Design for Extreme Affordability (often referred to as “Extreme”) is a two-quarter elective course jointly offered by the Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering at Stanford University. Each year, up to 40 graduate students across Stanford University sign up to learn how to use the latest innovation and design methods to address real-world challenges of poverty in collaboration with partners and the communities they serve. The result is real implementable solutions that have touched the lives of 150 million people worldwide.

About The Course

The Design for Extreme Affordability course (officially listed at Stanford as ME206a-b/OIT333-334 and affectionately known as Extreme) is a two-quarter course hosted by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka the d.school) and listed by the Graduate School of Business and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. This multidisciplinary, project-based experience creates an enabling environment in which students learn to design products and services that address the needs of low resource communities. Students work directly with course partner organizations on real world problems, the culmination of which is actual implementation and real change.

Each year, Stanford graduate students from across campus engage with partner organizations to produce transformative projects, the culmination of which is actual implementation and real change. The students participate in a human-centered design process that leads them to establish deep empathy with the communities they work with while using radical collaboration to iterate on seemingly impossible and extremely affordable solutions.

Solutions create impact either through implementation by the partner, new independent student-led organizations, or through another appropriate organization.

Design Thinking & Human-Centered Design Philosophy

Through the program, we teach a problem-solving framework called Design Thinking, which originated at Stanford's d.school. This framework gives students a method to tackle difficult challenges and make them "creatively accident prone" to come up with innovative solutions. See how Design Thinking is used in Extreme in the video below.