Official rules


Student service design challenge


Student service design challenge

1. The Challenge

1.1 Description
The Challenge (‘Challenge’) is an international competition between students, grouped in so called design teams (‘Design Team’). It is organised with the aim to encourage and inspire the next generation of human-centred designers, and to challenge creative minds to envision service design concepts that matter, and are based on an actual, tangible, existing challenge they can relate to. Each Challenge edition has its own theme. The Cases - explained in the briefs - are based on that.

1.2 The Case
Each Challenge edition presents a series of Cases; occurring situations and prevalent issues based on unsustainable economic models in need of improvement and of human- and planet-centred product-service solutions; a combination of successful interventions. Participants of the Challenge are able to relate to these problems, which also exist in their own living environments, their immediate neighbourhoods. They are encouraged to use radical empathy, co-create in a creative and collaborative multidisciplinary way, and design for and in their local context.

1.3 Rounds
The Challenge has five rounds (‘Round’). Every Design Team that has been approved by the Organiser can participate in the first round. After this first Round, a selected number of Design Teams will remain and continue in the Challenge.

1.3.1 Round 1 - Research proposal
After approval of the Design Teams, the teams will get access to the design briefs. Each team will select one design brief to work on. They all will have until a specific deadline to submit their proposal(s). Selection process
Each proposal will be assessed by a team of experts (‘Coaching Team’) that also will be supporting the teams during the Challenge process. Only the best proposals will be selected to join the next Rounds of the Challenge. Design Teams will be informed about whether they have passed Round 1 before Round 2 starts. Design Teams that have passed the preliminaries will receive information about the following Rounds. Design process
Based on design processes like the Double Diamond, Design Thinking and Co-create Framework, the Design Teams need to walk through three steps: Empathise & Discover, Frame & Define, and Ideate & Develop. At the end of Round 2 and 3 the Coaching Team will check if all criteria have been met and all activities have been completed. The Coaching Team will give general advice on the following Round. This will take place via a video conference call, complemented with digital documentation.

1.3.2 Round 2 - Discover phase
Design Teams will be asked to relook at the challenge in a fresh, profound way and in the light of the students’ local context. They will do research. In this Round students are stimulated to do true fieldwork in their own environment (city, country): going where people live to empathise and learn.

1.3.3 Round 3 - Define phase
Design Teams will be asked to unpack and synthesise their empathy findings into compelling needs and insights. They will make sense of all the possibilities identified in the previous Round to improve their first proposal. This Round is critical to the design process because it explicitly states the problem in relation to its local context and ecosystem.

1.3.4 Round 4 - Develop phase
This Round starts with the idea generation process. This Round marks a period of development where service solutions are conceived. This process of trial-and-error helps the Design Teams to improve and refine their ideas into a concrete concept. The fourth Round ends with the final Submission, a full-fledged (product-)service solution that complies with all of the criteria of the six assessment areas.

1.3.5 Round 5 - Jury voting and winner announcement
The Jury voting will take place in the final Round. The Submissions will go through a round of judging, after which a shortlist will be selected. They will pitch their concept to the jury at a Dragons Den event. After that the winners will be selected. Winners will be officially announced at an open event, but will be informed confidentially beforehand.

1.4 Submissions
Each Round ends with a unique Round’s Submission that needs to be handed in and uploaded. The criteria for each Round’s Submission will be provided on time. Next to a video, in which the team’s work to meet all criteria is shown, other materials that have been used during the Round must be uploaded as well. Once a Submission has been handed in and uploaded it cannot be deleted, cancelled, or modified. Incomplete Submissions, including but not limited to those Submissions that do not meet the requirements herein, will not be eligible for assessment. Design Teams that haven’t handed in and uploaded their Submission on time, will be withdrawn from the Challenge.

1.4.1 Assessment Areas
Submissions must comply with, and will be assessed on six areas. Each area has one or more experts - members of the Jury and/or the Coaching Team - who will judge Submissions based on the area criteria. The Assessment Areas are the following:

  • 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 ever changing 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.

