+Impact Studio


Creating a better world by design

Do you want to harness the power of design and business to develop impactful solutions to global challenges and then step into the world with a powerful social innovation skill-set? The +Impact Studio translates faculty research insights into real-world applications that address wicked problems. (Wicked problems are issues with societal import, that are difficult to understand, and are embedded within complex systems.) 

The +Impact Studio teaches interdisciplinary student teams (e.g., MBAs, MSWs, MPH, MEng) how to effectively use scholarly intellectual capital, business acumen and design methodologies to start addressing wicked problems. There is a trove of such capital within the University, and the +Impact Studio seeks to put to work on the pressing problems of our generation.

The work of the Studio is expressed in three key ways: 

  • The +Impact Studio Course
  • The +Impact Studio Space, and 
  • +Impact Studio Events & Speakers


+Impact Studio Course

In this innovative course model, you’ll learn how to address a wicked problem using scholarly research, design methodologies, and business acumen. The skills you’ll develop are both rare and in-demand with top employers, and key to tackling big societal challenges. Your interdisciplinary graduate student team made up of MBAs, MSWs, MPPs, MEds, MUPs, etc. will translate research into impactful applications through the lens of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). 

Be an innovator in the COVID-19 crisis while learning design thinking tools in the interdisciplinary graduate course +Impact Studio (BA 670), offered this Fall 2020.  The pandemic response has brought into relief striking inequalities and hardships of many. Solutions to these economic as well as social well-being challenges are needed now more than ever. The studio is working to develop solutions that leverage expertise generated from Michigan Ross and the University of Michigan to address these two broad issues. Throughout the academic year the +Impact Studio and students in the course will tackle challenges brought on by this crisis and address the emergent, residual and continued economic and social impacts of the pandemic. 

The COVID-19 work is just one of the projects being tackled by students in Fall 2020. Coursework will also include developing fintech solutions to increase financial health and inclusion.

Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, +Impact Studio Faculty Director

The +Impact Studio Faculty Director provides leadership in developing strategic direction to foster and leverage internal and external relations with student clubs, units around campus, executive education clients, and alumni. Dr. Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks is a Behavioral Scientist and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology with training in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan. His research and teaching focus on the social process of designing and implementing desired futures.

Read full biography

Outputs from the Winter 2020 Course

The BA 670 class of Winter 2020 presented the following proposals in Financial Resilience for college graduates and Clean Water, in April 2020:


This student-created solution is an emergent-need funding platform to support nonprofits in providing financial assistance to the unbanked and credit-invisible people in their communities.


This idea is a phone-based app designed to help high schoolers and their counselors make personalized, informed decisions about post-secondary pathways and then develop awareness around requirements and resources.

Opportunity Equity pledge

The Opportunity Equity Pledge was created to raise awareness of inequality in social capital access. Upon graduation, students pledge 12 hours of service a year to improving social capital for future students who may not have had the same opportunities.


WaterWise is a web-based solution that accumulates water quality data and resources into one, easy-to-use platform. Within the site, users can learn about the quality of water in their homes, learn about the health risks of contaminated water, compare options for addressing poor water quality, and connect with local government and community representatives who can help.

As business students, we tend to think of the customer/stakeholder. Through the +Impact Studio course I am learning to ask “who else might the stakeholder interact with?” and “where in that ecosystem might interventions be implemented?"

— Gautam Kadlikar (MBA ‘20)

+Impact Studio Space

The +Impact Studio is a collaboration space and an educational community passionate about design for impact. It serves as a campus hub for design and impact. It also engages with community organizations and companies which seek to apply faculty insights and design tools to advance their impact. Throughout the year, the +Impact Studio hosts interactive workshops, charrettes, design jams, and guest speakers.