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The Rotman Design Challenge (RDC) is a live event at the Rotman School of Management that brings together top talent from leading MBA and design schools across the globe to propose solutions to a complex business challenge posed by an innovative and forward-thinking sponsor.

This is not just another case competition, the RDC is a unique event that allows students to put design theories into practice in a collaborative environment where they are supported by academics, professionals, and consultants from the fields of business and design.

Using creative problem solving techniques and frameworks from both the business and design disciplines, over 125 students will have the opportunity to share their experiences and to compete for top prizes.


“Innovation is the way to win.”
— Steve Jobs



At a time of evolution and change, companies in the construction industry can leverage digital technologies to better align their offerings with customer needs, while simultaneously addressing key challenges facing the industry. As such, students are being posed the question:

“Within the next 5-10 years, how can Kingspan the global leader in high performance insulation and building envelope solutions, and a company committed to sustainability, disrupt its own business model to be the leader in the future of digital construction?”

Industries are increasingly exposed to innovation-driven growth where disruptive technologies are driving change and presenting new ways of thinking. The construction industry faces escalating challenges of urbanisation, climate change, resource scarcity and a growing talent gap. Meanwhile digital technologies are gradually entering the industry aiming to revolutionise current construction patterns with infrastructure and buildings being designed, constructed, and operated in new ways. 

The Rotman Design Challenge provides a creative space where students can reimagine and reinvent the way the construction industry approaches problems through collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas from different disciplines, technologies and sectors. Kingspan places great emphasis on ways the company can learn from innovations in other sectors and inspire ideas that can be used in the building materials industry.

Kingspan’s commitment to technology is evidenced by its investment of $10m last year to acquire a stake in Invicara, a provider of transformative software solutions that create digital workflows out of design and construction data, harnessing the power of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Digital Twins.

Visit Kingspan’s site for more information: https://www.kingspan.com/group/news/news/students-to-develop-disruptive-solutions-to-the-co?fbclid=IwAR3cbVBOr4Wro4Oby-c5rFH1X1Df8_NwaLUTSjJGgSxv9jVB1ewdx5VXpbw

Kingspan is always looking for new ways to encourage innovative thinking, and supporting the Rotman Design Challenge is one way of doing this. It is a unique event that empowers participants to flex their creative talents in a practical and supportive environment. Participating students will develop business solutions that will help the construction industry leverage digital tools and innovative strategies, for transformational change.
— Brian Glancy, Head of BIM Strategy for Kingspan Group

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The Challenge

On February 9 & 10, 2019 join us at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. At Rotman, we know that the mindsets and practices behind great design can be applied to solve business problems. Business design blends design methodologies and business acumen to identify broader opportunities, create new ideas and accelerate market success.

Hosted by the Business Design Club, the student-led club for design thinking at the Rotman School of Management, the Rotman Design Challenge (RDC) is the largest student-run international design case competition. RDC will change the way you approach problem solving. Build empathy, prototype, and solicit feedback to develop an impactful business strategy.

RDC provides you the opportunity to compete against top tier business & design schools. The challenge is open to masters-level students of any field. We hope you’ll join us!

What you are competing for:

  • 1st Place: CAD $10,000

  • 2nd Place: CAD $5,000

  • 3rd Place: CAD $3,000



Application Guidelines


1. Create a video (3 minutes max.)answering the following:
a. Tell us about your team.
b. Share a unique or fun fact about your team.
c. What company would greatly benefit with the application of business
design. Why and in what ways?
Note: Extra points for creativity!

2. Upload the video on YouTube. Ensure that it is viewable by anyone.

3. Fill-up the registration form and include the YouTube link: http://bit.ly/RDC2019

4. Please submit your team members’ resume to rotmandesignchallenge@rotman.utoronto.ca to be included in the resume book for potential employers.

5. Please pay the registration fee of C$400 per team here: http://paypal.me/rdc2018/400. Add your name and team name on the “Add a note” section. Please pay in the whole amount of $400 (NOT divided among members). We will offer refund to those who won’t get accepted into the competition.

Each team must be comprised of 4 to 6 masters-level students. We encourage MBA students to work with students from other graduate programs.

Note: Teams from the Rotman School of Management are required to include at least ONE (1) Business Design Club member.

We are looking for creativity, clarity and enthusiasm!

Deadline to register: January 10, 2019 @ 5PM Eastern Time



Past Challenges



Sponsor: Target
Winning school: Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Canada

How can TARGET leverage its Expect More. Pay Less® brand promise and its mantra of “Design for All” to become and be recognized as a leading company in sustainability?




Sponsor: Steelcase
Winning school: IIT Institute of Design, Chicago, USA

Describe how Steelcase, the world’s preeminent supplier of office furniture, and a company grounded in the research and understanding of user behavior, will continue to play to win in this evolving work environment over the next 20 years.



Sponsor: Fidelity Labs
Winning school: Booth School of Business, Chicago, USA

How might Fidelity Investments respond to shifting demographic dynamics and best meet the emerging needs of its customers?



Sponsor: Telus
Winning school: Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, USA

As the future of work is rapidly changing, how might TELUS develop, attract and retain top talent to achieve this aspiration over the next five years?



Sponsor: CIBC
Winning school: Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Canada

How can CIBC become a leader in financial planning for our clients by scaling beyond traditional channels, over the next 10 years?


sponsor: KinGSPAN
winning school: The new school parsons, new york, usa

Within the next 5-10 years, how can Kingspan the gloabl leader in high performance insulation and building envelope solutions, and a company committed to sustainability, disrupt its own business model to be the leader in the future of digital construction?


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January 10, 2019           

January 12, 2019

January 15, 2019            

February 7, 2019         

February 9 & 10, 2019       

 Team applications due (@ 5pm Eastern Time) 

Final Teams Announcement (Rolling Basis)

Case Launch

Presentations due (@ 5pm Eastern Time) 

RDC case competition weekend in Toronto, Canada

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Past Participating Schools

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RDC 2019 Winning Teams


The Pivots


Team 2.0


Design in Motion






Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto


105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 3E6 Canada



Contact Us

Name *

If you want your company to be the next sponsor for RDC 2020, please kindly email us at rotmandesignchallenge@rotman.utoronto.ca

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