Co-Design Summits

D-Lab WASH Co-Design Summit with Population Services International, Ethiopia, 2018.
D-Lab WASH Co-Design Summit with Population Services International, Ethiopia, 2018.

Locally hosted workshops that bring together MIT D-Lab students, local end-users, local implementers, and specific sector actors to collaboratively frame problems and prototype solutions to locally relevant poverty-related challenges.

 

Co-design Summits (CDS) are five to ten day, hands-on, co-creation workshops inspired by the International Development Design Summits that D-Lab has helped grow since 2007. While IDDS is open to anyone, MIT D-Lab Co-Design Summits are geared towards bringing together design teams comprised of MIT students or Practical Impact Alliance members along with local users, makers or artisans, local implementers, and sectoral experts relevant to the theme of the summit. Co-Design Summits are not one-off events, but are catalytic experiences within longer term, community-driven initiatives that promote community inclusion and impact.

 Co-Design Summits are hosted by a local implementing partner, facilitated by MIT D-Lab instructors, and consist of 20-40 participants who work on one of 4-8 project teams. Given the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of participants, each team is supported by an IDIN design facilitator and, when necessary, a translator.  

Co-Design Summit takeaways

Though individual takeaways vary per summit and per person, participants report leaving Co-Design Summits with:

  • A hands-on process for participatory design with diverse teams
  • A deeper understanding of sector challenges and opportunities
  • Increased self-confidence in problem-solving 
  • Specific building or making skills 
  • Experience working with locally available materials
  • Exposure to accessible technologies that are relevant to the local context
  • Increased cross-cultural and cross-sectoral understanding 
  • New connections with other key actors in the local innovation ecosystem 

A typical Co-Design Summit is hosted by a local implementing partner, facilitated by MIT D-Lab instructors and consists of 20 to 40 participants who work on one of 4 to 8 project teams. Given the diversity of background and experience of participants, each team is supported by a design facilitator and, when necessary, a translator.  

Example Implementers + Prototypes Co-Created at a Co-Design Summit

GHANA WITH KNUST

  • Cultivation, Processing, and Sales of Local Crops
  • Community Recycling Systems
  • Last-Mile Retail Enhancement
  • Science Education Kits
  • Fuel/Energy from Plastic Waste
  • Credit and Financial Services for Farmers.    

ZAMBIA WITH WORLD VISION

  • Mango Butter + Compost Product
  • Community Education Campaign
  • Savings and Nutrition Plan for Children
  • Rain Harvesting + Automated Chlorine Dispense System
  • Farm Doctor mobile app
  • Durable cement slab for bus stations    

COLOMBIA WITH WORLD VISION

  • Local Water Distribution Model
  • Rail and Cable System for Crop Harvests
  • Recipe book for Cooking with Excess Harvest Material
  • Volunteer Program for improving Community Education
  • Bricks + tile machines from plastic waste  

ETHIOPIA WITH PSI-ETHIOPIA

  •   Low-Cost slab made with local bamboo
  • Pit digging tool for females
  • Low-cost handwashing station
  • Adjustable infant chair for latrine
  • Push-Po outdoor child toilet
  • Bamboo + Rain Harvesting latrine Superstructure

Post Co-Design Summit Support

Co-Design summits are only the beginning of the inclusive innovation process. To ensure a sustainable ecosystem where innovation can continue to grow, it is critical to support the innovators and innovations after a co-design summit with small-scale funding, a space for co-creation, and technical assistance. D-Lab works with local partners to design these ongoing efforts, which may include providing mentoring, technical assistance, tools, materials, micro-loans, community meetings, and events, and/or community workshop space. 

Outcomes of Co-Design Summits

Specific outcomes of a Co-Design Summit vary by context and participant, but in general, we have seen participants take one or more of the following actions afterward:

  • Apply and/or re-teach the design process and methods
  • Continue to build the product they started at the summit or start building a new one
  • Start a new job or research in the sector that the summit focused on
  • Get involved in an innovator community and collaborate with other alumni

 


Contact

Sher Vogel, Global Trainings Manager