Design Leaders Program Launched

The Design Studio is pleased to accept its first cohort to the Design Leaders Program, an intensive training and solution-design program for Columbia alumni and students.

With over 70 teams applying from across Columbia’s schools and programs, we’re proud to announce that we’ve chosen ten incredible teams– all of which are dedicated to pursing a human-centered approach to solution-development. The teams are drawn from Columbia Business School, Teachers College, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia College, and more.

One team, comprised of students from the School of Engineering and the Business School, is focused on supporting lactating moms with a new type of breast pump. Using smart tools and a data-driven approach, BabyBloom aims to help moms understand their breast milk production and maintain their supply for longer. BabyBloom (formerly EmpowerPump) was a finalist in the Columbia Venture Competition and received the CU Ignition Award in 2016.

Other teams are focusing on equally diverse challenges. One group, comprised of SIPA and Business School students, is hoping to empower entrepreneurs to solve wicked challenges within an online entrepreneurial community right in a user’s school environment. Another, made up of alumni from Columbia College and Business School, is helping Chinese women find the professional style that is right for them.


Over the course of the Design Leaders Program, we’ll be working with each team to develop a stronger understanding of their user’s needs, test their assumptions by building prototypes, and lead creative teams. The Program will push teams to get out of the building to talk to users and develop a continuous feedback loop. By its end, this five-week intensive program will leave teams with a clearer idea of their priorities, their business model, and will boost their projects to the next stage.

ernt (1)
Design Studio leads Adam Royalty and Alice Bosley ’17SIPA (center) and Ernt founders Nathan Littlewood, EMBA ’17 (left) and Rob Elliot, Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Earth Institute (right)


Over the next months, we’ll spotlight each team as they make their way through the design process. Keep an eye out for our next installment about user research soon!


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