+Impact Studio

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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

We offered the +Impact Studio pilot class in Winter 2019, and it now is an integral part of the Michigan Ross curriculum. Over Winter 2019, we involved graduate students like you in creating solutions that would address lead contamination in the Flint water system. This work drew on Ross Professor Eric Schwartz’s machine-learning algorithm—using municipal and other data to determine which houses are likely to have lead pipes. As we continue that work, we’ll introduce our next big question: how can we help the financially precarious or unbanked accomplish necessary financial transactions in society?

In the Fall term, you’ll focus on identifying the right problem to solve. Specifically, your team will take on the challenge of developing a human-centered and systems-centered understanding of a specific opportunity for making a positive impact at scale. Your work in the Fall term will determine what problems students in the Winter term will expand upon. If you have an interest in design thinking, leave an opening in your class schedules for this course. The class is open to Masters students from Ross and across campus.  

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. 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

I know that I'm perceiving problems from a more structured, wicked problem perspective...to think of a better solution."

+Impact Studio Space

Coming in Fall 2019, the +Impact Studio will be a collaboration space and an educational community passionate about design for impact.  It will serve as a campus hub for design and impact.  The +Impact Studio will also engage community organizations and companies which seek to apply faculty insights and design tools to advance their impact.  Throughout the year, it will host interactive workshops, charrettes, design jams, and guest speakers.

There will be an open house to introduce the new space on Sept. 20, 2019 from Noon-3 pm.

Artist’s rendering, May 2019