Design Challenge

A method to define and frame a complex design problem, align team views, and generate initial solutions.


A Design Challenge is a structured problem-solving activity that prompts teams to develop innovative solutions within a set timeframe and constraints. Often used in design thinking workshops, it encourages creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. By focusing on a specific problem and engaging in hands-on exploration, participants can generate fresh ideas and prototypes. Design Challenges are valuable in education, product development, and organizational innovation, fostering a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement.

Suitable for

  • clarifying the design challenge;
  • proper grasping of a tricky problem;
  • alignment of views on the problem across the whole team.


Challenge Brief

A document outlining the design challenge, with details on the problem, context, target users, goals, and constraints.

Participant Profiles

A summary of the target users or stakeholders, including demographics, behaviors, and preferences relevant to the design challenge.

Research Insights

Key findings from user research, competitive analysis, and other study methods that inform the design challenge and potential solutions.

Idea Generation

A collection of brainstormed ideas, concepts, sketches, and notes addressing the design challenge.

Concept Selection

A process for evaluating the generated ideas, determining which concepts meet the design challenge criteria and are worth pursuing further.


Low-fidelity or high-fidelity representations of selected concepts, allowing for exploration, testing, and refining of possible solutions.

Usability Testing Plan

A plan including objectives, test scenarios, evaluation metrics, testing methods, and participants for assessing the effectiveness of the prototypes.

Usability Test Results

Recorded observations, feedback, and findings from the usability testing, identifying areas for improvement and iteration.

Iteration & Refinement

A revised version of the prototypes or concepts based on usability test results and feedback from stakeholders.

Final Design Solution

A detailed representation of the chosen design solution, including mockups, specifications, and guidelines for implementation.

Project Summary & Report

A comprehensive document detailing the design challenge, research activities, concept evaluation, iterations, and final solution, providing insights for future projects and evaluations.



Define the Design Challenge

Begin by identifying the design problem or area of improvement that you want the design team to focus on. This problem statement should be specific enough to guide the team, but broad enough to allow for creative exploration.


Assemble the Team

Bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, including designers, developers, product managers, or end-users, who can contribute to the design challenge. A diverse team helps surface a wide range of ideas, experiences, and perspectives.


Set Goals and Constraints

As a group, define the objectives and limitations of the design challenge. These may include time constraints, budgetary restrictions, technical constraints or any other factors that could impact the design process.


Brainstorm Ideas

Encourage the team members to brainstorm and generate as many ideas as possible to address the design challenge. Emphasize that there are no bad ideas during this stage and encourage participation from all team members.


Narrow Down Ideas

After a set period of brainstorming, guide the team to evaluate and prioritize the ideas generated. Consider the goals, constraints, and the potential impact of each idea on the end-user experience. Narrow down the ideas to a manageable number for the next step.


Develop Concepts

With the top ideas selected, have the team develop detailed concepts for each idea. These concepts should include clear explanations, visualizations, and any other relevant details to help communicate the idea to others.


Prototype Solutions

Create prototypes of the top concepts, using techniques like paper prototyping, wireframing or any other method that suits the complexity of the design challenge. These prototypes should provide an interactive experience that helps convey the concept to others.


Test and Iterate

Test the prototypes with end-users, stakeholders or other relevant individuals. Gather feedback on usability, desirability, and feasibility of each solution. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary iterations to the designs.


Present the Final Design

Once the team has refined and tested the prototypes, present the final design solution to stakeholders and decision-makers. Provide a detailed overview of the design process, including the steps taken and lessons learned, to help support the final design choice.

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