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ID Creates New Student Practice Experiences with PracticeID

September 4, 2020

Google Go MasterChallenge Mockups

When ID faculty and staff realized summer internships would be limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, they developed a suite of innovative alternatives, including externships, fellowships, and MasterChallenges, for a total of 70 practice projects.

Externships and fellowships

Students gained direct experience in the critical areas of environment, social equity, and governance, across a range of sectors, from startups to community development.


  • Rush University Medical Center: four projects focused on community health equity, the future of family medicine clinics, primary care in community, and clinical trial design.
  • University of Illinois Chicago Institute for Healthcare Delivery Design: three projects focused on clinical trial recruitment and retention, clinical roadmaps, and directory as platform.
  • MATTER: creating a toolkit for the healthcare startup and the larger healthcare ecosystem.

Community development

  • ComEd Bronzeville Walking Tour: amplifying community stories to help residents and visitors tour the Bronzeville neighborhood.
  • Sweetwater Foundation: designing a narrative for the foundation to use in their presenting work and how it informs policy.
  • Socialworks: data analysis and visualization for the My State of Mind mental wellness platform.


  • Narrative Science: designing a business analytics tool.
  • Lendish: developing an application to improve financial wellness among young adults.
  • Liv Labs: establishing a care journey for pelvic floor fitness.

Sustainability and environment

  • creating experiences to persuade individuals to transition to a plant-based diet.
  • Flip Labs: promoting water system awareness and collective action around water scarcity in Ojai, CA.

Public sector

  • City of Chicago: recommending an employee resource group structure to increase inclusivity and help the city become an employer of choice.
  • Chicago Re-entry Project: identifying opportunities to increase the hiring of individuals impacted by the justice system.


ID alumni John Payne (MDes 1998, managing director at Verizon-owned Moment design firm) and Ryan Powell (MDes 2001, head of UX and research at Waymo) led the MasterChallenges, with ID students competing in real-world design challenges.

  • Waymo/Google AI: designing a human-centered AI system focused on mobility.
  • Moment: identifying and creating digital offerings to address societal changes created by the pandemic.


In addition to practice engagements, ID offered summer classes for the first time. Courses included:

  • Innovation Narratives
  • Innovation Methods
  • Building/Understanding Context
  • Introduction to Python