Design Studio Story

Design Studio
Design thinking is a holistic approach to engineering, making, and creating. But it doesn’t start with any of those things—it starts with understanding. Ian Cottingham, Raikes School Associate Director for Design Studio

Microsoft. IBM. Fiserv. PayPal.

Most college seniors would give anything to list just one of these industry-leading corporations on their post college resume. Thanks to their Design Studio experience, graduates of the Raikes School enter the workforce with two, and in some instances three, of them.

“Design Studio provides an opportunity to accelerate your career growth,” remarks Ian Cottingham, associate director for Design Studio.

“We’ve tried to make our partner portfolio diverse enough that it caters to the needs of all of our students. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of different corporate partners. From small startups, like Hudl and Nebraska Global, all the way to large corporations—Microsoft has done 10 projects with us and they’re set to do another this year.”

Oh, the perks of genius.

Started in 2000, Design Studio serves as the capstone learning experience of the Raikes School. Occurring over the course of students’ junior and senior years, Design Studio offers students the opportunity to collaborate with sponsoring organization to develop software-based solutions aimed at solving real-world business problems.

“Essentially, Design Studio offers students the opportunity to put into practice everything they have learned while in the Raikes School,” notes Cottingham. “Industry partners come to us with these ideas—these problems they need solved. And through Design Studio, they get a team of some of the brightest students on campus to help them solve these problems.”

Implementing the principles of creative problem solving and interdisciplinary design thinking, each Design Studio team is comprised of students with various majors and perspectives.

"We don’t just want computer scientists and software developers. We want people who can really think creatively about solutions to problems.”

In addition to teamwork skills, students develop project management and leadership experience essential in today’s professional world, as well as the opportunity to form key connections with top local and national companies. But above all else, according to Cottingham, Design Studio provides students the opportunity to learn what can only be learned through experience—not from a lecture or a textbook.

"What’s unique about Design Studio is that we accomplish hands-on learning without the learning part getting in the way. We don’t put constraints on the students. We give them the freedom to explore their projects, to explore their ideas, and in some sense, to explore their skill sets.”