Coaching and judging 2024


Coaching and judging


Meet the coaches and the members of the jury


Meet the coaches and the members of the jury

Joining the Student Service Design Challenge is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each student design team will have regular (virtual) coaching sessions with its dedicated Challenge coach. Challenge coaches support the teams for one of the four challenges - presented by Philips, ISDIN, Laerdal and IKEA - on an individual basis during the discovery phase (round 2), define phase (round 3) and development phase (round 4). Each team will also be guided by a team coach, an IBM design strategist and practitioner. 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. To help teams get started with the different design phases, past winners of the Challenge will offer support in each round during a live coaching session. In the final stages of the teams’ design process, they also receive strategic and business mentoring to consider the viability of their service concepts.

At the end of round 4, each student design team submits their concept. All submissions are reviewed and validated based on the six challenge criteria (see Assessment areas). 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-centred (service) design, AI, circular design, and design-led innovation.



Gonzalo Sanchidrian (Spain) is a seasoned service designer and coach of the ISDIN challenge.

In his role as Senior Service Designer at Kindred, Gonzalo coordinates across the 17 markets where the group operates, collaborating with stakeholders and local teams to ensure a unified and collaborative strategy. Employing tools such as service blueprints and ecosystem maps, Gonzalo crafts holistic approaches to development backlogs, emphasising the customer's experience while optimising employee satisfaction. Gonzalo is committed to expanding students' perspectives, fostering well-thought-out design processes with a focus on real-life changes that users can relate to. He holds an MFA in Industrial and Product Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Silvia Calvet (Spain) is an experienced design strategist and the coach of the Philips challenge.

Silvia has a strong foundation in Information Sciences and an MBA in e-business. She currently works in the social sector at Saura Cooperativa as Director of the Casal Online, where she strives to use her creativity and experience in crafting positive, meaningful transformations. Throughout her career, Silvia has excelled in crafting innovative solutions and building cohesive teams characterised by trust, open communication, and unwavering focus. She is driven to make a lasting impact and help organisations succeed in their pursuit of customer-centric innovation.

Apurva Dabhade (India) is design researcher and the coach for the IKEA challenge.

As User Experience Researcher at Microsoft, she loves connecting dots and representing users' needs in the product roadmap. An advocate for cultural equity in design and research, Apurva is passionate about contributing to the global design and research communities and making design and research education accessible for marginalised communities. She articulates her experiences and findings through words, metaphors, narratives, and spoken language. Apurva holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Vishwakarma Institute Of Technology in Pune, India.

Anna Wippel (Switzerland) is an experienced service designer, IBM enterprise design thinking coach and mentor, and is the coach of the Laerdal challenge.

In her role as Senior Business Consultant and Business Developer for the central IT department of the Canton of Basel, Switzerland, Anna thrives in empowered, interdisciplinary teams, unlocking creative potential in the realms of digital transformation and responsible innovation. She explores how technology can "blur the givens" by transforming data into information to foster trust and participation. Holding a Master's Degree from the London Open Business School, Anna is a firm believer in lifelong learning to tackle today's complex challenges within high-performance teams.

Alberto Imberti (Italy) is a strategic designer and consultant and the business coach of this year's Challenge.

Alberto specialises in guiding organisations through innovative transformations, emphasising a planet and human-centric approach. With extensive experience at BIP, he contributed to solving complexities across industries through collaborative methods like service design, strategic design, and design thinking. Currently, on an independent consulting path, Alberto aids public and private organisations in transitioning for positive impact. His work is centred on applying design to understand and address social and ecological challenges faced by workers, customers, citizens, individuals, and biological organisms.

Robin Auer (Germany) is an expert in various design methods and is the overall coordinator of the team coaches.

Robin is an IBM Design Lead in the area of Data and AI. Worldwide, he facilitates product and strategy workshops with IBM teams and clients. He helps them understand, experience and leverage different design methods like Design Thinking in order to create innovative solutions with outstanding user experience. Robin is a creative problem solver who loves designing user-centric solutions for complex, digital applications and experiences. As lecturer in design, he wants students to see the holistic nature of a problem. Because ideas only have relevance if they make it into people’s everyday lives. Robin holds a Master’s degree in Design from the University of Applied Sciences Konstanz (DE), and is Vice Chairman of der German Designer Club.

Aman Sinha (India) is a product designer and will help teams ideate and turn their ideas into concrete concepts in the Develop phase.

With a background in product design and strategy and a Master of Science in Product and Service Innovation from Carnegie Mellon, Aman has a deep understanding of the product development cycle, from concept to execution. His experience in the Student Service Design Challenge has honed his skills in creating impactful solutions and is now eager to guide new talents, offering practical advice and sharing valuable lessons.

Aman is a member of Team Solace, winner of the 2023 Student Service Design Challenge.

Laura Duarte (Colombia) is a service designer and will help teams get started with research and field-work in the Discovery phase.

With a background in international relations, Laura has leadership-level working experience in corporate communication, change management and employee engagement. Her work sits in the intersection of service design, design futures and government institutions design. Currently working for the Scottish government co-designing a citizen-centred, non-paternalistic and trauma informed, Social Security Department capable of responding to the challenges presented by the polycrisis.

Laura is a member of Team I>3women, winner of the 2020 Student Service Design Challenge.

Alexander Burton (Canada) is a product designer and will help teams extract insights and make sense of their findings in the Define phase.