1.5 Coaching Team
After Round 1, the selected Design Teams will be supported and guided by the Coaching Team. The Coaching Team consists of design experts. They will virtually meet each team on a regular basis, looking at the work that has been done, giving advice about methodologies to be used, and upcoming work that needs to be done.

The teams will have so-called ‘Assessment Calls’. The Coaching Team will check if all criteria have been met and all activities have been completed. The experts of the Coaching Team will provide feedback on the work done and will give general advice on how to proceed and improve the project in the following Rounds. This will take place via a video conference call, complemented with digital documentation. The Round’s Submissions will be judged purely on their merits and quality.

1.6 Awards and prizes

Each competition edition primarily aims to highlight the best design ideas. The Challenge winners will be mentioned on the Website, and the organising team will try their best to exhibit their Submissions (such as videos and other materials) at international design events and exhibitions.

1.6.1 The Gold winning team(s)
The Gold winning team(s) will be able to continue working on their winning solution with the support of a group of design experts from the Challenge Partners. A maximum number of seven students, all active members of the Design Team, will be offered this support and guidance  for a specific period of weeks. The exact period will be planned in consultation with the winners and take place preferably between June and October. The winning team will also appear on various publications, will get press attendance, and attendance at other design events.

1.7 Jury
The Organiser shall ensure that the judges will be academics or professionals with design, circular economy and related acumen, and that the final Submissions will be judged purely on their merits and quality. The Challenge Partners are represented in the Jury. The Jury votes to select the winners. The judges’ decisions are final and binding, and no further correspondence or discussion will be entered into.

2. The organisation

2.1 Initiators
This competition - that celebrates excellence in service design - is called the Student Service Design Challenge. It is initiated by Philips Experience Design (‘Organiser’) and Service Design College (‘Challenge Management Team’). Together they form the ‘Initiators’.

2.2 Organiser
The Challenge is co-initiated and organised by Philips Electronics Nederland B.V. acting through Philips Experience Design, with registered offices at Boschdijk 525, 5621 JG, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (‘Organiser’).

2.3 Challenge Management Team
The Challenge is co-initiated, managed and executed by Yabber, owner of the Service Design College label, with an office at Catharijnesingel 102, 3511 GV, Utrecht, the Netherlands (‘Challenge Management Team’).

2.4 Partners
The Initiators of the Challenge will work together with Partners who are sponsors of the Challenge. They can be profit and non-profit organisations, but they are all related with at least one Assessment Area [see 1.4.1]. Each of them contributes to the Challenge with knowledge and time. Together with the Initiators they form a group of organisations to establish and run this unique and international design competition amongst students.

3. The participants

3.1 Students
The Challenge is for students only. They must be at least 18 years of age and enrolled as a Bachelor’s or Master’s student during the entire period of the Challenge.

3.1.2 Design Team
The students can join the Challenge as a group (‘Design Team’). Only Design Teams with 4 to 7 members can participate. Those members are preferably studying at the same University or Academy but can be students from different Universities or Academies. The team leader of each group is preferably studying the following undergraduate / bachelor or graduate programme: service design, experience design, design innovation, product design, social design, strategic design or similar at an accredited University or Academy. The Design Team needs to be a multidisciplinary team. Each Design Team must designate one member as the team contact and each Design Team must list all of the team members’ information that is requested. Only the Students listed as team members will be eligible to receive a prize. A student can only participate in one Design Team.

3.2 Universities
Students from all accredited Universities and Academies are allowed to join the Challenge. The Challenge is not a competition between Universities but between student teams. A list of top-tier Universities will be contacted to promote the Challenge amongst their students, but it is up to the students to register and form Design Teams. The Challenge isn’t part of an Academic Year Program. It has its own pace. Start- and end dates are chosen to offer as many students as possible the ability to join.

3.2.1 Coordinator
The Challenge Management Team will communicate with a contact person (‘Coordinator’) at each University and Academy where the Design Teams are studying. These Coordinators will be approached by the Challenge Management Team on a regular basis about the students’ progress, possible obstacles, supervision/guidance, etc., and they will have contact with their Design Team(s).

