Announcing: 2013 Social Innovation Contest!

The Delaware Design Institute Social Innovation Contest

Be creative.        Make a difference.        Win $$$

“Social innovation is “a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals”

-Phills, J. A., Deiglmeier, K., & Miller, D. T. (2008). Rediscovering social innovation. Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Design a Social Innovation

Design a “product”/solution that effectively addresses a specific social problem! Your solution must be:

  1. Unique
  2. Solve the problem (achieve the goal/s)
  3. Sustainable—economic, social, environmental
  4. Integrative—striving for feasibility, viability, desirability
  5. Make a positive difference for people (that is the social part!)

The contest rules:

  • Multidisciplinary teams– minimum 3, maximum 6- must formally represent (employed, declared major, etc.) at least 3 disciplines
  • Identified, focused “problem” within a broader “wicked” problem
  • One “free” consulting session with a design judge:-)

With additional bonus points for:

  1. A real world client
  2. A detailed implementation plan and budget
  3. Some actual activities toward implementation

Teams are encouraged to utilize the many valuable facets of design thinking and design processes, including:

  1. Gathering user-centered data and perspectives
  2. Collaboration (and perhaps co-design)
  3. Iteration (i.e. prototyping, piloting, etc.)
  4. Clearly incorporating divergent and convergent thinking—through all phases
  5. Utilizing multi- and/or cross-disciplinary perspectives

Contest begins TODAY! Final products and presentations due Wednesday, May 15, 2013 (Reading Day)

Register your team today by emailing Tony Middlebrooks at
Please include full names and affiliations of all team members.


Theme for 2012/2013: Social Innovation

The DDI Steering Committee announced today that the theme for the 2012/2013 program year is “Social Innovation,” which can be defined as the development and implementation of new ideas to meet social needs. DDI will sponsor a student design competition and invited lectures around this topic later in the semester. Stay tuned!

Design Minor in the works.

The DDI Steering Committee, led by Dr. Tony Middlebrooks, is currently working on proposal for a Minor in Design. Undergraduates will be able to take a wide array of project-based courses in art, engineering, ag sciences, and business that will count towards the minor. We’re hoping to launch this new minor by Fall 2013, so stay tuned!