Co-Design Summits

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Co-Design Summits bring together diverse actors to collaboratively prototype solutions to poverty-related challenges.

Co-Design Summits (CDS) are week-long hands-on, co-creation workshops inspired by the International Development Design Summits (IDDS).  Co-Design Summits bring together diverse actors to understand complex poverty-related challenges and co-create prototypes together.  Co-Design Summits focus on building relationships between sector actors and co-creating technical, service-based, or systems-level solutions to development challenges in a particular region.   

A typical Co-Design Summit includes 25 to 50 participants divided into 5-8 design teams. Each team, supported by 1-2 experienced facilitators, features participants from diverse perspectives and backgrounds, including government, industry, international NGOs, social enterprises, and local users.

Prior to the Co-Design Summit, the local host organization works with D-Lab to research and appropriately scope challenges and opportunities for each design team to explore during the course of the week-long summit, and to recruit and prepare the right group of diverse participants.

During the summit, these participants work together in teams to apply D-Lab’s co-design methodology to their specific challenge, beginning by immersing themselves in the local context, learning about the local strengths, assets, challenges, and opportunities. The team members then work to imagine different possible innovative ways to address the challenge, building on the local strengths, and then select one idea to prototype and test with local stakeholders. By the end of the workshop, participants leave with new methods they can apply to challenges in their own work, strong new relationships, and new ideas for innovative approaches they can bring home to their own communities.  

Past Co-Design Summits


Nancy Adams, MIT D-Lab Communications Officer