International Development Innovation Network (IDIN)

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
















The MIT-led International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) has established a vibrant global network of innovators extending from village-level workshops to top research institutions to foster the work of local innovators, research and studies, and technology and venture design, to address major international development challenges. 

Through international design summits, the creation of local Innovation Hubs, a research program, and student engagement, IDIN is creating and nurturing a revolutionary network of non-traditional and university-based innovators.

IDIN Network

IDIN currently has a network of 350 innovators from around the world, all alumni of the International Development Design Summit (IDDS). The members of this network, from more than 20 countries on four continents, include students and teachers, professors and pastors, economists and engineers, masons and mechanics, doctors, welders, farmers, and community organizers. 

IDIN provides mechanisms that support communication and collaboration to realize the creative potential of the IDIN community to define and tackle critical development challenges. IDIN offers training, scholarships, and micro-grant funding to Network members to enable them to prototype technologies, move promising solutions forward, and incubate ventures to bring solutions to market at scale.

Down the line, USAID offices and other donors around the world will be able to benefit from the creativity of previously unknown innovators who understand the problems of their societies to increase development programs impact.

IDIN International Development Design Summits 

Over five years, IDIN will sponsor an annual international design summit and a series of shorter themed summits in the developing world. Summit participants work closely with local communities and local organizations to identify problems, ideate possible solutions, and develop prototypes. After the summits, communities continue to engage and provide feedback on prototypes and to host university students who travel to assist communities and local innovators in prototype iteration. 

Unlike most academic conferences, IDDS emphasizes the development of prototypes, not papers and proceedings. In moving the technologies on the path from idea to implementation to impact we aim to create real ventures, not just business plans. IDDS is part of the revolution in design that aims to encourage, promote, and build more research and development resources that focus on the needs of the world’s poor. IDDS draws inspiration from several current models of innovation, design and community empowerment: co-creation, cross-disciplinary collaborations and crowd sourcing.

IDIN Innovation Hubs

IDIN is in the process of creating Innovation Hubs, consisting of Local Chapters and community-led Innovation Centers, that will support and connect promising technologies and innovators to the resources and training necessary to bring solutions to local, regional, or global scale.

IDIN Local Chapters will serve as grassroots mechanisms for IDDS alumni to form their own local innovation and social enterprise networks. The goal of each local hub will be to spearhead communications and identify active opportunities for ongoing collaboration, resource sharing, and mentoring. Each Chapter will be engaged in keeping IDDS alumni information up to date, identifying local needs, and motivating past-participants to engage with the wider IDIN network. There are currently IDIN Local Chapters developing in Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Brazil, and Colombia.

Community-led Innovation Centers will serve as integrated maker-spacers, demonstration sites, training centers, and retail shops for appropriate technologies in centralized sites, augmented by small, satellite workshops in surrounding villages. Centers are up and running in Brazil, Tanzania, and Uganda with others being established in Zambia, India, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Nepal.


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) Office of Science and Technology (OST) Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN).