Kellogg Design Challenge Imperial participants 2024


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The Kellogg Design Challenge (KDC) is the world’s largest MBA design challenge, and is a competition hosted by Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management's Kellogg Innovation and Design Association (IDEA).

Each year, they bring together future business leaders from top business schools around the world to apply human-centred design to solve complex, customer facing business challenges. In 2024, they hosted 16 teams who each presented AI x design concepts aimed at revolutionising the consumer product discovery experience.

Jade Dhangwattanotai, a Full-Time MBA student, shares his experience of making it to the final stage of the KDC Challenge 2024.

I'm incredibly proud of my team for making it to the top 6 of the KDC. It has been a heartening experience, pushing the limits of our capability and knowledge. 
Jade Dhangwattanotai, Full-Time MBA 2024, Kellogg Design Challenge team member

Why we chose to take on the challenge

We were motivated to join KDC after experiencing the Design Thinking module from our curriculum. The module was both practical and stimulating and allowed us to solve real-world challenges using various frameworks and innovative thinking mechanisms.

We were eager to attend workshops, collaborate with professionals from world-renowned institutions, and interact with industry experts. Competing with students from some of the best global business schools added a competitive edge to this process, allowing us to think on our feet and showcase our skills on a global platform.

Innovation has undeniably been the core of our Imperial MBA journey, and KDC offers another such opportunity to put our learnings to the test and make a tangible impact. 

The competition process

The challenge is broken down into 5 stages: application, semi-final announcements, workshops and mentoring sessions, Challenge Day, and final judging.

The workshops and mentoring sessions equip teams with skills in design thinking, innovation strategies, and presentation techniques, led by experts from academia and industry.  

The KDC's core event is Challenge Day at Northwestern University in Evanston, Chicago. Teams pitch to a panel of industry professionals who select 16 semi-finalists. 

From these, 6 teams advance to the finals, where judges evaluate their final pitches. Winners are chosen based on human-centred design research, solution design, impact, and presentation quality.

We developed an AI solution for Hyster Yale, a leader in the material handling equipment manufacturing industry. Despite our unfamiliarity with the sector, the learning curve was steep and further refined my ability to solve problems with limited background knowledge—an essential skill for a leader.
Ananya Agrawal, Full-Time MBA 2024, Kellogg Design Challenge team member  

Imperial Kellogg Design Challenge 2024 team members
The Kellogg Design Challenge 2024 team members

Addressing the design challenges of today

The solution we designed is ElevAI, an advanced AI tool that integrates Generative AI design with a Client Feedback Analysis system. 

ElevAI anticipates potential client modifications, visualises customer satisfaction predictions, compiles modified requirements, generates a verification document, and offers multiple design alternatives. This solution aims to automate the generation of design options, significantly streamlining the design process and enhancing productivity.

To inform and refine ElevAI's development, we employed an extensive research approach that included user interviews, surveys and focus groups, and prototype testing. 

Feedback on ElevAI has been positive, particularly in its potential to reduce time spent in design iterations. Continuous improvements based on user feedback and data analysis remain a cornerstone of our development strategy to ensure that ElevAI consistently meets the evolving needs of design professionals.
Vimesshen Nair Ravindran, Weekend MBA 2024, Kellogg Design Challenge team member

Developing a standout solution

Our solution distinctively addresses the significant pain points faced by design professionals, setting it apart in terms of effectiveness and innovation. 

Viability: ElevAI dramatically reduces the time and resources required for design processes. This reduction translates into substantial cost savings. 

Sustainability: By foreseeing potential design issues that could lead to manufacturing errors, ElevAI helps catch errors early on and reduce failure costs. 

Feasibility: While there are existing solutions such as Autodesk,, ElevAI leverages an extensive data-driven approach and integrates client feedback analysis uniquely. 

Kellogg Design Challenge 2024 competition
Kellogg Design Challenge 2024 competing groups

Making an impact with innovation

From our surveys, interviews, and research, we identified that each product design approval typically involves around 12 iterations, with each iteration taking at least two weeks. Our solution aims to streamline this process drastically. 

ElevAI aimed to make a significant impact in the business world by revolutionising the design engineering, large machinery manufacturing, and architecture industries. These sectors are traditionally reliant on extensive design processes that can be both time-consuming and costly. 

The challenge of addressing a real world issue through the competition's framework taught me the importance of resilience, creativity, and strategic thinking. This has prepared me to approach future challenges with a can-do attitude and a problem-solving mindset, which are essential for leadership roles and innovative projects.
Sharon Grace Philip, Full-Time MBA 2024, Kellogg Design Challenge team member

How Imperial supported us on our competition journey

The support from Imperial College Business School through sponsorship, academic guidance, and an extensive and engaged alumni network deeply enriched our experience and contributed substantially to our performance in the challenge. 

Alumni were eager to engage with us, often going out of their way to provide detailed feedback and share industry insights, emphasising the strength of the Imperial network.

The encouragement and endorsement received from our Programme Director, Michel Nowlis, was highly motivating. His personal congratulations and support for our participation in the final competition underscored the Business School's dedication to fostering student achievements.

We would like to give special thanks to Professor Ileana Stigliani, PhD, for her outstanding teaching in the Design Thinking module, equipping us to meaningfully contribute to this challenge. Her insights have been invaluable in shaping our approach to problem-solving and innovation. 
Isha Mehendale, Kellogg Design Challenge team member, Full-Time MBA 2024 

Jade Dhangwattanotai competing in the Kellogg Design Challenge 2024
Jade Dhangwattanotai competing in the KDC 2024

Key highlights

The culmination of our efforts in the final pitch was especially memorable. The build-up of energy leading to the final day and the subsequent celebration with new friends and networks made it feel like we were winners. This experience not only enriched our educational journey but also expanded our professional horizons in meaningful ways. 

One of the most significant benefits has been the substantial boost in confidence it provided. Learning to deliver a compelling pitch in front of stakeholders is a critical skill in any business environment.
Simran Kaur Thukral, Full-Time MBA 2024, Kellogg Design Challenge team member

Key takeaways

My experience on the KDC greatly deepened my understanding of how business, innovation, and design work together, especially when it comes to building effective teams and rethinking old ways. 

I’m deeply grateful for my teammates who have made the entire challenge so enjoyable. We are proud to have represented Imperial College Business School on an international scale.