What is SUGAR?

SUGAR is a global network that brings together students, universities and companies for the future of innovation through a new learning experience. The SUGAR Network facilitates human-centered design to young talented minds.

How SUGAR evolved...

When facing the need to propel an alternative high education system, SUGAR was founded in 2011. The main driver for SUGAR was the necessity to join forces with other universities to spread this vision and create impact through new products, services and processes. Over the years, SUGAR has been growing, starting by having 18 projects and evolving to 31 projects last year.

SUGAR's Quest

SUGAR wants to create impact by uniting universities and industries across the world to promote an alternative education, where students have ownership of the projects and are encouraged to be passionate about learning. SUGAR provides a platform to share knowledge and empowers students to solve real-world problems based on human-centered, conscious and responsible design.

What SUGAR is made of...

  1. Real people - We design FOR humans, BY humans. Solutions are generated by student teams that always keep close contact with real users and with the support of teaching teams, coaches and corporate sponsors.
  2. Real companies - How to innovate is one of the main challenges today for companies. Through SUGAR projects, companies propose briefings and gain valuable insights and ideas from fresh minds.
  3. Real projects - Student teams tackle real world problems alongside companies. This provides students with a great learning opportunity and empowers them to innovate with a purpose.
  4. Real coaching - Both students and corporate sponsors are coached and guided throughout the whole project. Companies are often offered workshops to guarantee that they are in the same mindset as the teams and understand the full potential of Design Thinking.

This is how we do it!

Through the course of the project, students learn and apply the Design Thinking Process. Due to each university’s twist on the original method, human-centered design is a much wider and inclusive designation of the approach. Among the different variations, some of the approaches used are ME310 Stanford Innovation Process, IDEO and D.School Design Thinking method and the Design Council Double Diamond. Because each university develops its own method, SUGAR includes and shares the models with the whole community.
Human-centered design is based on needfinding, benchmarking, brainstorming, iterative prototyping and user testing. This enables students to have a hand-ons approach, to learn by doing based on people’s needs and explore a broad range of ideas. By using different design thinking tools and techniques, students develop a detailed design solution that integrates desirability, viability and feasibility.

Setup of a SUGAR project

Over the course of nine months, a multidisciplinary student team from at least two universities tackle an open design challenge posed by a corporate sponsor. The student team consists of five to eight students engaging in human-centered design, which is taught to them by the teaching team and coaches of each university. With fresh minds, openness for crazy ideas and guided by a human-centered design process the student teams are well equipped to derive innovative solutions for their design challenge.

Corporate Partners

Corporate sponsors are the enablers of innovation. They allow students and universities to have a bridge with the industry. Projects can come from either small or large companies, operating in various industries including consumer electronics, automotive, telecommunications, healthcare, aeronautics, software, household products, transportation and government.
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Who makes it happen?

SUGAR is also the people behind it. Several members contribute to spread this vision and passion. Fun fact: everyone that makes it possible are integrative members of the partner universities inside SUGAR. And of course, besides the persons listed below, every member of each teaching team contributes for the growth and development of the network!

Core Team
Advisory Board
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