Bringing the World to Innovation

Published in MIT News on Nov 8, 2012 by David Chandler

Amy Smith demonstrates a charcoal burn to students. Photo: Nathan CookeA decade ago, in the early days of the innovative MIT classes and field trips known collectively as D-Lab, the project aimed to develop creative solutions to problems facing people in the world’s least-affluent countries — and then hoped those residents would embrace the solutions. But over the years, with the accumulation of on-the-ground experience, D-Lab’s philosophy has shifted toward fostering a spirit of innovation in the developing world, encouraging residents to devise solutions that fit their needs, circumstances and resources.

Now, thanks to a major new U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant to D-Lab and MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, D-Lab’s instructors and researchers will implement this strategy even more broadly — providing greater continuity to projects around the world, says D-Lab founder Amy Smith, a senior lecturer in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering...

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