IDDS Steering Committee

Pleased to meet you! We’re the team behind the International Development Design Summits and we’re here to help.

Miguel Chaves is in love with the ability to bring ideas to life. The feeling of making something of the mind on concrete things in the real world, move his life. And your process for this is to build things and make dirty hands. Although he has a degree in engineering, he likes to have a designer way of life, where ever and ever the most important thing to a solution is to understand the people who are going to use this solution. He began to love social innovation even in the third year of college when spent a month living in a Brazilian Indian tribe. After that, through IDDS, he was involved in projects in Africa, Brazil and the United States. In free time, if he’s not dancing or listening to a boy band, he is watching intelligent / logical films or series.

Débora Leal

Debora is from Brazil, and in the last years has worked in partnership with organic producers in the Brazilian Amazon region. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Schumacher College, where her research is related to dialogue and new economics models for times of transition. Debora is passionate about organizing events, specially where is possible to be immersed in communities, and knowledge and skills be exchanged. She worked with technology for 15 years, graduated in Data Processing, post-graduated in System Analysis and MBA in Marketing. In the last four years, Debora has worked for programs of social development organized by D-Lab at MIT. Through this partnership, she has organized summits in the USA, Uganda, Tanzania, India, and Brazil. In 2016, she led a two-week design summit in the Brazilian Amazon region, combining ecological and technological design – some of the prototypes addressed challenges ranging from internet connectivity to fish farming. 

Benjamin Linder

Dr. Linder’s teaching and research efforts are focused on sustainable design, international development, and human-centered design. These efforts are directed at developing techniques and approaches that further a more ecologically connected and socially just design practice. He investigates the role people, products and firms have in the realization of sustainable communities with an emphasis on local innovation, collaboration, and collective action.

Thabiso “Blak” Mashaba

Thabiso is a 31 year old strategist, cultural economist, policy maker, development practitioner and social entrepreneur. He is a commissioned member of the Botswana Human Resource Development Council's, Creative Industries Sector Committee and also serves in the Committee’s Technical Working Group. “Blak” was a participant at IDDS Zambia 2013, Lead Organizer of IDDS Dkar 2015, Lead Organizer of IDDS Botswana 2016, Lead Communications Organizer for IDDS Sisaket in Thailand, and now Lead Organizer for IDDS Botswana 2018. He is also Co-Founder and CEO of These Hands Global, Social and Sustainable Enterprise. These Hands GSSE (PTY) LTD is a global for profit social enterprise start-up based in Botswana, which supports rural community innovators and entrepreneurs in developing countries. As an enabler for international development work, they have also developed a social media platform that is dedicated to international development and co-creative design work and does not require internet to use. They are currently on incubation at the Botswana Innovation Hub’s First Steps Venture Centre (BIH FSVC). These Hands GSSE is also implementation partner and rural innovation center partner of the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab for Botswana.

Pedro Reynolds-Cuellar

Pedro is a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab working with the Personal Robots Group. Previously to Media Lab, Pedro worked at D-Lab for three years teaching the D-Lab: Education and D-Lab: Waste classes. Pedro become a part of IDDS in 2015 as the Lead Organizer of IDDS Zero Waste and continued to do so every year since then as the Lead Organizer for IDDS Education 2016, IDDS Climate Change Adaptation 2017, and IDDS New Coastal Territories 2018. Pedro is also the co-founder and Creative Director of C-Innova, one the IDIN-affiliated innovation centers, founded in Colombia in 2015.

Amy Smith

Amy Smith is a senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at MIT and the founding director of MIT D-Lab. She served in the US Peace Corps in Botswana and has also done field work in Senegal, South Africa, Nepal, Haiti, Honduras, Uganda, Ghana and Zambia. She won the BF Goodrich Collegiate Inventor's Award and the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Invention for her work in creating technologies to improve the lives of people living in poverty. In 2002, she founded MIT D-Lab, a program which focuses on the development, design, and dissemination of appropriate technologies for international development. She also founded the International Development Innovation Network at MIT, the Innovations in International Health program, and the International Development Design Summit.

Debbie Tien has the pleasure of working with a number of IDDS alumni on the Twende team as well as discussing and collaborating with countless IDDS alumni around the world. She has been honored to be part of three IDDSs in the past: 2014 Arusha in Tanzania, 2016 Lahore in Pakistan, and IDDS Sisaket in Thailand!  She's jazzed to chat anything IDDS, especially related to sustainability of organizer and community relationships, social justice and equity, and of course, strategies for the global movement of grassroots social innovators. Karibu Twende, on your next trip to Arusha, Tanzania :)