Whether at the third grade or college level, group or individual projects are far from a new idea. Traditionally though, the collaboration, the brainstorming, the action — all of the thought and hard work — ends abruptly with the due date of the assignment. Even the best ideas usually live and die in that vacuum, never to see the light of day or real implementation.

Crowdfunding, however, has provided an opportunity for these same projects to have a logical next step, a second life. What if, rather than just being an assignment, class projects of any size were not just thought up, but also shared with the world, if not fully put into motion? What if students were encouraged to crowdfund their idea and make it come to life?

That’s exactly what Christopher Ireland is doing with his Business of Design class at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. The class has been broken into groups of four and asked to each come up with a startup concept that can help resolve an existing problem. Each team then created an Indiegogo campaign for their concept as part of a competition — the team with the most unique contributors wins. The money raised is being donated directly to Architecture for Humanity, which provides nonprofit design services.

Though the core of this particular assignment is to test the market value of an idea via crowdfunding (and raise money for a great nonprofit), there’s nothing stopping educators and students from using Indiegogo to complete the full lifecycle of an entrepreneurial or creative project — and we certainly hope to see some of these projects from CCA come to life soon:


A sensor that monitors your plant’s well-being and allows you to create a persona for it via a smartphone app.


A way to help people save a percentage of their income for future, large expenses.


This team tried to make it easier and less stressful for young families to travel together.


The Friendly Open House Finder” tries to improve upon the overwhelming models of Craigslist and Padmapper to create a real-time, location-based apartment-hunting app.

This service looks to shift the view on “disabilities” to “different-abilities” by finding employment opportunities for those biased against in traditional job markets.


Postpartum no more! This team wants to provide tools to new parents to help them regain balance with their emotions.


An app that lets you make bets with your friends with real money!


Using algorithms similar to those of online dating websites, this tool connects designers with business partners.


Want to find out about other ways crowdfunding is being used in the classroom? Tweet at our Education lead at @IndiegogoEdu! Indiegogo is also HIRING DESIGNERS!