MIT D-Lab is working to meaningfully improve the lives of people living in poverty. The program’s mission is pursued through interdisciplinary research and courses, technology development, and community initiatives, all of which emphasize experiential learning, real-world projects, community-led development, scalability, and impact assessment.
Programs & Opportunities
D-Lab challenges and inspires talented students to use their math, science, engineering, social science, and business skills to tackle global poverty issues. D-Lab’s 20+ MIT courses include design courses as well as courses that cover the principles of creativity, collaborative design, cross-cultural dialogue, supply chain management, and business venture development. Many courses provide an option for fieldwork.
D-Lab’s research groups include Biomass Fuels and Cookstoves, Off-Grid Energy, Mobile Technology, Local Innovation and Development, and Lean Research.
International Development Innovation Network (IDIN)
IDIN is building an international network of innovators to design, develop, and disseminate low-cost technologies that alleviate poverty. IDIN holds multiple design summits around the world annually and provides a suite of support to its network of over 600 inventors and social entrepreneurs from more than 50 countries. IDIN, an international consortium, is led by D-Lab and supported by the U.S. Global Development Lab.
Launched in 2011 by D-Lab, the Scale-Ups program includes a fellowship program for social entrepreneurs, the Practical Impact Alliance, a research and action program, and co-hosts the annual MIT Scaling Development Ventures conference.
Creative Capacity Building (CCB)
CCB is a methodology that encourages and trains people to make technologies that generate income, improve health and safety, or save labor and time. At present, there are three main approaches to D-Lab’s implementation of Creative Capacity Building: Village-level Training; Community Innovation Centers; and the International Development Design Summit.
The D-Lab workshop, the heart and soul of D-Lab, is a place for D-Lab students, fellows, innovators-in-residence, and others to bring technologies for the developing world to life. The workshop includes a large collection of hand and power tools, steel fabrication and welding tools, an open shop with multiple workbenches, and a dedicated wood shop and long-term projects room.