasizes the importance of asking the right questions and engaging your users directly. “Problem framing,” Leung stated, “is the most complex and vital part of designing any solution. We need to engage those affected by the problem, those we are designing the solution for, because they are the true experts.”

Tiger Challenge is a Keller Center program that uses design thinking methodologies to help students address complex societal issues and build sustainable solutions.