Welcome to Extreme

What is Extreme?

The Design for Extreme Affordability program [affectionately called Extreme] creates an environment where students learn to design products and services that address the needs of low resource commmunities. Using human centered design methods, students work with our partner organizations on real world problems. After the program, solutions create impact either through implementation by the partner, new student-led startups, or implementation through another appropriate organization.

The Course

The course is a two quarter, multidisciplinary, project-based course open to Stanford University students (selected through an application process).

Social Entrepreneurship Lab

The Social E Lab provides funding, space, and mentorship over the summer as the student teams take prototyping and testing to the next level.

Design Lab

The Design Lab offers continued support for extraordinary student teams to drive towards real implementation.

Learn More

Check Out Our Impact

Browse our project database!

See video coverage of past projects

People Impacted
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Impact Map

Our Stories

What Past Students & Partners Say

Just wanted to say great job on this project – I’m so impressed to how much work you’ve done in such a short period of time and how critical you’re thinking about the problems in the clinic. You’re quickly becoming experts and I wish we could keep you forever!

Extreme Partner 2021, SF/Bay Area

Definitely take it! It’s a big time commitment but you really get out of it what you put in. No design experience is required. You are taught the design process and quickly move to applying it in real settings. Very interesting course taught by interesting people. Later in the course, faculty move on to become more like coaches and you really have to take ownership of your project.

Extreme Student 2021

TAKE IT!! One of the best courses you will take at Stanford (if not the best) with a phenomenal teaching team that cares a ton about the process and about making sure that you come out of the course having made a real impact. The challenges, issues, partners and the work itself is so necessary and interesting- this course has made me rethink my life and career and is a true epitome of teaching you how to do good in the world.

Extreme Student 2021

The experience, smarts and energy of both our Extreme teams, coupled with the rigorous design process provided by the d.school, allowed for very significant leaps forward in two different areas. I really believe that the power of a Stanford/miraclefeet team will result in the development of a brace that will have significant impact on the cost and effectiveness of clubfoot treatment on a global scale. And the simple text message tool developed by the other Extreme team is practical, low cost and leverages a technology that is widely available. Both ideas will make major contributions to clubfoot treatment, which in turn will transform the lives of children around the world.

Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld Co-Founder and Executive Director, Miraclefeet, Extreme Partner

Extreme teams have the time and outside perspective to think deeply and creatively about a concept.  The organizational reality for us is that we need to move fast and execute efficiently, and this creates pressure to stick with “safe” ideas.  We leverage the creativity of Extreme teams to explore totally new ideas and keep us thinking outside the box.

David Klaus Proximity Designs, Myanmar, Extreme Partner

This was my first exposure to the d.school process, and never before in my education have I had such open-­ended prompts and deliverables and such encouragement to be creative! The most appropriate summary is what Prof. Beach said to me when I first asked him about Extreme, “Extreme will change your life.”  You could say I’ve drunk the Kool-­Aid.

Annie Scalmanini Earth Systems, Extreme 2012

I came into Extreme with really high expectations. And I wasn’t disappointed. It is a real gem of a learning experience, one that goes a long way towards validating my b-school expenses, since it’s precisely the kind of work I’d like to do long-term. Knowing just how many hours I haven’t slept for this class, I would still do it again next year if I could.

Ryan Takasugi Graduate School of Business

Extreme will be a class that I talk about for the rest of my life, and will undoubtedly influence my future career choices, management style and approach to problem solving.

Kylan Lundeen Business, Extreme 2012

It has been extremely gratifying to contribute to improving critical medical systems for some of India’s poorest patients, even as these interactions have permanently altered my perspective on a doctor’s role in society. Extreme is perhaps the most important class I have taken in over a decade of medical training – and I am certainly a better physician for it.

Dr. Dhruv Kazi Medicine, Extreme 2012