Prospective Partners

Without great project partners, the Design for Extreme Affordability course would not exist. As a partner, non-profit organizations pre-identify a challenge they've consistently seen in the work they do with their local community but currently just don't have the time or resources to address on their own. Through the 6 month class (Jan-June) our partners work side-by side with a student team to further research the challenge, design, and implement a potential solution. We also deeply care about incorporating the lived experiences of any challenge we work on - which means a constant engagement and immersion with community members. We strive for a final result that incorporates their feedback, is relevant, actionable and effective. The experience is a true collaboration between the partner organization, the students, and the local community.

To learn more about the types of organizations we seek to work with, time commitment, challenge topics, etc. continue to read below. Being an Extreme project partner is a big commitment, but we hope that the benefits to our partners far exceed the costs.

If you know of an organization that may be a good fit and interested in engaging with a student course, please submit their name through the below form or email us at extreme@dschool.stanford.edu, we would love to hear from you!

Working with Extreme

Who are our Partners?

We seek to work with non-profit organizations in the SF/Bay Area that can be described as being:

  • Social Mission Driven
  • Founded or supported by staff from the communities they work in or proven history of receiving ongoing community input
  • Connected and trusted with the population they are seeking to help
  • Enthusiastic and committed to actively working with a student team from Jan-June
  • At least 1-2 yrs working in their field with well-established team
  • Resourced to implement any solution that might result from a collaboration

What do Partners Do?

  • Work with Extreme staff before the class starts to identify a challenge area that could be useful to the organization and the people they serve
  • Actively collaborate 16 hrs/month (including a weekly meeting) with a student team from Jan. to June. This active collaboration includes:
    • Identifying a main point of contact for the student team to facilitate engagements with the organization & relevant community
    • Hosting Extreme staff in December to visit the project site to meet staff & understand the challenge before the class starts
    • Hosting students regularly from Jan-June at the organization’s project site and/or in their community for interviews, observations, and work sessions
    • Connecting students to the people and communities they are designing for
    • Participating in weekly or bi-monthly student/partner meetings (~1-2 hrs/week)
    • Traveling to Stanford for ~3 class sessions throughout the partnership to collaborate with students (we can provide travel expense support)
    • Traveling to Stanford to attend final presentations and the public expo in June

How do Partners Benefit?

  • Work on an important innovation that addresses a current challenge their organization or community members are facing
  • Gain exposure to a new way of problem solving through human-centered design
  • Work side-by-side with a student team and participate directly in the project's development
  • Gain new insights into the needs of the population they are working to serve

What do Projects Look Like?

Over the history of the course, we've worked on projects all over the world, ranging from products or services in healthcare, environmental justice, education, housing, criminal justice, etc. The course teaching team will work with you to identify the right fit for both you and the class. But in general, we are seeking problems or opportunities that your organization:

  • would be enthusiastic about and has time to support
  • is interested in either implementing directly or having developed for your community
  • has some foundational insight into, but just hasn’t had the time to explore further. In other words, how would you answer ‘if only we had more time or personnel, we would ...’ ?
  • is not dependent on for any critical services, strategy, or strict timeline
  • believes would be of real value to the community you serve. Don’t worry about it being too mundane or ordinary!

Course Timeline at a Glance

Early Jan.

The Extreme course starts! Students develop skills before being assigned to a partner/project

Late Jan.

Student teams are formed & matched to a partner/ project.

Feb - March

Students & partners get to know each other, the project topic, and start preparation for community involvement

Late March

Students spend significant time with community and partners on the ground (to the extent it is possible).

April - June

Students continue to work on their projects, with extensive partner interaction.

Early June

Private final presentations to partners followed by a public expo.

Recruitment Process

Recruitment for the course begins in early September to prepare for the class that starts in early January. Here is a review of our process:

  • Interested partner organizations have a brief initial phone call with teaching team to learn more about the program.
  • After the phone call, if partners are excited to engage further they will be invited to complete the initial partnership form (a google survey to be shared)
  • After reviewing submissions the teaching team will reach out to let organizations know if it is appropriate to move to the next stage. This next stage will include more in-depth phone calls with the teaching team to learn more about the organization and further develop a suitable project topic for the course.
  • Selected final partner organizations will be visited in-person by the teaching team to introduce the program, further get to know the organization's operations and project topic (this may include site visits, community events, meeting staff, etc)

What Past 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

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

Past Partners

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Contact Us

Fill out this form to become a project partner or to suggest a great partner for Extreme.