Saturday, May 01, 2010

More IDDS 2010 Info

There are 67 days until the fourth annual International Development and Design Summit starts at Colorado State University. We have picked teams, accepted participants, and are spending a lot of time getting ready. It was exciting to see Amy Smith, who started IDDS and is our grand pooh bear, get recognized in the TIME 100 this week. But all of us are even more excited by the potential of the IDDS 50- the 50 participants from around the world who will be coming to CSU for the month of July.

For those of you who are DR100 fans, which is Paul Polak's idea of getting "Design for the Other 90%" courses and programs at 100 universities around the world, we are going to have some good news on that front soon too. I will keep you posted when I can say more. But tell your favorite design, engineering and business profs to block July 28-31... just in case something is going on then.

Lots of people have been asking me about what IDDS is, so here is some more information about IDDS- I have included links to the teams' websites where possible. If it reads a little like a press release, what can I say? Oh, and I will use twitter to update with #idds10. So now, when someone asks about IDDS, I can just say: "IDDS? Just check my blog and add #idds10 in twitter app." Or not.

"Imagine a team of top engineers, doctors and scientists working on a breast milk filter to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies. Now imagine that two African women, who work with HIV patients daily in community health centers and schools, join the team. For over 3 weeks, they learn together, work together, eat together, and live together. Now imagine a community of 10 such teams recruited from around the world, working with experienced faculty, practitioners, and mentors, each tackling an important problem facing the world’s poor. Each team designing a solution involving a scalable technology and a sustainable enterprise. This is the vision for this year’s International Development Design Summit."

The International Development Design Summit (IDDS) is an annual, multi-week, intense hands-on design experience that brings together people from all over the world and all walks of life to work on projects to improve the lives of people living in poverty. We held the first summit at MIT in the summer of 2007, as well as the second in 2008. The following year, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology hosted the summit in Ghana, where we were able to practice co-creation and work in villages in the surrounding area. For this year’s event, the focus has shifted from the creation of technologies to their dissemination. Co-sponsors MIT, Franklin W. Olin College, and Cooper Perkins will be joined by the 2010 host institution, Colorado State University, in developing and implementing the curriculum.

In addition to the dissemination focus of the 2010 program, a group of prior participants and faculty will work to envision future directions for IDDS while learning first-hand about the organization, culture and operation of the summit. This effort will allow the program to respond to growing demand, reach more participants more efficiently, and build relationships with other universities.

Over the past 3 years, we have grown the IDDS community to a substantial size with more than 150 participants from dozens of countries, inspired numerous participants through design, and developed many promising prototypes and projects. In 2010, we are emphasizing the creation of ventures and the production and distribution of products. Innovations to improve the lives of people living in poverty often require new business models, whether for profit or non-profit, in addition to new technology to be successful. The following projects will be hosted at this summit to develop sustainable enterprise models and plans for product production and launch:

AYZH (India): an IDDS spin-off that disseminates appropriate technologies, including a home water filtration unit and a birthing kit for mid-wives, to improve the lives of women in India.

Fuel from the Fields (Haiti/Rwanda): a project that creates micro-enterprises that produce clean-burning cooking fuel from agricultural waste materials.

Lo Chlorine (India/East Africa): an IDDS project for producing chlorine and dispensing it accurately to provide safe drinking water.

Solar Innovations Organization (Brazil): a project founded by an IDDS organizer to use solar technology to improve the lives of the urban poor.

Running Water (Kenya): an enterprise committed to using sustainable business models to bring clean water solutions to communities in Kenya.

Just Milk (Africa): an IDDS project that seeks to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS from breastfeeding mothers to their children.

SEED (Bangladesh/India): a venture that will provide affordable irrigation products for small plot farmers in Bangladesh and India.

ABARI (Nepal): a project for a low-cost treatment of bamboo to improve its performance as a construction material.

Sollys Lighting (India/Ghana): a collaborative effort of former IDDS participants from India and Ghana to provide low-cost solar lighting to rural communities.

Hippo Roller (South Africa/Ghana): a water-carrying device to reduce the work-load required to fetch water.

Each of these projects has had some success already, and IDDS 2010 will work to help them move forward and scale up. The distinguishing feature of IDDS will remain the same as in previous summits: diverse, multi-disciplinary teams will work on projects under the mentorship of international leaders in both technology and business development. In addition to internationally regarded faculty, a number of practitioners including designers, engineers, investors, and executives from design firms, development organizations, and start up ventures will be participating. The tradition of holding community events will also continue to more broadly inform others of the role innovation can play in addressing global poverty."

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