The IKEA Hack Challenge Auburn University, Alabama Students visit Institute of Technology Carlow for Cooperative Challenge Project


auburn university design students collaborate with it carlowA group of 22 industrial design students from Auburn University, Alabama journeyed to Ireland last week for a two-day collaborative project with Institute of Technology Carlow product design innovation and industrial design students.

The annual collaboration, now in its 17th year, required the students to complete a 24-hour design challenge, The IKEA Hack, whereby they are given time to explore the Swedish furniture retailer in Dublin, identify opportunities to reimagine a function or design of an existing product and formulate a presentation on their improved design, which must be presented the following day.

This year’s challenge was overseen by design lecturers and members of IT Carlow’s designCORE team, Hilary Dempsey and Dr. PJ White, as well as Auburn University Professors Randall Bartlett and Benjamin Bush. At the end of the 24 hours, the lecturers judged each design on a set of deliverables including functionality, innovation, cost and desirability or playfulness. 

Speaking about the challenge, product design innovation lecturer Hilary Dempsey said “Short focused projects are a great way to streamline the design process and harness a collective approach to creativity and new product development. It allows for realisation of concepts in a time frame that may seem unrealistic but can be delivered using a focused combined mentality. 24-hour design challenges are intense, but incredibly rewarding.”

“It's an excellent opportunity for our students to get to work together in such a unique setting. Because of the nature of design sprints like the 24-hour design challenge, students have to work together to make daring decisions and move forward. It forces our students to take risks, trust peers they’ve only met hours earlier, and come up with truly radical customized solutions in a short amount of time” remarked Auburn University lecturer, Benjamin Bush.