Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Design Challenge?

A design challenge is a project where students cycle through an entire design thinking process to tackle an meaningful problem. A design challenge prompts participants to solve a problem using the process and mindsets of design thinking, rather than traditional business thinking. In this challenge, students also compete across teams to design exciting solutions that reflect real human needs and demonstrate business viability.

Why is the University of Denver organizing this Challenge?

DU believes that this design challenge is an opportunity to:

Unleash Ideas. We will ask students to tackle a substantive and meaningful problem over the course of four weeks.  The design challenge will unleash questions and ideas to help us develop meaningful products, services, and experiences for society.

Cultivate Leaders. We need to equip young leaders to enter the workforce equipped to creatively solve ambiguous, messy challenges. This design challenge offers students a rich learning experience in which to develop their creative problem-solving skills, experiment with innovation frameworks, and learn from leaders in innovation.

Build Community. Colorado is as a hub of innovation, cross-discipline collaboration, and creative talent has the potential to influence our industry.  The design challenge will bring together top student and professional talent from across the state to build relationships and learn from one another.

Why is there a February 4 design thinking bootcamp AND the March case competition?

We’re hosting the February 4 design thinking bootcamp to not only kickoff the challenge and bring together teams for an exciting day, but also to provide design thinking training that will be key to teams’ success over the course of the challenge.  Participants will learn the design thinking process and mindsets that they will be expected to use for the next four weeks while investigating and prototyping solutions. The March case competition is an opportunity to showcase insights and ideas in front of a large audience.

Do you have to be an active and and enrolled student in one of the participating universities to participate?

Yes. This is a student competition and each participant has to be enrolled and active in one of the participating universities. If you have any questions or feel that there is a special circumstance, please contact us.

Should students apply in teams?

Yes, students need to apply in 3–6 team members. Both undergraduate and graduates should apply. We encourage teams to have a diverse background of skill sets but they can also just be a group of people that want to work together.

Do students have to apply with an idea?

NO!   Students apply in teams to PARTICIPATE in the challenge – your ideas and actual solution designs will come after several weeks of working with your team, digging deep into the problem, and prototyping different solutions.

What is the general timeline?

Applications are due January 22, 2017. Accepted teams must attend the design thinking bootcamp on February 4th, 2017. Here, the sponsor organization will reveal the specific challenge.  Students will then have four weeks to do user research, build a prototype, and test with users before presenting their final solution at the March case competition.

Should students get credit?

This decision is up to the school.

Without giving away exactly what the challenge is, what is the challenge?

Students will be asked to reimagine the future of the financial services industry and how expertise is shared and disseminated. Specific prompts from the sponsor organization will be given at the bootcamp that will spur thinking and give contestants more direction.

How will the judging work?

There will be a semi–final and final round of judging.  Students will be evaluated on a) user empathy and insights, b) strategy and business model, c) the design concept, and d) presentation.  

Additional judging criteria will be shared at the bootcamp. Judges will be leaders from the sponsor organization, community, universities and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

If I don't have a team, can I still participate?

Yes, you can! Even though you have to apply as a team, your school has a designated disCOver Challenge ambassador that will help you find a team. Please contact them directly. Their information is listed in the contact page of this website.

Will participants have access to sponsor officials while crafting their solution?

No, participants will not have access to sponsor officials. We want participants to think outside of organizational norms and influence to create a truly innovative solution.

More Questions?

Please contact if you have any other questions!