Innovate a Better Chicago Design Challenge

"Design thinking has a human-centered core...In employing design thinking, you’re pulling together what’s desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows those who aren't trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. The process starts with taking action and understanding the right questions. It’s about embracing simple mindset shifts and tackling problems from a new direction."

What types of issues will we potentially be addressing?

Why is it important to solve these issues?

Killed Across Chicago since January 2019
0 %
Of CPS students that go to college will graduate college in four years
$ 0 B
Needed for infrastructure improvements in Illinois
0 %
Gap between White and Black home-ownership

The Breakdown

A design thinking challenge that will bring diversity of thought, skill, and experiences to plan, design, asses, and propose solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting communities across Chicago.

This design challenge will not abide by the conventional design challenge style. It is a challenge that will emphasize the use of different skills including, but not exclusively: coding, art, math, science, and graphic arts. We urge youth that posses unique talents to bring those talents and their whole-selves to this challenge. 

A few examples of deliverables we envision for this event are the following:

1. Stop Crime App aimed to facilitate anonymous reporting of crimes in Chicago.

2. Elementary school students create 3D crosswalks to ensure drivers slow down.

Participants: 50 high school students from across Chicago. We will be targeting students from underrepresented backgrounds (i.e. first-generation college students, low-income college students, students of color, and etc.)

Volunteers: College students (undergrad and grad), professionals, and/or community leaders. 

August 9th and 10th (Friday and Saturday)

Mhub, 965 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642, USA

Many issues are affecting Chicago. Yet, the impact of these issues most affects youth across the city. Ironically, youth are often the ones that are left out of the design process of legislation, innovation, and initiatives across the city. We hope that this events serves as a paradigm shift to this ideology in that we give agency to the most impacted stakeholders: youth.

In addition, this event itself will address the following:

1. Segregation: By bringing youth from across the city to one space, we hope that we promote collaboration and networking. We also hope that this allows for youth to recognize their own unique experiences while also recognizing the shared lived-experiences with other youth from across the city.

2. Agency: We hope that by providing a platform for youth to engage in addressing some of the issues that occur in their communities, we will foster self-agency for them to address these issues and inspire them to continue to actively engage with these issues.

3. Mentorship: Throughout the design challenge, we will have mentors (college students, professionals and/or community leaders) guiding participants through their projects. With this, we hope to foster new relationships such as mentorship relationships.

4. Foster creativity and Visibility: More often than not, we fail to recognize the talent and brilliance in our own backyards. We hope that this events helps youth to expand their imaginations and creativity. We also hope that this event serves as an example of the amazing things that youth can create if given the resources, mentorship, and encouragement to do so. 

5. Prototype: We want this event to serve as an inaugural event that will happen annually that will continue to involve Chicago youth in the design thinking process when solving issues affecting their communities. 

This event is being organized primarily by Chicago Latinx Scholars, a grassroots organization, and Mind+Hand, a non-profit organization is our co-lead.

Chicago Latinx Scholars is a grassroots organization that works to bridge communities of color – with an emphasis on Latinx communities – to opportunities such as higher education, employment, and other resources.

Mind + Hand is a modern “skills accelerator,” providing pathways to high quality, affordable higher education options, skills development, and entrepreneurship for individuals between the ages of 14 and 45.

Mind+Hand, a 501(c)(3) status organization, is the fiduciary agent for Innovate a Better Chicago Design Challenge and all donations made are tax-exempt.

The Chicago Latinx Scholars Team


$6 will pay for 1 student’s transportation stipend for half the program 

$12 will pay for 1 student’s total transportation stipend

$100 will sponsor 1 student for the entire program + a written thank you letter from one of our students.

*Please email to inquire about tax-exempt donations. 


"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
Barrack Obama