2023 student service design challenge - take wellbeing seriously and create a happier society

2023 student service design challenge - take wellbeing seriously and create a happier society

2023 student service design challenge - take wellbeing seriously and create a happier society

Powered by Philips Experience Design


About this challenge

The Student Service Design Challenge is a global design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of designers. It's open to current students, and is initiated by Philips Experience Design, as part of its mission to involve young designers in finding people-centered and future-oriented services for people and the planet.

With this challenge, younger generations – over 50% of the people in the world are younger than 27 – take part in designing better products and services. That is why we invite design students to explore non-inclusive business models and outdated design processes, and think about what they would do to improve them.

Their unbiased, playful and uninhibited approach may lead to new, disruptive ideas, increasing the chance to deliver on the promise of value-based services: providing the right service to the people who need it, at the right time, in a convenient, affordable, easy and accessible way, and – if possible – at the lowest cost. We encourage the next generation of designers to use their creative power to shape corporate behavior and pressure them to take a more globally conscious set of values seriously. By taking an inclusive approach to service design, we can develop exciting new service experiences that contribute value to people, the planet, and the public.


Why participate?

  • Work on design with impact
  • Dive into a real-life user case
  • Use your curiosity and empathy for real people
  • Work in a multidisciplinary team
  • Learn new design methodologies and skills
  • Get supervised and coached by professionals and experts in the field
  • Get the chance to win monetary prizes and a design incubation prize
  • Have your work presented in an international exhibition


Key dates


Round 1 - Research proposal 
November 15, 2022 - January 20, 2023

Each team will receive the design brief at the same day and time: Monday November 15, 2022. You will have until Friday January 20, 2023 to submit your research proposal. For that we encourage you to do field research, look around in your city, talk with people, and select the challenge you would like to tackle.


Round 2 - Discover phase 
February 10 - March 10, 2023

During this phase you will reassess your research proposal and challenge it in a fresh, profound way and in the light of your local context. In this round you are encouraged to conduct in-depth fieldwork in your own city: going where people live and receive care to empathise and learn.


Round 3 - Define phase 
March 13 - March 31, 2023

During this phase you will unpack and synthesise your empathy findings into compelling needs and insights. You will make sense of all the possibilities identified in the previous round and decide which matters most. You will explicitly state the problem in relation to its local context and ecosystem.


Round 4 - Develop phase 
April 3 - May 26, 2023

In this phase the idea generation process takes place. This phase marks a period of development where service solutions are conceived. This process of trial-and-error helps you to improve and refine your ideas into a concrete concept. Remember, ideation is all about collaboration and iteration. This round ends with your final concept submission, a full-fledged (product-) service solution that complies with all of the 6 criteria.


Round 5 - Jury voting & Dragons’ Den 
May 26 - June 9, 2023

In this round all submissions will go through to a first round of judging where they will be carefully reviewed and discussed. There will be a selection of nominees (‘Shortlist’) from which the winners will be selected. On June 9, the shortlisted teams will be invited to present their concept at a special Dragons’ Den Event to a panel of esteemed judges.


Winner announcement
June 16, 2023

The winners will be officially announced.



The student service design challenge is a chance for design students to practice a design process based on a real-life case, use their joint creativity, and get rewarded for that. As well as winning a prize, they can generate media exposure to kick-start their career, earn the esteem of their peers – and gain confidence in making the next steps towards becoming a design professional.


GOLD winners:
Design Incubator Prize (incl. EUR 3,000) + EUR 1,500 for the University


SILVER winners:
Monetary prize of EUR 2,000
+ EUR 1,000 for the University


BRONZE winners:
Monetary prize of EUR 1,000
+ EUR 500 for the University

Gold winners will earn a Design Incubator Prize, a 10-week service design support program to receive guidance from the Dragons and other experts who can help the winning team further prototype and optimise their concept along the route to success.

This challenge ends with a unique, international exhibition at the Dutch Design Week 2023. The winning concepts will also appear on various publications, will get press attendance, and attendance at other design events, such as the Barcelona Design Week.


The brief

Some background information
Wellbeing is fundamental to our health and overall happiness. Research shows that a greater sense of wellbeing relates to increased physical benefits, such as lower risk of heart disease, stroke and sleep problems, and also to increased productivity and creativity in both our professional and personal lives. In other words, positive wellbeing helps us to be the best version of ourselves.

Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It’s a complex combination of a person's physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is not only strongly linked to happiness but also to life satisfaction.

