What is xlab?

xLab is a center at the Weatherhead School of Management dedicated to partnering multidisciplinary students and faculty throughout the campus of Case Western Reserve University with companies from around the world to help those companies understand, adopt and implement digital innovation initiatives in their organizations.

FAQs for Companies

All of our projects are centered around digital innovation-which is a large space! We have worked on projects in transportation, insurance, software, government, electronics and more. Some of our projects are research-focused; others involve conceptualizing or even building technology for our clients. Visit our Partner with xLab page to learn more about the different types of projects we do.

Projects typically span one semester (15 weeks) but may extend into a new semester as part of a Phase 2. Additional phases of a project are mutually agreed upon by xLab and its client.

All of our projects are carried out by Case Western Reserve University students, with the guidance of a Case Western Reserve faculty member and an industry expert mentor or “coach.” Students come from all majors across the campus. They include both graduate and undergraduate students. The exact composition of students for each project depends on the nature and the scope of the project. Typically, each project has a team of six students.

Yes. The cost typically depends on the project and how the company decides to partner with xLab. The money is used to pay for any materials necessary for the project, as well as faculty, staff and student compensation.

Companies typically partner with xLab in one of two ways-either on an individual project basis, or as a member of xLab.

Contracting with xLab to do a project is exactly that-we will work with you on a project of your choosing. At the end of the project, your company will own the intellectual property (IP) from the project

Companies that choose to become members of xLab also receive discounts on executive education courses, private invitations to members-only events with the speakers from our Quarterly Roundtables, and free or discounted registration to the Digital Futures Conference, in addition to a digital project. Members retain all IP from their project.

FAQs for Students

Students who are at a sophomore grade-level or higher can apply to be on an xLab project team. If you are selected, you can register for a for-credit course, either DESN 501 or CSDS 601. Students typically earn three credits for the class

Most students will work on an xLab sponsored project as part of a class, either DESN 501 or CSDS 601. Occasionally a project extends beyond the semester, or a company is interested in continuing a project into a Phase 2. In those cases, some students from the project may be hired as xLab fellows.

Students must be a sophomore standing or higher. Most of our projects require some technology and/or project management skills, so many of our students tend to have an engineering or business background. xLab projects often involve a human-centered design approach. So, we prefer students who have prior experience in human-centered design. We also look for students who have backgrounds in coding, UX design, and data science. But as we grow and continue to attract new and exciting projects, we hope to expand our student reach to more diverse majors and interests. You let us know why we should include you in our project!

Sometimes! Working with an outside company on a real-world digital innovation project is a great addition to your resume and can help you build relationships and network with people in the industry-all of which can help you land your next internship or job. xLab itself is not directly involved with career placement for its students.

First, you get to work on a really cool, cutting-edge, real-world project. You will learn a lot from the project and you can put it on your resume. Second, xLab works a lot with companies and professionals. You will have a lot of chances to network with them through your participation in xLab. Companies bring their HR team to look for potential interns from xLab projects. So you will be at the front of the line.

We meet typically twice a week, a total of three hours a week. These are not typical classes, but project meetings. We either meet in person at the Design Studio at Peter B. Lewis Building or via Zoom. We also expect students to work on their own part of the project and have separate small team meetings among themselves, outside of these three hours. Overall, students spend five to six hours per week on xLab projects, although it changes throughout the semester. Also, we do not necessarily meet every week, even though we ask people to keep themselves available at the scheduled time (twice a week) so that we can meet if necessary.