Who can participate?

You! Do you have a passion for white spaces and blue skies? Do you like to imagine, make, and collaborate? And does the budding cannabis industry pique your interest? You should participate!

What does participating entail?

To participate, you have to be here for the entirety of the event. This includes both Friday evening's kick off and all day Saturday. Once you're here, you'll ideate and come up with awesome ideas!

What do we expect you to create?

You must create a prototype. The type of prototype you create is up to you. You may create a visualized storyboard, a physical prototype or any other method that will bring your idea to life. Be creative!

Do I have to come with a team?

Nope!  You may apply with a team or we'll match you up with a group of diverse participants. 

I don't live in New York. Can I still participate?

Absolutely! But in order to participate, you will have to come to New York for that weekend, as we require that all participants be on site for the entirety of the event. We will not subsidize or reimburse travel. 

Can I do research before?

Yes, please do! We will send an industry overview to all accepted participants. We have also put together a collection of relevant articles that you can find on our resources page, which we will be updating until happy hour on September 23rd. To understand the industry further, you may do your own desktop research, talk to cannabis users and experts, or anything else you can imagine. 

Can I start working before the event?

Aside from doing your research, no. To make the competition fair for all, we are not releasing the specific design prompts until happy hour on September 23rd, which means that you may not start working on your idea in advance. Any previously created mockups, code, or prototypes are not allowed. 

How will my ideas be evaluated?

Relevance, desirability, feasibility, viability. Your ideas will be evaluated based on how well your idea addresses the needs of the end-user and would appeal to them, how feasible the idea is to bring to market, and how viable and scaleable it would be in the long term.

Will my ideas be protected intellectual property?

Because of the nature of the event, no. This is a makeathon with the potential for press coverage, and as such, everything that is created here will be available to the public. What this means is that any ideas created on site are not protected IP.

Sounds fun. Can I bring my stash?

Definitely not!!! Because of the legal status of cannabis in New York State, cannabis is not allowed on the premises of the event. 

what we'll provide

Background research and industry news

This is by no means fully comprehensive, but we think it’s a good start. You can find a collection of articles in our resources section of the website, and we will provide an industry overview document to all participants. Feel free to do your own research as well.


In addition to the user profiles provided in this document, we’ll have a few cannabis users on site Saturday morning for you to interview. 

Industry experts

We will have industry and design experts on site to provide inspiration and perspective. Some will also be wandering around to answer questions throughout the day and provide guidance and recommendations. Again, these experts only represent a small sample so feel free to conduct your own industry research.

Prototyping materials

We will have a variety of materials ranging from post-its and sharpies to low-fi physical prototyping materials. We encourage you to think outside the box in how you visualize your idea.

What happens if you win?

Each member of the winning team will receive $500

Your idea will be featured on Smart Design’s website


Too far? Well, at the very least we can promise you'll walk away inspired, having worked on an interesting and provocative challenge with top-tier designers, strategists, and innovators