Wharton Innovation and Design Club

The Mack Institute is a proud sponsor of the Wharton Innovation and Design Club. We share the club’s vision to make the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School synonymous with innovation and cross-collaboration – leading to better ways of doing, working, and collaborating. Through design challenges, workshops, speaker series, and a yearly conference, Wharton I&D helps students harness their creativity and learn new ways of approaching problems to produce innovative solutions.

Learn more about the Wharton Innovation and Design Club’s initiatives supported by the Mack Institute below.

Innovation & Design Summit

Innovation & Design Summit

The Innovation & Design Summit is a yearly spring conference in New York City co-organized by students at Wharton, Columbia Business School, and Yale School of Management. Bringing together over 200 MBA students with industry thought leaders and professionals, this event is the leading innovation conference for business school students today.

Penn Healthcare Innovation Challenge

Healthcare Innovation Challenge

The Penn Healthcare Innovation Challenge is a three-week event that helps students learn a structured approach to innovation and design while crafting new solutions to a pressing healthcare issue. For the 2017 Challenge, students from Wharton, Engineering, Medicine, Design, and Nursing will collaborate to design an innovative solution to improve patients’ emergency room discharge experience.

Participants will work with Challenge partner Penn Med to find creative solutions to decrease wait times and improve patient satisfaction, and will be given the opportunity to conduct primary research through onsite user interviews in the ED. Additionally, design consultancy Smart Design will lead workshops during the challenge to provide guidance on the design thinking process.

Read about the 2016 winning team’s experiences here.

Penn Design Challenge

The Wharton Innovation and Design Club 2015 Penn Design Challenge

The Penn Design Challenge brings together multidisciplinary groups of students across Penn to work on pressing challenges for a corporate sponsor. Over the course of four weeks, groups are coached by a leading innovation consulting firm to apply human-centered design techniques, such as ethnographic research, prototyping, and storytelling, to come up with creative solutions for their corporate client.

2017 Challenge: Philadelphia International Airport

Participants in the 2017 Challenge will work on interdisciplinary teams of Wharton, Engineering, and Design students to improve the airport security process at Philadelphia International Airport. The winning team, in addition to receiving a prize, will present their solution to Arc Aspicio in DC and to executives at PHL.

Recent Penn Design Challenges


For the third annual Penn Design Challenge, the Wharton Innovation and Design Club partnered with American Express and innovation accelerator Made by Many.

The objective of the challenge was to help American Express rethink how underbanked consumers manage their spending and interact with finances in order to make the traditional financial system more inclusive. Check out the above trailer for the AmEx-sponsored documentary Spent: Looking for Change to get a taste of the Challenge.

In its second year, the Penn Design Challenge was sponsored by Able, an Austin-based financial technology company looking to reshape how small businesses access capital.

Student teams from across Penn worked to help Able build upon its innovative approach to collaborative lending by redesigning the borrower/backer experience. Students conducted interviews with small business owners, performed research on behavioral economic principles, and evaluated existing business models in the loan space.

The winning idea incorporated findings on the emotional experience of borrowing and lending, as well as insight on microfinance and behavioral economics.