The Laboraory of Dialogue, Design, Dissemination and Development, D-Lab is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT since 2007. Its founder Amy Smith has received honors including a MacArthur Fellowship, Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (2010), and Business Week’s Week World’s Most Influential Designers (2010). She is also the principal founder of the Creative Cappacity Building Methodology, CCB, and the International Development Design Summits, IDDS.
MIT D-Lab works with people around the world to develop and advance collaborative approaches and practical solutions to global poverty challenges
The mission is pursued through our academics program of more than 20 MIT classes and student research and fieldwork opportunities; our research groups spanning a variety of sectors and approaches; and a group of participatory innovation programs we call innovation practice.
D-Lab approaches international development with a design mindset, as is reflected in our guiding principles:
- Use inclusive practices when designing FOR people living in poverty
- Engage in effective co-creation when designing WITH people living in poverty
- Build confidence and capacity to promote design BY people living in poverty
In following these principles, MIT D-Lab is re-thinking the role of technology and design in development, has empowered thousands to address the daily challenges of poverty through design, prototyping, production, and social entrepreneurship, and is reshaping the way that development is practiced.
We believe in the power of PARTICIPATION and actively engage people in the process of creating PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS to the challenges they face.
We strive to work with INTEGRITY, HUMILITY, and RESPECT, and to maintain an OPTIMISTIC BELIEF that we can do something to create a better world defined by equitable opportunity, not by poverty.
We pursue this work with a commitment to EXCELLENCE, to good STEWARDSHIP of the resources we use, to ACCOUNTABILITY for achieving measurable and durable impact, and to taking JOY in the opportunity to collectively build a better world.
We are committed to CREATIVITY, DIVERSITY, and INCLUSION in our work environment and our community, to constant LEARNING and honest COMMUNICATION, and to continuous IMPROVEMENT of our programs, products, and partnerships.
D-Lab: Development is part of a collection of courses and field trips that prepare students to respond to the basic needs of low-income households and communities in developing nations with technological solutions that are simple, inexpensive, ecologically sustainable, and able to be implemented within the local context. This course introduces current and historical theories of development practice and explores several technological innovations that enhance the quality oflife in these communities. The course also prepares students to focus on specific issues, such the need for potable water, low-cost agricultural processing equipment, basic sanitation, and affordable energy, specifically in communities where students will travel during IAP. Students will develop working relationships with partnering institutions in developing nations to ensure that the field trips provide both a learning opportunity and an international social network to test the viability of technological solutions jointly crafted by the students and the hosting communities.
• Gain awareness of communities in the developing world and the technical challenges they face
• Learn about appropriate technologies for developing communities, their impact, and how they can be conceived, designed, and implemented
• Understand the role MIT can play in helping and advancing developing communities throughout the world
• Learn the hands-on skills required to implement selected development projects
• Develop an understanding of the principles of creative capacity building
• Gain exposure to the culture, history, economic, and developmental state of the host countries
• Work with community organizations to prepare projects for the IAP field trips