About

The Design for Extreme Affordability Program consists of a two-quarter course and two optional sequential labs for student teams seeking further support (the Social Entrepreneurship Lab and the Design Lab).

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.

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 will change the lives of the world’s poorest citizens. Students work directly with course partner organizations on real world problems, the culmination of which is actual implementation and real change.

Each year, 40 Stanford graduate students from across campus engage with global partner organizations to produce 10 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 their users 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.

About Social E Lab

Social E Lab was developed by the Extreme teaching team to give students the option to continue their project work over the summer after they complete the Extreme class. Social E offers funding, space, and mentorship as the teams take prototyping and testing to the next level. Many teams spend the summer prototyping and then return at the end of the summer to their partner site to test their designs. By September, teams are expected to have a clear path in mind for implementation, including who will carry the project forward - a new entity or the partner organization.

About Design Lab

The Design Lab offers funding, space and mentorship for student teams to continue development through the year after completing time in the Social E Lab. The Design Lab is for student groups that have concrete plans to drive towards real implementation of their solution, and need more time and support to finally get it in the hands of those who need it.