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CIL Design Studio

Having good ideas is difficult. Swarthmore College has abundant resources to help you to present, fund, and execute your idea; but when it comes to cultivating an idea in the first place, there isn’t a clear line of help. Indeed, many Swatties would like to pursue projects such as a club, campus initiative, or business enterprise; the problem is knowing how to get started.

Recognizing this need, the Design Interns in Center for Innovation and Leadership have established the CIL Design Studio to equip Swarthmore students with the knowledge of how to brainstorm, prototype, and develop ideas for projects of all shapes and sizes. 

By the end of the semester, Ideators will have developed a project idea from scratch and will have clarified a plan of action with regards to presenting, funding, and executing their idea in the future. Ideators will:

  • Understand the design thinking process
  • Foster a creative and innovative mindset
  • Learn how to ask good questions
  • Build a project plan
  • Prototype and test an idea
  • Practice reflective thinking
  • Storytelling for change

Successful applicants will meet with the CIL’s Design Interns for an hour once a week for the duration of seven weeks. During that hour, the Design Interns will train students on an aspect of design thinking through collaborative discussion. Weekly discussions will follow a curriculum that can be found below. The curriculum is based on the Design Interns’ work with the at Stanford University. Successful applicants will also receive a personalized self-development kit.

We are committed to building a small diverse cohort of around six students. Applicants are not required to have an idea for a project when applying. Instead, the priority for applicants should be to demonstrate enthusiasm for learning about idea incubation, design thinking, lean startup, and project planning. We do not want the application process to dissuade potential candidates and we strongly encourage interested students to apply regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, ability, concentration, and background. We evaluate applications holistically. However, we will break ties on marginal applications by class year or demonstrated interest.