IDIN Program Impact Report 2012-2016
The first International Development Design Summit (IDDS) was held at MIT in 2007. Then, as now, summits brought together diverse teams from around the globe to learn the design process and develop prototypes to address global development challenges, big and small.
One thing was clear: after summits ended, the momentum did not. Participants kept working on prototypes, launched social ventures, and shared what they had learned back home.
In 2012, the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) was created to build and support this growing network. IDIN is a consortium of US and international partners led by MIT D-Lab that supports activities to create a year-round, global ecosystem for innovation and collaboration.
IDIN is rooted in the idea of co-creation: that engaging communities as equal members of the design team can be an important pathway to creating sustainable and relevant solutions. We believe that the process of innovation is as important as the products of innovation. In other words, IDIN is not exclusively a technology or venture accelerator. Our program is about people, capacity building, and empowerment through collaborative design.
Today, IDIN connects more than 800 members to a robust ecosystem of training, resources, and mentorship that can create impact in two key ways: 1) by generating solutions to development challenges, and 2) by spreading the co-creation approach.
What We Have Achieved Together
Once a design summit is over, participants become members of the IDIN Network. IDIN connects its members to a global ecosystem of support, which includes funding, mentorship, student and faculty collaboration, workshop space, and digital sharing platforms. These resources help members continue developing their summit projects and advance other initiatives around the world.
Network members go on to design products, launch social ventures, open maker spaces, and organize design trainings and workshops.
At design summits, participants live, work, and play together to develop skills like problem framing, rapid prototyping, iterative design, and working in diverse teams.
Everyone as a problem-solver
At design summits, participants explore challenges in sectors such as health, waste, and education through the development of real-world projects. Although each summit is unique, nearly all participants say that the experience has been transformative.
Summits bring together people from all walks of life, connecting farmers to engineers, mothers to doctors, and waste pickers to government workers. Local community members begin to see themselves as capable, creative innovators, many for the first time. Experienced designers discover the value of empathy and the importance of learning from and working with users.
What kind of knowledge & skills do participants gain?
Aggregated data from IDDS Educacion, Amazon, Botswana, and Cookstoves (n=127).
13 design summits organized by
153 active solutions reaching
people around the world
12 consortium partners reaching
design training participants
How confident do you feel doing the following activities before and after IDDS?
(1= not at all confident, 5= very confident)
What do participants value most about design summits?
Building connections in the Network
Co-creating with local communities
Learning & practicing the design process
Working with diverse teams
Aggregated data from participants of nine design summits, 2014-2016 (n=284).
After attending a design summit, many of our Network members go on to develop products and launch social ventures that make an impact around the globe.
Entrepreneurs who make
Equipped with real-world experience in co-creation and design, our Network members develop solutions with communities rather than for communities.
IDIN provides three main kinds of support for product developers and designers in the Network: funding, mentorship, and technical support from university teams and partners. IDIN offers access to critical early-stage seed funding that is often difficult for new ventures to secure. Our three tiers of funding range from picogrants and microgrants for prototype development and user testing, to D-Lab Scale-Ups fellowships intended to help social enterprises ready themselves for investment.
IDIN-supported innovations have reached more than 514,420 people worldwide.
Invested in IDIN grantees
External investment post-IDIN funding
Data spans 2016.
How does IDIN support the development of products & social ventures?
Reported October 2016.
emerged from design summits
received grant funding
incubated in an innovation center
received support from student teams
The most common action IDIN Network members take after attending a summit is to teach what they have learned about co-creation to their own communities.
innovation centers run by IDIN members and partners
How do IDIN Network members spread the approach?
design trainings run by IDIN members & partners
of our Network members go on to teach what they have learned about co-creation and design to others*
participants in design trainings and workshops conducted by IDIN partners
*Survey of participants from IDDS Tanzania, Zero Waste, Aarogyam, and D'Kar (n=74).
The ripple effect
Inspired by the value of designing hand-in-hand with local communities, about two-thirds of IDIN Network members go on to teach what they have learned about design and co-creation to others. Network members spread the approach of co-creation in diverse ways: integrating it into university classes and programs, running design trainings, or founding maker spaces that seek to create social impact.
These maker spaces for social impact, or innovation centers, are local hubs for training, collaboration, and product incubation. IDIN supports these centers with funding, mentorship, curricula, and the creation of a community of practice comprised of innovation center leaders from around the world.