Celebrating 10 Years of Innovation in Action Challenges

Innovation in Action (IiA) at the University of Michigan is a campus-wide program giving student groups the opportunity, the tools, the people, and the room to take on the world’s biggest challenges. It is no secret that our world is full of these challenges, in fact, participants often struggle to select just one issue to face, especially considering the impact of current events and personal experiences for IiA’s Innovators. Once grouped into teams consisting of all degree types and design interests, it is a wonder teams come to a consensus and choose a challenge to address at all. 

So after all that deliberation, what are the most popular problems that University of Michigan students choose to address? Check out our students’ most popular passion areas over the past 10 years, from sustainability to social justice, and hear in their own words how they chose their challenge. 

Blue Bridge to Classroom – 2020

Blue Bridge to Classroom is committed to creating an online platform that connects college students in the United States with grade-school students from restheyce-limited rural communities in China with the mission to provide quality education and facilitate cultural exchange. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

Brightfruit – 2020

Brightfruit helps middle and high schools establish and operate experiential, project-based entrepreneurship programs through a variety of services ranging from curriculum development to providing teacher training, consultation, and instruction support. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

First8  – 2020

First8 is a medical and educational intervention program geared toward the promotion of positive child health outcomes. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

ReproActive – 2020

ReproActive focuses on providing adolescents and young adults the tools to communicate about and advocate for their sexual and reproductive health. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Classbop – 2021

Classbop is a  platform to help teachers collect, manage, and learn from consistent feedback from their students. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

General Intelligences – 2021

General Intelligences is a peer-to-peer organization that aims to mitigate education inequity and help students 17-26 years old domestically and internationally from disadvantaged and marginalized backgrounds. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

TEW Scorecard – 2021

They are working on Transforming Emotional wellness among K-12 students by promoting social and emotional learning (SEL) in schools. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Visionary Central – 2021

Visionary aims to be a collaborative, co-working community space where young people in Accra, Ghana can develop their entrepreneurial ventures through access to practitioners, professionals, and business development toolkits to accelerate their visions. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Mind Matters – 2015

Mind Matters is a tool for teachers to be agents of change in the classroom via recognition, restructuring, and interdisciplinary connection to promote mental well-being.

Mindful – 2015

Mindful will give a fresh perspective and interdisciplinary approach to the innovation of manageability of symptoms present in mental illness through the use of technology.

Aether – 2016

Aether is a mobile application that helps people with great ideas to build a network of advisers, co-founders, and investors to support them in the process of developing their company.

ProNetwork – 2016

ProNetwork is a team committed to teaching high school students professional skills through a series of interactive modules and by teaching interpersonal and communicative skills in a social setting.

Through My Eyes – 2016

Through My Eyes aims to reduce racial diversity in the tech industry by utilizing virtual reality technology to change reality.  

Abaca Games – 2017

Abaca Games is a social impact game design start-up focused on creating video games that educate players about how to take action to mitigate climate change.

Biblio Care – 2017

Biblio Care works to increase collaboration between social work and library/info sciences to support the whole student experience in the library.

Books for a Benefit – 2107

Books for a Benefit is a student organization that works at providing accessibility to literacy resources for students who face barriers to education due to race and socioeconomic status.

Green Heights – 2017

Team Green Heights is looking to change the way plants are incorporated into the infrastructure of a city by bringing together science education, microbiology, urban farms, and green technology.

Indie Incubator – 2017

Indie Incubator supports the development of educational video games in an accelerator, focusing on providing access to publishers, marketing and business tools, and funding.

Knowledge Village – 2017

Knowledge Village is an online community of experiences available to students worldwide that will provide a platform for the greatest untapped resource: our collective experiences. 

Lync – 2017

LYNC is a web platform designed to connect tutoring organizations to tutors in the Detroit community so more students are able to get the literacy support they need.

Prometeo – 2017

Prometeo is a step-by-step interactive tool to explore purpose in life, develop will, and commitment to goals using myth images and practical exercises designed to help clarify goals and develop the will to transform ideas in reality. 

