top of page


Design thinking to promote community-minded problem solvers.



Innovation is not happening at the level of the problem.

Ignite is a human-centered design education program established to promote creativity and problem-solving in future innovators. Middle and high school students are challenged to develop innovative solutions to problems that affect their local community, guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

College students are paired with middle and high school students to serve as trainers and mentors throughout the engineering design process. 

We believe that the best solutions are developed by those who directly experience social challenges. Thus, we want to inspire confident problem solvers and critical thinkers of all ages and genders to address local and global challenges in their communities. Ignite students use the human-centered design process and learn technical Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) skills to develop an idea from sketch to prototype for a specific social challenge.



We have successfully implemented our human-centered design curriculum, Ignite, in countries around the world. Over 150 Ignite instructors, Trainers, from Duke University, Emory University, University of Michigan, the Universidad de Valle de Guatemala, the American School of Guatemala, and the NGO "Asociación Amigos del Lago de Atitlán"  have been trained and successfully implemented the Ignite with over 2,000 middle and high school students.

Our global community of educators is working toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ignite is formally recognized as a part of the UN Partnership Platform. For more information about our global impact visit our SDG Action Page (linked). 

Ignite relies on place-based education to localize the UN Sustainable Development Goals to empower students to create innovative engineering-design solutions for their own community's needs. 


Students learn about human-centered design and basic electrical engineering concepts to create a light source that fits the needs of their community.

Students learn about environmental engineering and how to measure and visualize water contamination to design and test a device that purifies water.

Screen Shot 2020-07-25 at 12.16.11
Screen Shot 2020-07-25 at 12.18.43

Students learn about biomedical engineering and the cardiovascular system to build devices to monitor a person or population's health.

to learn how to design, teach, and share your own curriculum. 

bottom of page