Each year, Microsoft Research sponsors a semester-long class at leading design schools. Students are asked to form interdisciplinary teams of two to four students to design a user experience prototype that solves a real-world problem. From these groups, a representative team from each school presents its work to Microsoft.
2010 Design Challenge
Service meets social: Designing Services with Social Networking Technologies
What’s a service? Think everything from getting a coffee at Starbucks to being treated at your local hopsital, from government services to financial services.
Social is all about people building and connecting through communities and sharing information and influence.
This year’s challenge: what happens when service meets social?
Participating schools and projects
- Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, CA, US
- Project: Steps: an online resource and community for educators.
With lesson plan databases, member profiles, and a series of expandable integrative applications and devices, Steps brings networking to K-12 education and allows innovative ideas to be shared beyond the classroom.
- Carnegie Mellon University, School of Design, Pittsburgh, PA, US
- Project: GURU: a service that helps teenagers discover and grow creative interests and learn about the vast array of creative careers with the help of industry professionals.
GURU has two components—a website and a browser widget. The browser widget recommends careers and professions to teens, based on the content that they are viewing. On the website, teens can explore day-in-the-life stories and other content posted by professionals, ask questions of professionals, and share their interests with friends. GURU is based on an advertising model and is free to both teens and professionals.
- Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London, UK
- Project: Data Hungry Skin | Connections in Faraday
The team’s theme was around biotechnological services, entitled “Social Pica.” They were thinking about biotechnological alternatives to or extenders of forms of communication, offered as “social snacks.”
- New York University, New York City, NY, US
- Project: Farmbridge: An online platform that supports local food communities by making it easier for neighbors to form groups and gain access to locally farmed food.
Farmbridge offers management tools for community organizers as well as social software to allow neighbors to engage.
- Universidad Iberoamerica, Mexico City, Mexico
- Project: Kueponi: a system that creates and facilitates partnerships between universities and companies that provide teens with a chance to obtain competitive and technical skills in place of school.
Because government-run schools in México simply cannot scale to the country’s population growth, many are left without education. Teens who are not able to attend school need a chance to improve their knowledge and skills.
- University of Washington, Seattle, WA, US
- Project: Open Door
Open Door creates sustainable local communities through the exchange of goods and services by creating a platform that fulfills service needs, like Craigslist does, while facilitating social relationships, like Facebook does.
Interview with Design Expo 2010 student participants