SPEDucation – 2017

Team SPEDucation aims to empower parents and students by creating an interactive reference application that will help them navigate the complex landscape of special education.

1Team – 2018

1Team is building an intelligent personal tutor that knows what the student knows, does not ever let them forget it, and teaches them new things they are capable of easily grasping.

Dough – 2018

Dough is a education text service linked to tools that assist students make more informed student loan decisions.

Fyltr – 2018

Fyltr is committed to improving information literacy in children through fun and engaging games to build the fundamental skills necessary to critically evaluate information.

Intend to Attend – 2018

Intend to Attend is exploring how we could use digital technologies to support rural high school students as they prepare for and apply to college.

Perch – 2018

Perch aims to reduce barriers to undergraduate researchdkk through an online platform that centralizes communication between research faculty and students, as well as a standardized system of training and certifying research skills.

Refugees to College – 2018

Refugees to College, supported by aid organizations such as Samaritas and Washtenaw Refugee Welcome, provides one-on-one support and college readiness workshops to refugees and their families. 

Detroit Space Academy – 2019

Detroit Space Academy is a curated box subscription experience that provides the tools that students need to learn more about the space industry while also learning applicable concepts that reinforce the curriculum that is being learned in the classroom.

Portal Spaces – 2019

Portal Spaces is a virtual reality meeting space using a heads up display that will show you all the information you need to execute effective, productive meetings from anywhere.

Right Step Forward – 2019

Right Step Forward’s goal is to make first-generation students and students from immigrant families better prepared for college. 

Stride – 2019

STRIDE is a self-paced, tablet based redesigned inclusive digital education. 

Swiftship – 2019

Swiftship is building a personalized and adaptive career planner for the millions of undecided undergraduate students, to explore and find the best fitting career options.

SynergicMap – 2019

SynergicMap replaces conventional lectures with a collaborative learning environment where students extract knowledge from multiple references and share the essence of what they learn with each other through generating questions and visualizing relations between them.

Bulki – 2020

Bulki is the first community e-commerce platform for groceries and household products enabling people from the same area to buy products together and get them delivered to a location near their residences. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Brassi – 2021

At Brassi, their mission is to make healthy living accessible and affordable by offering a 6-serving bulk bag of cauli oats where they boost your traditional oatmeal with a (hidden) veggie and balanced macronutrient profile. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

FooDEI – 2021

FooDEI researched and interviewed stakeholders about the challenges surrounding food justice and anti-racism within the local food system. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Fresh Fare – 2015 

Fresh Fare provides a membership for customers to utilize rideshare vehicles at a subsidized low price to and from grocery stores, with an incentive for grocery stores and rideshare companies to gain a larger customer base and sell grocery store gas to the rideshare drivers. 

Breadcrumbs – 2019

Breadcrumbs is a mobile app that reduces food waste by providing event coordinators with reliable headcount information that uses analytics to extrapolate based on data from past events.

Detroit Contractor Connection – 2020

Detroit Contractor Connection focuses on connecting local contractors in Detroit with opportunities to better address Detroit’s housing needs. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

Guarankey – 2020

Guarankey is a web based residential renting platform that provides a comprehensive marketplace and connects stakeholders to optimize rental experience with lower costs and faster results. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

City Slickers – 2021

City Slickers is addressing the disparity in access to those living in Ann Arbor and those living in rural townships of Washtenaw County. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

LifeLink – 2021

Lifelink helps low income families take their first steps to senior living using the “LifeLink Library”. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.

Carbon Footprint Offsets Market -2020

Carbon Footprint Offsets Market focuses on connecting local energy efficiency and renewables projects to companies interested in purchasing legitimate and verifiable carbon offsets that are highly visible and foster a sense of interdependency through the power of collective actions. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

SIFT – 2020

SIFT is an aggregator platform to change the way people shop to solve the multi-faceted issue of unsustainability within the fashion industry. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Aquaducks – 2021

Aquaducks targets the outflow of the Ann Arbor wastewater treatment plant, as it struggles to handle increased water from large storms, by reducing chlorine, phosphorous, and bacteria concentrations while educating the public on their role in keeping waterways clean. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.

