About the Challenge

Impact real-world change

The competition differentiates itself from traditional case competitions through an emphasis on empathy and deep analysis.

In conventional case competitions, teams are assessed on their ability to quickly “crack” a case. The DT Challenge asks teams to dedicate more time and energy coming to understand the situation and those that will be impacted by their recommendations.

Problem Framing

The Challenge asks teams to pay more attention than they typically would during case analysis to how a problem is framed upfront. From your upfront research, you will come to a reframing of the challenge, which you will articulate using a “How might …” question.


In conventional case competitions, teams have one shot at coming to a solution, which they present to the judges. The Challenge asks teams to build prototypes of their solutions, respond to formative feedback on their prototypes, and iterate their proposed solutions.


In conventional case competitions, teams remain separate through the problem-solving process and the relationship between them is one of competition. In the Challenge teams still compete, but collaboration is required as well.  In fact, teams are judged, in part, on the degree they contribute to all participants’ understanding of the challenge.


In conventional case competitions, teams respond to a challenge that has been experienced by an individual organization. In the Challenge, students work with community leaders to address a challenge of broader societal concern.

Check out these recommended resources for further insight into the design thinking process.