Design for Extreme Affordability is a graduate course offered by Stanford University which sets students to task solving the resource problems of the developing world. Students are asked to design products and services which will change the lives of the world’s poorest citizens.
The coursework takes the students through all the steps necessary to make change: design, marketing, team building, testing and implementation. So far, students have worked on 120 projects in 27 countries. It is team taught by diverse faculty from the schools of engineering, business and other fields, as the emphasis at Design for Extreme Affordability has always been on creating products and services that can be fully realized. Indeed, in its 13year history, the
class and its alums have given rise to a number of game changing innovations and organizations. Many of its students continue working after the conclusion of the class to fully develop their designs into solutions.
Design for Extreme Affordability has been a pioneer in the teaching of socially responsible design in several respects:
Firstly, it places an emphasis on implementation. Being able to write a proposal, or a marketing plan wouldn’t historically be considered ‘design.’ It is nonetheless part of the process in moving from the design studio to field implementation. Students who wish to make real change must look at the problem from multiple angles.
Secondly, Design for Extreme Affordability is fully based on a multidisciplinary approach. The course is taught by a diverse group of Stanford faculty led by Jim Patell (engineering, business), Dave Beach (mechanical engineering), Stuart Coulson (business) and Julian Gorodsky (psychology).
For more information on their specific projects, check out the links below. Design for Extreme Affordability has not only given rise to noteworthy designs, but also to noteworthy designers, companies and new modes of thought.