The DFWD Resiliency Design Challenge is a 4-week intensive experiential learning training program that activates the design process to take participants through a solution-finding project. In this program, participants will learn skills integral to the strategic design process and work to apply these new skills to real world challenges. Challenges are presented by community partners (“clients”) needing solutions to their COVID impacted scenarios. In the end, participants will build a more resilient skill base to navigate today’s challenging environments while also helping to deliver a potentially more resilient solution for community partners ~ a win-win for all.

  • Two 3-hour workshops per week + teamwork / homework
  • Approx 10 hours of class/work each week
  • Up to 24 participants will be chosen
  • Participants work in teams of 3-4
  • Design leads guide teams throughout the project
  • Virtual classes with potential for in-person field work
  • $2,400 stipend per participant, upon completion of final presentation


The DFWD Resiliency Design Challenge is grant funded through the Back to Work RI program. Eligibility is limited to the following criteria:

  • Participants must be a designer, owner or employee of a design-driven business that has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • Participants cannot be current students
  • Participants must live or work in the State of Rhode Island.
  • Participants must self-attest to disruptions in business or impact due to COVID-19.


Applicants will be reviewed and the final participants will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated negative impact on work, business, or career due to COVID-19.
  • Willingness to address change within the community.
  • Expressed benefit that the program will provide the participant.
  • Experience in working on teams and/or openness to a collaborative design process.
  • Availability to participate fully during the program timeline.
  • Enthusiasm and openness to dig into a time intensive and exciting process!


  • Application Launch: November 4, 2020
  • Applications Due: November 11, 2020
  • Notification to Awardees: November 16, 2020
  • Program Dates*: November 18, 2020 - December 18, 2020
    • Orientation: November 18, 2020, 10:00 - 11:00 am
    • Strategic Design Process: November 20, 2020, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    • Users in Design and Their Impact: November 23, 2020, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    • Change Management: November 30, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    • Strategic Facilitation: December 2, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    • Ideation and Prototyping: December 7, 2020, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    • Vision to Action: December 14, 2020, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
    • Homework / Team Work throughout
    • Projects Due: December 16, 2020

  • Final Project Presentations: December 18, 2020

* Final schedule will be confirmed upon acceptance.

Click HERE to Apply