The Rotman Design Challenge brings together top talent from leading business schools around the world to solve a business design challenge posed by an innovative and forward-thinking sponsor.

The RDC challenges students to put business design into practice in a collaborative and nurturing environment where they are supported by academics, professionals and consultants from the fields of business and design.

Using creative problem solving techniques and frameworks from both the business and design disciplines, over one hundred students around the world will have the opportunity to share their experiences and to compete for top prizes in Toronto, Canada.

Business Design is a human-centred approach to creative problem solving that applies design principles and practices to business innovation challenges.

We are on the cusp of a design revolution in business. As a result, today’s business people don’t need to understand designers better, they need to become designers.

Roger Martin, Dean

Latest updates

@‏RotmanDesign #‏RDC2014

Challenge

About the Rotman Design Challenge


At Rotman, we believe that the mindsets and practices behind great design can also be applied to the breakthrough growth of enterprises and institutions. In essence, business design blends design methodologies and business acumen to create a process that helps identify broader opportunities, create new ideas and accelerate market success.

Sean, MBA Candidate 2013

The Rotman Design Challenge provides an unparalleled opportunity for MBA students.

Within a typical MBA curriculum, we don't have many opportunities to refine and practice the design thinking toolkit. The Rotman Design Challenge not only gave us that opportunity, but we were able to exchange creative ideas with students from across the US and Canada.

We have plenty of competitions in the strategy, marketing, and finance realms, but none that emphasize the ability to innovate and go beyond the cookie cutter MBA approaches to problem solving. The advantage of the Rotman Design Challenge is the opportunity to work on a difficult real world problem, and then present ideas to a sponsor that embraces the deeper, more actionable insights that come from a design mindset.

Business Design has deepened my ability to empathically connect with our consumers.

At Nike, we’re all about being number one in the hearts and minds of our consumers and leading our industry. Business Design has helped me frame opportunities for enhanced brand experiences and innovation in a way that motivates and compels the business to act.

Business Design has instilled this in me, and the only way to really embody this approach is to do it. It has positioned me to be a high-valued contributor in the way we think about knowing our consumers and creating meaningful ways to serve them to deliver the most impact. That’s why the RDC is so important — it provided me the opportunity to really do Business Design. Learning is doing, and succeeding at Nike is doing. The Rotman Design Challenge is the perfect platform to learn, do, and create.

Gillian, Rotman MBA 2012

Past Challenges

Rotman Design Challenge 2013

Sponsor: Target
Winning school: IIT Institute of Design, Chicago, USA

Rotman Design Challenge 2012

Sponsor: TD Canada Trust
Winning school: IIT Institute of Design, Chicago, USA

Rotman Design Challenge 2011

Sponsor: Mayo Clinic
Winning school: OCAD, Toronto, Canada

Schedule

Monday, January 27

Team applications due at 5:00pm EST
 

Friday February 7

Case details and judging rubric released to team leaders.
 

Thursday, March 6

Final presentation decks due at 5:00pm EST
 

Saturday, March 8

Registration
Welcome remarks and keynote
Evening social
 

Sunday, March 9

Breakfast
First round presentations
Lunch & networking
Final round presentations
Announcement of winners and closing remarks
 

Prizes

Prizes for winning teams have increased this year! Prizes for winning teams will be awarded as follows after the final round:

1st Place Team: $7,000 (+ eternal glory and bragging rights)
2nd Place Team: $3,000 (+ our deep admiration)
3rd Place Team: $1,000 (+ a pretty solid round of applause)

Location

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
105 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, CANADA


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Teams

Team applications will be released in mid-January. If you have any questions before then, don't hesitate to contact Tom Lowden or Monique Gottlieb at rotmandesignchallenge2014@gmail.com


General information

Toronto Maps and Guides
Download map of Toronto
Best of Toronto
Learn about what Toronto has to offer.
TTC Trip Planner
Information on getting around

Things to see in Toronto

CN Tower
Enjoy the view from the world's tallest building.
Toronto Islands
It's a quick ferry ride to see the islands.
Casa Loma
Visit Toronto's historic castle.
The Distillery Historic District
Unique in the city for amazing boutiques and specialty one-of-a-kind crafts.

For the foodies

Saint Lawrence Market
Named the world's best food market by National Geographic!
Little Italy
Enjoy some of Toronto's best restaurants.
Veggie/Vegan Options
A list of great vegetarian and vegan options in Toronto.
Gluten Free Options
A list of the best gluten and wheat free restaurants in Toronto.

For the gallery lovers

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
The largest art gallery in Toronto.
Royal Ontario Museum
Very close to Rotman!
Bata Shoe Museum
A shoe museum? We haz.
Gardiner Museum
Special exhibits and collections.

For the shop-a-holics

Bloor-Yorkville District
Unmatched in Toronto for charm and culture with European style boutiques and high luxury brands.
Toronto Eaton Centre
Visit "Canada's Times Square" at this world-class mall in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Partners

Questions

Have a question that's not answered here? Ask us: rotmandesignchallenge2014@gmail.com

I am part of a MBA program, but I would like to team up with my colleagues from a Graphic Design / Architecture / Computer Science / Media Studies program. Can we do it?
Yes, you are encouraged to team up with students from other programs as long as this program is a graduate level program and it is part of the same university/college.
How many teams will be competing in the Rotman Design Challenge 2014?
Up to 25 teams will be able to compete in this year's challenge. Teams will be limited through an application process.
Could you tell me more about the Challenge Day?
Full challenge details and schedule will be released in early February 2014. You can assume the day will be a full day, split between individual team judging, keynote speeches, and the finalist presentations. There will also be a reception, networking event, and welcome party in the evening at a local lounge.
How much time should I allocate for this challenge?
The time commitment varies from 20-40 hours per team member over a course of 4 weeks, which is roughly 5-10 hours per week. Some successful teams have historically spent less than that and some have spent more than that, so it is not by any means a rule. However, teams generally get what they give in terms of commitment and effort.
What is the ideal team composition?
Design challenges are notoriously ambiguous. It's up to you to build your team with the skills and dynamics necessary to arrive at a great solution. Remember, your solution is both an articulation of your ideas and a demonstration of your thinking. You should identify the strengths within your team to clarify and assign specific deliverables to each team member.
How should our team prepare?
Use your program's resources! Most participating schools are quite dedicated to the RDC. Design schools in particular have been known to prepare very rigorously for the RDC with dedicated team coaching sessions with faculty. Business school teams take note: strategic recommendations alone may not be enough to impress the judges. Teams that invest in some "production value" in videos, prototypes, mock-ups, or other forms of "doing" will generally do better. But, remember to balance your "doing" (prototyping) with solid "thinking" (analysis) to back up your ideas.