In teaching a product design laboratory course in an engineering design department, it is desirable for students to be able to build products to appreciate design theory, the need for requirement elicitation, concept ranking, functional and conceptual decomposition and other related concepts. This allows them to understand the design life cycle and also provides a sense of accomplishment when they develop a product hands-on. It also becomes eminent to appreciate adaptive design and design with constraints for an existing product. We experimented by inviting industry collaborators to share their design problems and let students brainstorm and come up with solutions for the same. This paper will discuss our experiences on such an experiment over multiple years. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2019.