Designing Handoffs Lesson

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 6-14-2022


Thayer School of Engineering


In courses and programs with community-sponsored or industry-sponsored projects, the handoff between the design team and the sponsoring partner is a particularly vulnerable transition. Innovations with the potential for impact fail shortly after the handoff for myriad reasons, including: inadequate resource allocation (time, money, skills); no clear institutional champion; inadequate institutional will to see the concept through further trial, iteration, and growth; and more. What might it look like to design the handoff? This lesson prompts design students (high school through graduate school) to begin a design project within a design project: to empathize with the handoff’s stakeholders; to define the handoff’s key needs and opportunities; to ideate novel handoff artifacts, strategies, and processes; to prototype improvements to their intended handoff strategy; and to test these strategies before the class or program ends so they can make adjustments and improvements.


Designing Handoffs Lesson © 2022 by Ava Ori, Anthony Fosu, Nitya Agarwala & Rafe Steinhauer is licensed under CC BY 4.0. This lesson was created at Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering in Prof. Rafe’s Steinhauer’s Studio for Emergent Education Design. It was funded by the Design Initiative at Dartmouth (DIAD). All questions can be directed to: rafe.h.steinhauer@dartmouth.edu