External Partnerships

  • External Partnerships New

  • Parsons Design Lab

    Industry partnerships and support are vital to Parsons, ensuring that a Parsons education fuses innovative exploration with real-world application. Our commitment to innovation, sustainability, aesthetics, and skilled craftsmanship governs partnerships. Interdisciplinary teams with students drawn from across Parsons’ five schools capitalize on the school’s full complement of expertise to generate innovative and creative solutions to your most compelling challenges. Competitions, Hackathons, & Brainstorming Sessions offer a short-term, intensive engagement to source early stage ideas. Course Collabs allow for a semester long engagement with a design challenge. The Parsons Design Lab conducts in-depth design research to generate advanced prototypes and plans. 

    Competitions, Hackathons, & Brainstorming

    Competitions, hackathons, and brainstorming sessions generate a large number of early concepts and rough prototypes. These short-term, intensive engagements allow companies to source emerging ideas and access the creative insight of millennials.


    Design competitions allow partners to outline a focused design challenge. Any interested student may submit work for consideration. Competitions allow students a few weeks from launch to submission, providing time for thorough consideration.


    Brainstorming sessions provide an opportunity for company teams to work closely with students and faculty. Groups of students from one or more programs join company representatives to respond to a partner’s design challenge. These short, focused, highly structured sessions culminate in verbal and visual presentations.


    Hackathons run from one to three days and allow companies to source a broad range of ideas. Hackathon sponsors work with faculty to create a design challenge. Students then generate early ideas and rough prototypes.

    Course Collabs

    Course Collabs

    Collab classes allow for in-depth research on a design problem. During the collab, an entire class is devoted to your design challenge for up to a semester, often engaging students from one or more academic programs. All students in the course develop work in response to the design challenge, either individually or in teams.

    Courses run for 15 weeks. The extended length of a company’s engagement allows multiple opportunities for you and your team to engage with students and the design innovation process.

    Research Labs in the Parsons Design Lab

    The Parsons Design Lab (PDL) provides partners with an exclusive level of partnership. Its flexibility and focus on corporate partnership allows the Design Lab to function like an entrepreneurial unit within Parsons. The PDL will develop a focused research lab that will work with you to:

    • Access innovation to invigorate product lines and marketing
    • Design products, systems, and services that move the market forward
    • Rethink business processes, practices, and supply chains
    • Find emerging designers who are next generation leaders

    The design lab conducts in-depth research to generate advanced prototypes and plans. Because the research project may run across multiple semesters and years, the program length allows for a comprehensive and systematic inquiry into research questions.

    “How people and products interact is changing rapidly… By partnering with Parsons, [companies are] engaging with our students’ creative and innovative approaches to design viable solutions.”

    - Burak Cakmak, Dean of Fashion, Parsons School of Design

    How Parsons Works with Partners

    Discovery & Research

    Human centered design research places the user at center of the design & innovation process and integrates empathic & analytic methods. It employs ethnographic & systems thinking tools, along with quantitative analysis, to frame the system and key challenges.

    Design & Prototyping

    Parsons will undertake an iterative process of ideation, prototyping, and testing. Ideation techniques will harness collective knowledge/ perspectives and open up areas for exploration. Multiple iterations of prototyping and testing will deepen understanding and support concept development.

    Blueprint for Implementation

    The research team will produce a product and/or program that reflects a clarity of vision and provides a blueprint for implementation and execution. This may include use cases, product ideas, new consumer experiences, branding strategies, marketing plans or more.