Steps to guide you

When working on challenges or assignments as part of a team, you will almost always follow a Design Process to reach your solution/outcome. The Design Process is made up of a series of steps, each one of them important milestones in the journey from IDEA to SOLUTION.


Let’s look at these steps in more detail. Consider these questions as you move through each step of the design process.


  • At this stage, all ideas are welcome and criticism is not allowed. How creative can you be?
  • What specific goal are you trying to achieve and how will you know if you’ve been successful?
  • What are some ways you can start tackling the challenge?


  • Talk through the brainstormed ideas. What’s really possible given your time, tools and materials?
  • What can you learn by looking at other students’ projects?

Building, testing, evaluating and revising

  • Does your design meet the criteria for success?
  • What is the hardest problem to solve as you build your project?
  • Why do you have to do something a few times before it works the way you want?

Sharing Solutions

  • What do you think is the best feature of your design? Why?
  • What are some things everyone’s designs have in common?
  • What would you do differently if you had more time?
  • What were the different steps you had to do to get your project to work the way you wanted?

For further resources, go to Useful Tools.


my-role-is group-roles

Identifying roles for each challenge team member will organise everyone’s responsibilities around the project. Be sure every team member has at least one role! You could pair up with someone to share the role.


Challenge Manager


You make sure all team members stay on task and meet deadlines! You are also responsible for communicating with your teacher(s) and/or other teams, as needed. As the manager, you should keep your peers focused and on schedule, make sure your design attempts to solve your selected problem, is action oriented, and involves positive collaboration, feedback, and reflection with other teams.

Official Researcher


Your role is to lead background research on the selected problem, which includes finding similar projects for inspiration and comparison. Make sure the design is accurate, relevant to your chosen topic, and has the information necessary to make it successful. This doesn’t mean you conduct all the research for the team. You can also assign research roles to other team members.

Example: In a project to reduce a community’s trash output, the official researcher might investigate how much trash the community currently produces, where the trash goes, what current recycling options exist in the area, etc.

Building and Testing Leader

Clipart Illustration of Two White Characters Holding Blue Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces And Fitting Them Together

In this role you coordinate the creation of content of the project. This doesn’t mean you have to create all of the content yourself; similar to the Official Researcher, other team members will be assigned roles in the creation process. Additionally, you will need to take a lead role in negotiating final design decisions ensuring the team chooses a design that best addresses the environmental health issue.


Logistics and Documentation Coordinator


In this role, you visually document the challenge – in its creation and/or completion. You will make sure it can be easily shared in OneNote and face to face audiences to inspire others to take similar action. Additionally, you make sure that the team has all necessary supplies and materials needed for the challenge and your final presentation at USC.



What we need to know



Self assessment for teams


At different points throughout the challenge, your team should seek feedback from others – teacher(s) and/or peers.

Use this feedback guide to help you in giving and receiving feedback. Revision should take place each time your team receives feedback, adjusting and updating your ideas and design as needed.

Team Feedback Guide


stickman problem idea solution red

Next, design an innovative solution to your problem – a solution that adds value to society by improving something that already exists, using something that exists in a new way, or inventing something totally new.

As a Team – think about:

What could be done better? What could be done in a new way?

Could your solution make it more cool, fun, or easy to be responsible about ?

Think of your problem like a puzzle. Brainstorm! Try one idea (or more), but be prepared that your first idea may not work as you expect. Then turn the problem upside down and think about it in a completely different way. Imagine! Get silly! Even a “silly idea” might inspire the perfect solution.

Have you thought about how someone could make your solution a reality? The research you have done will help you answer questions like:

Why would your solution succeed when others have failed?

Do you need any special technology to make your solution?

Can anyone use your solution, or only some people?

Remember, your idea does not need to be completely new. Inventors often improve an idea that already exists or use something that exists in a new way.