International Development Innovation Network (IDIN)

A global network of local innovators using technology to address issues facing people living in poverty












Look out for the new IDIN website coming this fall at www.idin.org

The International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) empowers a diverse, global network of innovators to design, develop, and disseminate low-cost technologies to alleviate poverty. IDIN is a consortium of university and partners led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded by the US Agency for International Development's Global Development Lab.

IDIN fosters and supports its network through a variety of channels including design summits, local innovation centers, a research program, and student engagement. 

IDIN Network

The IDIN network is made up of more than 350 innovators from nearly 50 countries worldwide, all alumni of the International Development Design Summits (IDDS). IDIN’s network is incredible diverse, including changemakers of different nationalities, religions, occupations, socioeconomic status, and gender. The network’s innovators are professors, pastors, economists, engineers, mechanics, doctors, students, welders, farmers, and community organizers. 

IDIN supports communication and collaboration to help the network and communities tackle critical development challenges like water insecurity, food shortages, and threats to public health. IDIN offers access to targeted mentoring and partnerships, training, scholarships, and microgrants to network members so they can prototype low-cost technologies, move promising solutions forward, and build ventures that can succeed on a wider market.

Read more about past IDIN microgrants recipients: 

    IDIN International Development Design Summits

    In 2007, MIT began hosting annual International Development Design Summits (IDDS) guided by the idea that people living in poverty are creative and capable of designing solutions to change their own futures.

    Today, IDIN continues to organize annual IDDS summits and shorter, themed summits throughout Africa, Asia, Central and South America as well as provide support to the growing network of IDDS alumni. Unlike most academic conferences, IDDS emphasizes the development of prototypes, not papers. Summit participants work closely with local communities to identify problems, find solutions, and develop real prototypes.

    At the end of a summit, communities provide feedback on prototypes and later host university students who assist local innovators in refining those prototypes. The most promising technologies developed at summits head down an innovation pipeline that takes ideas through implementation and some receive IDIN grants.

    IDIN is part of a revolution in design that believes in empowering the world’s poor by working hand-in-hand with their communities, and dedicating research and development resources to meeting their self-identified needs.


    IDIN Innovation Centers

    IDIN also builds and supports community-led innovation centers that connect promising technologies and innovators to the resources and training they need to bring solutions to scale. Community-led innovation centers can take different forms as maker spaces, demonstration sites, training centers, or retail shops for low-cost technologies. Centers are up and running in Brazil, Tanzania, and Uganda, with others being established in Zambia, India, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Nepal.

    Together with local IDIN chapters, innovation centers become local innovation hubs. IDIN local chapters are a grassroots opportunity for IDDS alumni and other innovators to form their own social enterprise networks. Local chapters spearhead communications and identify opportunities for collaboration, resource sharing, and mentoring. 

    IDIN Research

    IDIN is also building a rigorous, interdisiplinary research program to increase understanding of local innovation and how it contributes to community wellbeing and sustainable development. IDIN research will generate knowledge informing how development organizations, donors, and governments can best approach the major development challenges of our time.

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    Located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), IDIN is a five-year cooperative agreement with the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Global Development Lab.