Design Jams are facilitated, iterative, interactive experiences that walk students and stakeholders through a design process aimed at generating new ways of thinking and creative ideas around a real-world challenge posed by stakeholders.

We live in a complex world. Our greatest challenges require multiple perspectives and expertise to begin to move the needle toward a positive impact. A group of colleagues from across the University (Law, Information, and Engineering) have teamed up to bring stakeholders and students together in a fast-paced half-day event to inspire the next generation of socially conscious and passionate students to be a part of making the world more equitable.

“A client comes in with a purpose and a problem and exits with fresh perspective, new energy, and an appreciation for Michigan students and curriculum.”


Upcoming Design Jams

Additional Design Jam topics + dates are considered on a rolling basis. Please reach out to suggest collaboration on a topic!

Previous Design Jams


How might we design a way to increase beachgoers’ awareness and understanding of the dangers of the Great Lakes while encouraging the safe enjoyment of their beaches and shoreline.


Drowning Prevention in the Great Lakes


How might we take the best components of banks, credit union, payday lenders, lending circles, etc. to create a universally easy and affordable short-term loan product?


MassMutual Foundation

“The event created a free flow of dialogue in a high energy brainstorming session provided us with validation of our new processes from an outside perspective and helped rejuvenate and affirmation certain positions and creative ideas to consider.”

Organization Testimonial

For Students

Design Jams give students the opportunity to interact with organizations that are working on complex issues for positive global impact. This fun, fast-paced experience provides a unique way to learn and practice design skills while developing a professional portfolio. They can also seed a future project that’s part of a larger innovation/design challenge opportunity, like Innovation in Action. Design Jam students come from across multiple disciplines at the University of Michigan.

  • Opportunity to interact with organizations working on complex issues.
  • Opportunity to learn and practice design skills (interviewing, prototyping, and presenting).
  • Get excited about how their discipline can contribute to an organization’s goals and vision to positively impact the world
  • Use design jams to help develop a portfolio
  • Fun, fast-paced way to explore areas they are passionate about
  • Seed a future project that is part of a larger innovation/design challenge opportunities at the University like Innovation in Action).

For Organizations

Design Jam partners (or stakeholders) bring their voice and perspective at each stage of the design process. Over the course of the experience, they play a key role in the student’s learning experience and are constantly part of the action as students learn and practice design skills. This takes on multiple forms throughout the experience:

  • Be a panel discussant or presenter to launch the event
  • Provide your perspective as an expert interviewee by student teams
  • Provide feedback on ideas and directions
  • Judge the final winner

Bring us a Design Jam Challenge

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