Innovation in Action’s Most Popular 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, from sustainability to social justice, and hear in their own words how they chose their challenge.
Check out this year’s Innovation in Action teams and their challenges of choice!
- 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. Brightfruit aims to create an engaging and fruitful educational experience through which students develop mastery of important skills that will prepare them for the future, such as problem discovery, solution development, and business model generation. Their education model will challenge students to lead their own projects, work effectively in an unstructured environment, and learn to iterate from their own successes and failures. They believe that entrepreneurship is a vehicle that allows students to engage with and solve any problem that they find meaningful, and they aim to provide the necessary tools to support students in their creative pursuits. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process.
- First8 (health/wellness education) – 2020
- First8 is a medical and educational intervention program geared toward the promotion of positive child health outcomes. They tackle health disparities primarily in the metro Detroit area, with a focus on asthma related health concerns and improving medical literacy through multilingual intervention workshops. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process.
- ReproActive (health/wellness education) – 2020 Second Place Winner
- 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 Third Place Winner
- 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. GI aims to do so via cultivating an understanding of how to navigate the “hidden curriculum”, providing free & high quality restheyces for developing important adult life skills and building students’ social capital. They provide students from disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities with resources for post-graduate social-emotional wellbeing and professional success across numerous fields. 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. The TEW Scorecard aims to track student social-emotional support and skills by school district and lead to resource provision so that all young people can gain these vital skills for their future. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.
- Visionary Central – 2021 Audience Choice Award Winner
- 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.
Bulki – 2020
- Families living in low-income communities experienced multiple challenges when buying their monthly groceries such as lack of transportation options to supermarkets and lack of liquidity to satisfy the family needs for the entire month. Bulki is the first community e-commerce platform for groceries and household products. Bulki enables people from the same area to buy products together and get them delivered to a location near their residences. Their operational model allows us to offer cheaper prices than the majority of supermarkets and charge small delivery fees with the power of technology and sharing economy. 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. They have built 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 (social identity/justice) – 2021
- FooDEI researched and interviewed stakeholders about the challenges surrounding food justice and anti-racism within the local food system. After learning from local experts, they modeled what the future of Ann Arbor’s food system would look like in an anti-racist world through a student’s eyes via AR. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.
Detroit Contractor Connection – 2020 Third Place Winner, Poverty Solutions Best Innovation in Economic Mobility Winner
- Detroit Contractor Connection focuses on connecting local contractors in Detroit with restheyces and 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
- Their team is addressing the disparity in access to restheyces bettheyen those living in Ann Arbor and those living in rural townships of Washtenaw County. With the Restheyce Ride, they plan to provide a creative, mobile solution that will bring what people need directly to their communities. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.
LifeLink – 2021 Poverty Solutions Best Innovation in Economic Mobility Winner
- At LifeLink, they believe aging should be accessible and affordable for all. They make getting older easier, empowering you to live life: locked and loaded. Instead of slipping and falling into assisted living, their company helps low income families take their first steps to senior living. Their “LifeLink Library” features multi sector, human centered design that revolutionizes residential housing towards a more just future. LifeLink. Life: Locked. Loaded. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.
Carbon Footprint Offsets Market -2020
- Their team is focused 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. The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world and has detrimental consequences, especially for under-resourced communities, internationally. They plan to pursue a dual closed-loop system that is inclusive of recycling and downcycling initiatives to reduce old clothes from being sent to landfills and reduce the negative impact of exported cheap textiles. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.
Aquaducks – 2021
- The Huron River is the center of sprawling urban areas and feeds into Lake Erie; with increased human impact on the river, both human and aquatic biota are negatively affected. Their solution targets the outflow of the Ann Arbor wastewater treatment plant, as it struggles to handle increased water from large storms. They aim to reduce 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. Our platform engages individuals in an interactive flowchart that easily guides them through the process of installing solar panels on their homes as well as simplifying contracts into general terms, providing credible information regarding energy efficiency and energy states versus providers. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.
Heard – 2020 First Place Winner
- For people with chronic illnesses, flare ups of symptoms can be particularly stressful. Strong emotional support is crucial during times of flare but support options are often not readily available or ideal. Our platform connects people with chronic illnesses on a peer to peer basis to receive and provide support during flares. Heard provides a listening ear for those who need it most. 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.
Designing Access – 2021 “Envisioning an Anti-Racist World” Challenge Prize Winner
- The Designing Access team recognizes that truly inclusive spaces lead to better outcomes – no matter what you’re measuring. To help achieve those outcomes, they created Designing Access: an online toolkit that helps people in the public, private, and non-profit sectors intentionally create inclusive and accessible events. Watch their Final Presentation to hear more about their design process.
EquiHome – 2021 First Place Winner
- 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 Second Place Winner, “Envisioning an Anti-Racist World” Challenge Prize Winner
- 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 “Envisioning an Anti-Racist World” Challenge Prize Winner
- Shift is a personalized platform dedicated to helping individuals become more anti-racist one day at a time. Their goal is to encourage and support them in their shift to a commitment to lifelong learning and a growth mindset. Through their humanized, user-centric design, they aim to improve trust, transparency, accountability, and culture in communities. Watch their Final Presentation to learn more about their design process.