While I was at student at Olin College, I started a tradition of organizing other students into weekend-long Design Challenges. We would pick a weekend, pick an type of thing to build, and split up into teams to accomplish that task in 24-48 hours. After graduating, I really wanted to recreate that type of event as a public competition, and thus were born Artisan’s Asylum Design Challenges. The first-ever Design Challenge involved building fully-functional hovercraft in 48 hours, then racing them around a large track that included a jump.

The kits included motors that were unfortunately underpowered, but some teams overcame the underpowered motors to successfully complete the course, and everyone had a blast. The challenge was a very effective team building exercise, introducing the competitors to new technologies and design and engineering skills in the process.