Solve a Wicked Problem: Apply for CE 499 by April 22, 2019

The Viterbi School is seeking applicants to enroll in CE: 499: Innovation in Engineering Design for Global Grand Challenges I & II.

This course is ideal for students interested in design thinking, problem solving and social entrepreneurship.

Over the course of the fall and spring semester, students in this course will form a task-force to seek life-saving or live-improving innovation aimed at the most vulnerable and hardest to reach people.

Course Information:

– The course is open to undergrad and grads from all majors
– Mondays 7 pm-8:50 pm
– Enroll in 2 units in Fall 2019 & 2 units in Spring 2019
– Application Deadline April 22, 2019


VIDEO: See this year’s cohort in action –

Please send questions about this course to


Full Course Description:

“Innovation and engineering can play a critical role in solving many of the challenges brought about by “wicked problems.” CE 499: Innovation in Engineering Design for Global Grand Challenges I & II, a 2-semester long course aims to teach students how to apply design thinking techniques to design physical and digital products, services and technologies to help solve the needs of the real people in the middle of these crises. This course addresses “wicked” problems through engineering innovation and provides students with an understanding of the design process, research methodologies, and strategies with a focus on social entrepreneurship. This year’s cohort included students from 7 USC Schools, including 24 different majors at USC.

The inaugural version of the year-long multidisciplinary course this year focused on the refugee crisis in the Greek island of Lesvos. Students formed innovation teams to seek 5 life-saving or life-improving innovations aimed at the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people impacted. The interaction was facilitated by two separate week-long site visits of USC students to two refugee camps in Greece.

Input received from the affected communities contributed to solutions in areas such as: (1) a new, modular water carrying pack to enable refugees to transport water long distances, (2) highly functional, low cost, sustainable clothing with features designed specifically for emergency response scenarios, (3) a micro-philanthropy platform that facilitates donations from international donors to resettled refugees through local businesses, (4) a private, clean and safe showering solution that addresses the overwhelmed infrastructure of overcrowded refugee camps, and (5) an information distribution app designed to centralize critical hyperlocal information for both refugees and NGOs and aid organizations.”



Amanda McCraven

Author Amanda McCraven

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