Renew – 2021

Renew is an up and coming student organization focused on educating Michigan homeowners about the availability of renewable energy to them and advocating for greener laws and practices. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Heard – 2020

Heard provides a listening ear for people with chronic illnesses using a peer to peer basis to receive and provide support during flares. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

GastroKnowMi – 2021

GastroKnowMi is a digital health application that helps people make timely and informed digestive disease management decisions through self-experiment modules and personalized health learning. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Regeneration – 2021 

Regeneration is focused on increasing accessibility of vaccinations for community members in Washtenaw County by retrofitting AATA transit buses to be used as mobile vaccination units. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.

AthIEAT – 2014

AthlEAT is a nutrition management platform for athletes and their sports dietitians (RD).

Digital Shepard – 2014

Digital Shepherd is a sleep application for personalized sleep education, monitoring sleep habits and disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. 

Enliven – 2014

Enliven is an interactive mobile phone application that aims to promote health and wellness in young adult women between the ages of 18-35. 

Healthy Baskets – 2014

Healthy Baskets provides consumers with a fresh produce basket and for every basket purchased by a consumer, Healthy Baskets will provide an additional basket to an individual in need.

LiquidGoldConcept – 2014

The breast pump designed by LiquidGoldConcept will be convenient, user-friendly, efficient, and will increase the duration and prevalence of breastfeeding through a novel technology (patent pending).

My Waiting Room – 2014

My Waiting Room is a unique and revolutionary mobile application that provides a personalized waiting room experience for family and friends during a patient’s surgical procedure.

Play it Forward – 2014

Play it Forward is a mobile application that gives users the opportunity to do good for others while doing good for themselves. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

Qx – 2014

Qx is a product that enables an improved patient-clinician interaction by gathering a patient’s clinical history and questions for their clinician via text and email in the weeks leading up to a patient’s visit.

Rime – 2014

RIME hopes to work alongside local leaders to teach mothers on the importance of getting their newborn screened for both neonatal jaundice and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), as well as how to manage any post-diagnosis behavior. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

Change of Mind – 2015

For patients suffering mental disorders to manage, progress and overcome their symptoms.

FoodMood – 2015

FoodMood seeks educate people on healthy eating options in a simple and fun way.

Healthy and Delicious – 2015

Healthy and Delicious makes healthy choices accessible, appealing, and affordable!

ID It: Infectious Disease Surveillance, Modeling, and Communication – 2015

ID It is an app where medical professionals in hard-to-reach areas can find real-time data on local disease hotspots, use up-to-date mathematical models to predict disease spread, and contact appropriate health ministries and organizations to request resources. 

LivPoz – 2015

LivPoz is a tool for HIV patients to manage their medications and maintain a healthy, positive mindset.

MedMarket – 2015

MedMarket is a virtual marketplace that aims to connect medical equipment to communities in need.

Tal Como Tu – 2015

Tal Como Tu is a diabetes management and prevention in Hispanic populations through a culturally-conscious cooking and nutrition education-focused smartphone app.

Sugar-Free – 2015

Sugar-Free seeks to integrate an optical sensor into the Apple iWatch to non-invasively and continuously monitor blood sugar levels.

SnowFerret – 2015

SnowFerret optimizes the layout, allocation, and flow of care to accelerate care delivery.

A.C.E. Care Management – 2015

A.C.E. Care Management aims at developing pragmatic and easy-to-use tech solutions for reducing preventable hospitalizations in the elderly population.

Benbo – 2016

Benbo is a non-profit social enterprise that employs homeless individuals to create, cook, and sell affordable, healthy, and quick-to-go meals. 

Confertia – 2016

Redesigning the patient provider experience through personalized education.

Covered – 2016

Covered’s mission is to provide families of children with uncontrolled asthma access to allergen-proof mattress covers for their child’s sleeping space.

