Climate Quest will use design thinking to develop climate change solutions

May 6, 2014 | by Jill Sakai

Climate Quest, a community-wide climate solutions challenge, is sponsoring a design-thinking workshop to help applicants grow the seeds of ideas into practical, high-impact climate change solutions.

Local design maven Dave Franchino, president of Design Concepts, will help lead a Solutions Workshop June 12 at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the Climate Quest team announced today. An alumnus of UW–Madison and the world-renowned Stanford University Institute of Design, Franchino and his team will guide attendees in using the principles of design thinking to develop their ideas into prototyped solutions with broad societal impact in a team-focused environment.

“Dave and his design group bring a wealth of expertise and success that will help participants take their ideas to the next level,” says project leader Darin Harris, a member of the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Quality Improvement. “At the Solutions Workshop, people will learn how to apply cutting-edge techniques to take the kernel of their idea and make it highly impactful.”

Climate Quest is a team-based challenge that seeks to engage interdisciplinary groups in designing actionable solutions to real-world climate challenges. Led by the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability in partnership with the Global Health Institute, Wisconsin Energy Institute, and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the competition will offer substantial funding opportunities to teams that can produce novel, meaningful, and scalable outcomes in the form of products, policies, approaches, or other innovations. The effort is looking to fund bold ideas at the medium to very large levels, rather than smaller projects, Harris says.

Space at the daylong workshop is limited. People can earn a free ticket to the event, along with the opportunity to invite potential team members, by submitting a thoughtful idea for helping society mitigate or adapt to climate change to the Climate Quest website. Participation in Climate Quest is open to anyone, regardless of UW–Madison affiliation, and the idea submission deadline has been extended to May 30 to accommodate demonstrated interest.

“We’ve received several compelling, cross-disciplinary ideas already with the potential for significant impact and are looking forward to seeing more evidence of the creativity and ingenuity of our community,” Harris says.