2022 student service design challenge - design a service that disrupts the current ownership economy

2022 student service design challenge - design a service that disrupts the current ownership economy

2022 student service design challenge - design a service that disrupts the current ownership economy

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 That is why we invite design students to explore non-inclusive business models and outdated design processes, and think about what they would do to improve them.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 a monetary prize or a 10-week design-in-residence
  • Have your work presented in an international exhibition


Key dates


Round 1 - Research proposal 
November 15, 2021 - January 21, 2022

Each team will receive the design brief at the same day and time: Monday November 15, 2021. You will have until Friday January 21, 2022 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 11 - March 11, 2022

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 14 - April 1, 2022

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 4 - May 20, 2022

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 23 - June 10, 2022

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 ten nominees (‘Shortlist’) from which the winners will be selected. On June 3, the shortlisted teams will be invited to present their concept at a special Dragons’ Den Event.


Winners announcement
June 10, 2022

The winners will be officially announced at the Barcelona Design Week 2022.



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:
+ EUR 3,000 for the University


SILVER winners:
monetary prize of EUR 2,500
+ EUR 2,000 for the University


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

Gold winners will earn a 10-week design-in-residence position at Philips Experience Design and will be able to further prototype and optimise their concept. They will be mentored and supported by a Philips expert team.

This challenge ends with a unique, international exhibition at the Dutch Design Week 2022. 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

The design brief can be downloaded here (pdf document). An additional toolbox with design theories and methodologies can be downloaded here (zip file).

Some background information
For many decades our economy has been focused on growth - profit, scale, power, ownership, etc. ‘More’ seemed to be the adage. And it still might be a current driver for many. In a culture of consumption, social status, values and activities are centred on the consumption of goods and services. It encourages the acquisition of ‘stuff’ in ever-increasing amounts. But the depth and severity of the COVID pandemic come into focus when we realise humanity is not dealing with just one, but several mega-crises simultaneously. To meet these crises, we need to reimagine and (re)design more sustainable business models.

It’s time to make a cultural shift to a more collaborative economy – towards a culture where ownership isn’t the highest priority anymore. Owning a car or a house should be less valuable than having access to and enjoying its use. On top of that, not owning something, or sharing something with a larger group makes you feel as part of a like-minded group of peers. Communities are becoming valuable drivers of change. According to John Thackara, writer of ‘In the Bubble: Designing for a Complex World’, we should design relationships for a healthier world: "Value arises from relationships, not from things”.

Service design is a people-centred approach to making sense of the current status quo and coming up with solutions to improve it. There is significant potential for adding value by involving end-users in this process. Engaging, rewarding, and experience-rich services are needed to improve product lifetime, preserving their value as high as possible for as long as possible.

Earth's sources are drying out, and its population keeps growing, so new kinds of services are needed that can offer a solution. Why not start with the new generation of designers to envision and develop such services? The 2022 Student Service Design Challenge calls student teams worldwide to design service solutions built on a collaborative and sharing model that positively contribute to the planet, its people and its resources.


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 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 (virtual) 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 virtually or physically, 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 six nominees (‘Shortlist’) from which the winners will be selected. The challenge jury is composed of renowned design experts from various fields – related to human-centered (service) design, circular design, and design-led innovation.

Dragons' Den
On top of the regular judging with the design-in-residence and monetary prizes to win, in the last round of the competition, ten shortlisted teams will also have the opportunity to pitch their concept and show its business potential to a selected group of business experts representing the start-up and circular economy ecosystems. This virtual event takes place on June 3 and is a unique setup for the students to become recognised and - if possible - gain interest from one or more 'dragons' to invest time and expertise to kick-start the concept. The teams will be trained and coached in preparation for their pitch and the best ones get rewarded. It is up to the ‘dragons’ what that reward will be.

Meet the coaches and the members of the jury


Enter competition 2022

This year's registration is closed. SSDC2022 is in full progress.


Initiated and powered by Philips Experience Design
and co-organized with SERVICE DESIGN COLLEGE, in
collaboration with IBM, IKEA and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

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Until when can teams register?
Teams can register until January 14, 2022. They will have until Friday January 21, 2022 (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.