Every aspect of our lives influences our wellbeing and they are all interrelated. For example, besides money, a job provides purpose, goals, friendships and a sense of fulfilment and belonging. Some factors also make up for the lack of others. For example, a good marriage can compensate for a lack of friendships, while religious beliefs may help a person come to terms with physical illness.

Service design is a people-centred approach to making sense of present issues and their context and developing solutions to improve them. Why not engage the next generation of designers in envisioning and creating such services? The 2023 Student Service Design Challenge calls student teams worldwide to design a service that enhances personal wellbeing and resilience as well as contributes positively to a collective happiness: among people, in our workplaces, schools, communities, cities, and even the planet. Improving wellbeing isn't easy, but it is well worth the effort to ensure better lives for present and future generations.


What are we looking for?

The challenge aims to push the boundaries of service design by encouraging a transdisciplinary approach to solving a prevalent global issue in a local context. We’re looking for ideas that will work now and in the future. Human-centred solutions that can start small and locally, but can be scaled up as well. Improving and enhancing people’s experiences.

A successful solution must work for individual users as well as larger groups and communities, and be ready to scale and be adjusted for others as well. Your submission will be evaluated according to the following criteria, that you can also find in the official rules of this challenge.


People centric

Your idea is based on real people’s contexts, their needs and habits. The solution you design works for real people, and has a positive influence on their behaviour.

Experience based

Your idea provides an impactful, rewarding and lasting user experience, both physical and online, by offering an engaging solution that creates an emotional and sensory connection with the users.

Society oriented

Your idea sees into the inclusive conception of design in which overlooked users, groups or communities, are taken into account to create positive change in society.

Technology enabled

Your idea is future-ready for the everchanging digital landscape, takes into account the responsible, secure and unbiased use of data, and uses technology wisely and for the good.

Circular and sustainable

Your idea aims to tackle a global challenge like climate change, access to care, gender equality, waste or pollution. It is regenerative for our world, and supports sustainable and planet-positive innovation by conscious consumption thinking, and favouring ethical behaviour as well as empowering users.

Business viable

Your idea is based on a service-centred business model, able to launch as a viable service business and value proposition, as well as adjustable or scalable.


Coaching and judging

Each design team will have two-weekly (online) coaching sessions with the challenge coach. The challenge coach will support all the teams individually during the discovery phase (round 2), define phase (round 3) and development phase (round 4) of the challenge. Each team will also be guided by a team coach, an IBM design strategist and practitioner. The coaches will guide the teams on a regular basis, including a main ‘assessment session’ at the end of rounds 1, 2 and 3. The team coaches will give each team feedback and provide help on specific areas. This guidance might take place physically or online, depending on the location of the design team. All coaches are experts in their fields.

At the end of round 4, each design team will submit their concept. All submissions will go through to a first round of judging by the challenge jury. The jury will carefully review, discuss and validate each submission based on the challenge criteria. There will be a selection of nominees (‘Shortlist’) who will be able to pitch their concepts to a panel of esteemed judges at a Dragons’ Den event. The challenge jury is composed of renowned design experts from various fields – related to human-centered (service) design, circular design, and design-led innovation.

Meet the coaches and the members of the jury

Dragons' Den
In the last round of the competition, the shortlisted teams will have the opportunity to pitch their concept and show its business potential to the challenge jury. This online event takes place on June 9 and is a unique opportunity for the teams to practice their skills and convince the Dragons to select them as the winners of the fourth edition of the Student Service Design Challenge. The teams will be trained and coached in preparation for their pitch.


Enter competition 2023

This year's registration is closed. SSDC2023 is in full progress.

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and co-organized with SERVICE DESIGN COLLEGE.

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Until when can teams register?
Teams can register until January 13, 2023. They will have until Friday January 20, 2023 (11:59:59 PM CET) to submit their research proposal(s). We expect that the preparation for a proposal will take at least a few weeks.
Can I enter the challenge alone?
You cannot participate as an individual student. You need to be part of a team of 4 to 7 members.
Is there any limitation on the number of members in a team?
Yes. The team needs to have at the least 4 team members and no more than 7 team members. All team members have to be students.
I am not a Service Design student. Can I enter the challenge?
Yes, you can. You need to be part of a multidisciplinary team, preferably with at least one design student.
Is there an age limit for entering the challenge?
No, there are no age restrictions, as long as you meet the criteria about student status.
Can a team submit more than one research proposal?
Yes a team can submit more than one research proposal, but you should submit each proposal separately.
What happens to our ideas, materials, etc.?
As a participant in the challenge you will retain intellectual property ownership of all your challenge submission ideas. There is no transfer of intellectual property rights to any third party as a condition of participating in the challenge. Please read our Official rules before submitting.