Ditto – 2016

Ditto is an app-based platform that seeks to be a comprehensive, integrated solution to combat the issue of loneliness associated with the demands of daily management of one or more chronic medical conditions. 

Embrace Your Face – 2016

Embrace Your Face is seeking to help manage chronic skin diseases.

Formativity – 2016

Formativity seeks to improve the frequency and quality of formative assessment in early learning environments, leveraging technology to (i) reduce the amount of direct supervision-time required to administer assessments, (ii) establish a tailored, engaging experience for learners, and (iii) provide informative and actionable feedback to educators and caregivers.

FreshFridge – 2016

Fresh Fridge is a tool to help people use their perishable food before it goes bad by helping to track what they’ve purchased, when it’s expiring, and the money they’ve wasted in the process.

Hatch – 2016

Hatch is a web-based learning platform designed to support ambitious instructional practice in the core content areas. 

HealthyKid – 2016

HealthyKid is a nutritional meal box with a supportive app targeted towards parents with kids ages 1-6 that provides the tools and resources to ensure that their children’s diets are well-balanced and well-proportioned.

Honey – 2016

Honey is a community-focused web platform where women can learn and shop for their contraceptive needs through crowd-sourced reviews and a sex-positive online community.

Lend a Hand – 2016

Lend a Hand aims to provide an “appreciation kit” for teachers to serve their unique mental and physical health needs, while strengthening the relationships between teachers and the individuals they serve.

MI Cares – 2016

MiCares envisions the Medicaid application process as one that is oriented toward customer service. 

Sweet Dreams – 2016

Sweet Dreams created an infant mattress that allows safe sleep while also providing opportunities for bonding and easy nighttime feeding providing mothers peace of mind, a good night’s rest, and sweet dreams.

Verbalyze – 2016

Verbalyze is a mobile application that allows college students to manage stress by putting their thoughts into words. 

Village – 2016

Village works to redesign child transportation coordination by connecting parents who have complementary needs and streamlining existing tools used to coordinate child transportation.

AllCare Zone – 2017

AllCare Zone is reinventing a community-based virtual platform to facilitate personalized care for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease living at home.

Amashuwi – 2017

Amashuwi is seeking solutions for maternal and child health problems in Sub-saharan Africa.

ArborThotics – 2017

ArborThotics works to create innovative and swift production of orthotic devices using 3-D printing.

Canopy – 2017

Canopy facilitates the conversations about the end of life that we aren’t having, but maybe should be.

Caravan – 2017

Caravan focuses on improving mobility for people with limited access to transportation, particularly those without phone data or credit.

CHEF – 2017

CHEF (Community, Health, Energy, and Food) aims to address barriers to healthy eating in the workplace by connecting small businesses to convenient, local, and healthy food options for lunch and snacks.

DiaBEATit – 2017

DiaBEATit is a tool crafted to help individuals to better self-manage their type II diabetes.

Evergreen Experience – 2017

The Evergreen Experience is a hands-on, agriculture-based dementia program connecting older adults to meaningful and stimulating activities. 


FoodFleet works to combat food waste by connecting caterers, restaurants, businesses, and organizations who have food left over from conferences, parties, or other events, to food pantries, community centers, and shelters in the area. 


Working to decrease information asymmetry so that providers, payers, and patients can make better decisions about their care, while improving the patient experience by increasing their engagement in the prescription process.

Innovation in Health Inequities – 2017

Engaging local adolescents in preventative care activities to improve health disparities among underserved youth in the Detroit-metro area..

Limitless – 2017

Team Limitless aims to create an information hub for transgender, gender-queer, and non-binary folks to 1) provide updated and reliable details regarding each transition step, 2) provide contact, expertise and reviews of transgender friendly doctors and service providers, 3) create individualized financial planning services to support transitions.

MedCar – 2017

MedCar is a logistics platform connecting non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) providers to patients suffering from chronic illnesses.

MYWILL – 2017

The app, MYWILL, will put people’s wellness into their own hands and make goals more interactive and thus more achievable. 

Prerna – 2017

Prerna helps first-time caregivers of folks with Alzheimer’s cope with these fears and anxieties, helping them provide better care to their loved ones.