Alex is a graduate from OCAD University and a practising designer based in Toronto, Canada. Working at the intersection of service design, public policy, and political engagement, Alex channels his passions for systems thinking and human-centred design to create a more just, accessible, and sustainable society. He is currently Senior Product Designer at Small Change Fund.

Alex is a member of Team Sage, winner of the 2022 Student Service Design Challenge.



Anna Meroni (Italy) is Full Professor in Service and Strategic Design at Politecnico di Milano. Anna is the Jury Chair.

Besides her professorship, Anna is Deputy Dean of the School of Design at Politecnico di Milano. She is an architect and holds a PhD in Design. Her research focuses on service and strategic design for sustainability to foster social innovation, participation, and place development. With her team, she developed a specific expertise in co-design strategies, methods and tools and originated the concept of community-centred design. She works transversally on new entrepreneurship, place-making, public services, urban commons and responsible research and innovation (RRI). Some specific fields of application are food systems and collaborative living.

Anna is a Co-founder of the DESIS Network Association and an honorary member of its International Coordination Committee. She has served as head of the international Master of Science in Product Service System Design, coordinator of the POLIMI-DESIS Lab, and as a professor at various universities in Italy and abroad.

Suhaib Aslam (Pakistan/The Netherlands) is Data & AI Innovation Designer at Philips Experience Design.

In this role, he intertwines data, AI, strategy and design to reimagine healthcare. With a focus on clinical and well-being projects, he pioneers the integration of data and AI into intelligent service experiences. He cares about addressing systemic challenges through a transdisciplinary approach, and always embraces empathy and complexity. Suhaib is passionate about shaping the future of design with data and AI as his canvas. His journey is one of curiosity, practical innovation, and a profound love for design, driving him to explore the uncharted territories of what makes innovation meaningful for life – both today and tomorrow.

Katalin Doczi-Nagy (Hungary) is Service Design Manager at Laerdal Medical in Norway.

She leads a global team of service designers to impact healthcare systems through simulation-based education solutions. She has over 10 years of experience in service design and related fields in organisation development, digital service transformation, venture design or user experience design. Katalin holds a Master’s degree from Delft University of Technology in Industrial Design Engineering, and an MBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology. She thrives on impacting the health and lives of others through her efforts.

Ferran Miquel (Spain) is ESG Manager at ISDIN and the driving force behind all environmental, social and governance initiatives.

In this capacity, he not only shapes but also globally implements the ESG strategy through various projects and initiatives. With over 9 years of experience in consulting and project management, focusing primarily on supply chain strategy, transformation, and digitalization, Ferran is characterised by a results-oriented and action-driven approach. He has a degree in Industrial Engineering at Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, a master's degree in Supply Chain Management at ICIL, an Executive MBA at IESE and a MiB at ISDI.

Karen Reeves (United Kingdom) is Services Leader at Inter IKEA, developing the services offer for the company globally.

Karen has over 10 years of experience working for retailers such as John Lewis, Red Bull, Dyson and IKEA. She is a specialist in physical and digital service solutions; transitioning consumers from product transactions to end-to-end, human-led experiences across their shopping or aftersales journeys. Karen is passionate about understanding how we can innovate in the service space to support and accelerate consumers living better lives at home. She studied Law at the University of Kent and is a keen runner and hockey player, which has nurtured communities and friendships while living abroad.

Adam Cutler (United States) is Distinguished Designer at IBM where he is driving the development of IBM's point of view on the practice of AI Design.

He is a founding member of IBM Design and one of the first three Distinguished Designers. Adam and his team explore the intersection of artificial intelligence and human nature and create artefacts and education that integrate AI and design to help bring true creativity to AI-driven solutions. In his previous role, he was responsible for the company's competency, culture and practice of design. He has worked with many clients, including OpenPediatrics for Boston Children's Hospital, Nordea, The JFK Museum & Library, Liberty Mutual, Bank of America, American Express, Segway, and Tiffany & Co.

Anna Ribera (Spain) is a service design & UX research specialist and Strategic Design Lead at ISDIN.

With a background in psychology, she integrates her passion for understanding human behaviour with a multidisciplinary approach encompassing psychology, design, and circularity. She uses design as a transformative tool to solve complex challenges rooted in customer needs. Anna's expertise lies in research, conceptualisation, and designing services and digital experiences, guiding the organisation towards a comprehensive embrace of customer-centricity at all levels.

Shannon E. Thomas (United States) is the Global Head of Experience Design for Services at Philips.

With over fifteen years of experience, most recently in mobility and healthcare, Shannon has a history of designing products and experiences that delight while delivering a better quality of life. Using curiosity, humility, and an eye for detail, Shannon manipulates cutting-edge technologies to meet human needs. She believes in the democratisation of design and is passionate about creating inclusive processes that promote diversity and multi-disciplinary collaboration within organisations. Shannon is author of The Practical Guide to Experience Design.

Sameera Chukkapalli Holmes is an architect, a social entrepreneur, and the founder and director of Needlab.

She is driven toward solving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and making sustainable design solutions reachable to all. As the director of Needlab, a nonprofit organisation that works to solve habitat and resilience problems in cities and rural areas, Sameera works with communities worldwide to develop human and environmental-centered architectural design solutions. Needlab's mission is to research, build, and advocate for dignity in design and self-sufficiency in communities. She is an Obama Leader and spends most of her time drafting human and environment-centered design solutions with communities around the world.
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Initiated and organized by SERVICE DESIGN COLLEGE.

In collaboration with


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Until when can teams register?
Registration closes on January 26, 2024.
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. Please read more about this in our Official rules before submitting.