3.3 Registration
To enter the Challenge, a representative of each Design Team first needs to register and upload proof that (s)he is a student. Once registered, the student needs to complete an online form, in which also the team name and its members are filled in to finalise the registration.

3.4 Reimbursements
No payment is necessary to enter or win. Any costs made to join and participate in the Challenge are not covered.

3.5 Official Rules
By entering the Challenge each student agrees to be bound by these Official Rules, which can be found on the Website. The student unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules, the registration form, and the decisions of the Jury, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

3.6 Property
Once a group enters the Challenge, all its materials used and/or made to deliver the outcomes of each Round, including the results of each Round, become the property of the Initiators and Partners of the Challenge. They may be used by them internally and externally.

3.6.1 Intellectual property rights
All intellectual property rights of the Submissions shall at all times remain (as between the parties) the property of the Design Team(s). When Partners wish to make use of the work submitted in the competition, a licence or transfer will be disclosed with the Design Team. Whilst Parties claim no intellectual property rights, they do reserve the right to retain designs for exhibition and publicity purposes and to reproduce them in any report of their work, online exhibitions and other publicity material (including the Student Service Design Challenge website).

The Organiser, Challenge Management Team or Partners are not responsible for obtaining, protecting, or verifying any intellectual property rights relating to the Submission material. It is the responsibility of the Design Teams to use its own materials and designs, and clearly highlight references.

3.6.2 Idea ownership
By uploading a Submission, the Design Team confirms, collectively, that it is the owner of the idea.

3.7 Personal data
By registering, the student expressly authorises the Challenge Management Team, Organiser and Partners to use personal data collected during the registration process for the purposes of administering the Challenge. The Challenge Management Team shall collect, store, use, handle and process students’ personal data in accordance with its privacy policy (available on the Website) and all applicable laws and regulations. Students shall be entitled at any time to access or amend their personal data held by the Challenge Management Team by the means of an e-mail or letter addressed to the Challenge Management Team. The Challenge Management Team,Organiser and Partners will not pass on the Student’s personal data to other parties without the Student’s prior written consent.

3.8 Promotion
Students agree to take part, on the Organiser’s reasonable written request, in any publicity or promotional activity surrounding the Challenge and future events and awards, locally or globally.

3.9 Non-disclosure agreements
Student Teams may be asked to sign legally enforceable contracts (NDAs) that create a confidential relationship between the (representatives of the) Partners - who have sensitive information - and the Teams that will gain access to that information.

4. Marketing and communication

4.1 Daily communication
The communication with Partners, Universities and Students will mainly take place via email, video conferencing and phone.

4.2 Website
The Challenge will make use of its own Website. On this Website all necessary information is provided. Students can find (a link to) the registration form, the Official Rules, and how and where to upload their Submissions.

4.3 Events

4.3.1 Winner announcement
Winners will be officially announced after the Jury has deliberated and selected them. The winning team may be asked to join the online announcement and have an interview with the jury.

4.3.2 International events, exhibitions and portals
The Organiser will do its best to have the submission/prototype of the Gold winning team(s) exhibited at international events or exhibitions and/or on online portals. The submissions of the Silver and Bronze winning teams (and a selection of the entries of the other finalists) may also be presented.

5. In general

Organiser reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend the Challenge should causes beyond its control interfere with the administration of or proper participation in the Challenge.

Organiser assumes no responsibility for postal, technical or natural conditions that prevent the reception and/or judging of a Submission.

These Official Rules shall in all respects be governed by Dutch law. The parties irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Dutch courts in respect of all disputes (whether contractual or non-contractual) arising out of or in connection with these rules and conditions or the Challenge.

Organiser reserves the right to amend these Official Rules at any time without notice by publishing updated Official Rules at the Website.

The Challenge and its Official Rules may not be reproduced, reprinted or published elsewhere in any format without the written permission of Organiser.


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Initiated and organized by SERVICE DESIGN COLLEGE.

In collaboration with


logo Philipslogo IKEAlogo Laerdal
logo IBMlogo Ellen MacArthur Foundationlogo ISDIN

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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.