Wellwith, PBC – 2017

Wellwith is the wellness rewards network built for local businesses, their customers, and the planet working to cut single-use waste in half, starting with coffee cups. 

Vitamin See – 2019

A platform that empowers stroke survivors to communicate normally over text messaging and email. Through communication Vitamin See creates space to address stroke survivors’ emotional and physical needs.

3 Peas – 2018

3 Peas is a mobile app that works as your virtual kitchen assistant, simplifying at-home cooking connecting you with registered dietitians to personalize nutrition based on your health and lifestyle needs. 

Busy Box – 2018

Busy box makes the tools for having safe sex convenient, affordable, and accessible to all. 

Clinico – 2018

Clinico is a web-based tool to help clinical research investigators design interventional clinical trials. 

DonUM – 2018

DonUM is a web based platform to increase organ donation registration rates at the University of Michigan, and eventually nationwide.

First Five Med – 2018

The First Five trains everyday people how to save a life in the first five minutes of a medical emergency while the ambulance is on the way.

Healthcare Progressors – 2018

Healthcare Progressors works to reduce health disparities that result from pharmacy deserts. 

hEARt – 2018

hEARt aims to improve mental health on campus by creating a mobile app centered around chat therapy..

Keystoria – 2018

Keystoria is improving how patients and health care professionals deal with electronic health care data..

HIRO – 2019

HIRO wants to empower the consumer by helping them understand and navigate their health insurance policy..

Out5mart – 2019

Out5mart aims to put the control of social situations into the hands of the customer using advanced technological and chemical properties to test for the alcohol percentage of a given drink and the presence of date-rape drugs. 

Malama – 2019

Malama is addressing the physical and social repercussions of breastfeeding with a smart bra. 

Practical Prosthetics – 2019

Practical Prosthetics integrates 3D printing in the prosthetic manufacturing process, developing functional prosthetics operated by an independent and intuitive control system. 

Send Word – 2019

Send Word is a simple communication solution for citizens in post-disaster areas.

Designing Access – 2021

The Designing Access team recognizes that truly inclusive spaces lead to better outcomes – no matter what you’re measuring. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process. 

EquiHome – 2021

EquiHome is a platform to promote collaborative team spirit at home, using efficient communication, a fair distribution of chores, and positive reinforcement. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Plucky Comics – 2021 

Plucky Comics is a creative EdTech company dedicated to creating sequential art that honors and depicts the Black Queer experience. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Shift – 2021

Shift is a personalized platform dedicated to helping individuals become more anti-racist one day at a time. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process. 

Consumer-Owned Health Insurance Entities at the Base of the Pyramid – 2014

Consumer-Owned Health Insurance Entities at the Base of the Economic Pyramid aims to improve public health by making regular, preventive care relatively more affordable by reducing the risk of catastrophic health care expenditure shocks, through easily-scalable consumer-owned and driven health insurance entities. 

YES: Youth Empowerment Solutions – 2014

YES (Youth Empowerment Solutions) addresses youth violence within urban communities by involving community youth in a curriculum-based program. 

BlueSky – 2015

BlueSky aims to provide a supportive space for people who face significant language and cultural barriers in accessing mental health resources.

Printed Human – 2015

Printed Human uses print media and aesthetics to cultivate communities around public health problems stemming from socioeconomic inequality and social stigmas.

Native H.O.M.E. – 2015

Native H.O.M.E is  a culturally-tailored diabetes community group created for Native Americans who are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus than non-Hispanic white adults. 

Civix – 2019

Civix is a digital civic engagement platform to unite and empower everyone to create change through meaningful and structured conversation, and breaks down the walls between government and the people by removing bureaucracy from communication.

The People Project – 2019

Change the narrative surrounding homelessness towards a more inclusive, hands on approach where everyone contributes to the solution.

The Returning Citizens Project -2019

The Returning Citizens Project seeks to reduce recidivism by giving a returning citizen key items and resources at the time of their release from incarceration.

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