DFA Leadership Studio is the signature design sprint and leadership conference designed to prepare the best leaders in our network for the upcoming year.

Hosted each year at Northwestern University, Leadership Studio is a training experience unlike any other. It’s a five-day design sprint and leadership conference designed to prepare the best student leaders in our network for the upcoming year.

Each year DFA LS tackles a local social issue in interdisciplinary teams. Participants practice and apply the human-centered design process by interviewing experts and stakeholders, reframing the core challenge, brainstorm and testing solutions, and ultimately pitch their innovations to local leaders and designers — all within 48 hours.

Throughout the weekend, top social innovators and designers relay their own stories and help teams connect the work they do as DFAers to the skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

In addition to the basics of design innovation, students learn to manage and organize their studios while creating friendships that will last a lifetime. Leadership Studio is often one of our members’ most memorable DFA experiences. Since 2011, DFA LS has hosted more than 275 young design innovators, with many choosing to return, even as alumni.

Ian Dwyer, Aerospace Engineering + Computational Engineering, DFA Notre Dame

“DFA is exactly the opportunity I was looking for in college: I get to work with other enthusiastic students on a project that creates real impact.”

Ian Dwyer, Aerospace Engineering + Computational Engineering, DFA Notre Dame
Sara Yang, Business Administration & International Relations, DFA USC

“Many people can benefit from it – from startup culture, UX design, social entrepreneurship, mechanical engineering – starting DFA was a unique opportunity to connect with people in all those spaces.”

Sara Yang, Business Administration & International Relations, DFA USC
Selina Tedesco, Product Design & Business Management, DFA Rensselaer

“I learned so much about human-centered design methods, and also how to manage a project and get people together – that’s what I’m doing for my job right now!”

Selina Tedesco, Product Design & Business Management, DFA Rensselaer

Interested in getting involved? Email us at info@designforamerica.com.