International Development Design Summits

International Development Design Summits (IDDS) are intense, hands-on, community-based design trainings that bring together a diverse group of people to teach them the co-creative design process and how to prototype low-cost technological solutions to improve livelihoods of people living in poverty.

Summits emphasize the importance of “co-creation,” the idea that working with communities is more powerful than designing solutions for them. During a summit, participants work in teams with community members from developing countries, learn the design cycle, identify problems and solutions, and test prototypes.

Design summits can last two weeks or a month and typically take place in a developing country. Two-week summits delve into a specific topic such as urban waste systems and develop innovative ideas and proposals, while month-long summits address broad topics like agriculture, health, and education and result in viable prototypes. 

After a summit is over, IDDS participants become a part of the growing IDIN Network. Some continue to work on projects from the summit, while others pursue their own local innovation projects in a wide range of fields. 

IDIN also helps individuals, projects, and communities move forward with funding and technical assistance. Students who attend IDIN partner universities often travel to a country where a summit has taken place to help move specific projects forward. 

Did you know? International Development Design Summits were first organized by MIT D-Lab in 2007. Learn more about where they’ve been held since then!