dLab is an innovative education program that is creating a disruptive model for higher education curriculum centered around interdisciplinary project-based learning.

dLab- 2018 Awardee

dLab brings together students and faculty from 5 departments (Architecture, Design, Civil Engineering, Business and Advertising) to engage in a project-based curriculum (16 credit hours per semester) for one academic year. Together they unite around a social challenge, test and develop real solutions, and  start creating deep social impact. The programme combines an applied innovation methodology with an interdisciplinary approach, and the final products are practical solutions to real social problems.

A highly competitive, globalized and technologically advanced society creates the need to adapt quickly and always maintain a change-oriented mindset. dLab is a program that offers and delivers diverse skills to its students so that they can be true changemakers and generate a positive social impact. dLab has served as an innovation laboratory to develop new teaching methodologies and test new ways of cross faculty collaboration.


Program Design

How long did it take to launch the first iteration of this program?

  • 3 months

How much annual funding do you receive for the program?

  • More than $15,000

The key players, strategists and supporters involved in creation and implementation include:

  • Staff
  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Alumni
  • Community members

The program is designed to impact:

  • Faculty
  • Students



The multi-layer innovations introduced into dLab over the years have taken it far beyond simply teaching design thinking. Students must generate learning and experimental spaces for widely diverse student teams to cooperate and iterate, while maintaining constant communication with their peers, tutors and end users. Not only do the students learn key skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century, but they are creating synergy and special social value for partners over the years.

In 2013, an academic research study was carried out by professors from UDD (peer reviewed and subsequently published) to measure the progress of the students. The study identified three highly developed skills among dLab students:

  • Conflict management: Students were able to community and resolve conflicts in adverse situations
  • Grit: Students possessed a high level of tolerance to frustration  
  • Initiative: Students demonstrated increased pro-activity.

“Oliber”, one of the projects that emerged from the dLab, has received numerous recognition and awards, as well as an outstanding participation in Silicon Valley’s International Business Model Competition (IBMC) in 2017. The impact generated from “Oliber” is thanks to the quality of the interdisciplinary team behind it and the skills developed during the dLab program.


For more information, contact:

Paul O’Toole
Executive Director, iCubo

[email protected]

Innovation Awards

Ashoka U seeks to recognize globally relevant teaching, learning, and partnership practices that may be adapted and replicated across the field.


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