Author Archive for kmytty

Spring Pitches – Join a team

Last evening we had our Spring Generator Dinner. Over 140 people joined us to hear from three past winning teams –, EyeNetra, Leveraged Freedom Chair (GRIT) and OpenIR. 13 individuals pitched ideas and their skills. Below are the slides from the evening, if you’d like to reach out to anyone who joined us. Thanks so much for all who joined us.

A few key next steps:

  1. If you’re entering this year, submit a Scope Statement by February 27.
  2. If you’d like to help a team or join a team, check out the Help Wanted or fill out a Help Offered.
  3. If you’re still looking for help, fill out a Help Wanted.
  4. If you’re trying to recruit teammates, fill out a problem page about the idea you have.

Offer your help + meet our 39 MIT student-led teams

[This is the latest newsletter from MIT IDEAS Global Challenge. If you'd like to subscribe, add your name and email here.]

Happy New Year from Cambridge, Massachusetts!

So far this year, 39 teams are entering; teams are currently working to develop their ideas like a hand-powered centrifuge that aims to improve the diagnostic capabilities in India’s medical clinics to water distribution machines who’s goal is to reduce bottled water consumption by 90% on college campuses within a year.

There are 70 requests for help at the moment – teams are looking for people to help with business models, design questions, market research, programming and much more. See if you can help:

We welcome you to log into, get to know the teams entering this year through their profiles, offer your help and feedback to teams.

@ IDEAS Global Challenge EVENTS

Generator Dinner: Last October, we hosted 200+ people at our  Generator Dinner as a space for people to gather and learn more about IDEAS Global Challenge, for people to join teams , and for teams to pitch about their projects and recruit team members. More than 30 people pitched an idea at the Generator Dinner and you can read more about their ideas by clicking here. If you’re in the Boston area, join us for the next Generator Dinner happening on Thursday, February 21 at MIT.

Bose Mentorship Night: We were thrilled to bring together our MIT student-led teams and Bose senior management and employees, who served as mentors in helping the 19 participating teams develop business plans, marketing strategies, and more. For the MIT News Office’s coverage of the evening, click here. We’d love to explore similar opportunities with other organizations.


…and much more. To read on more updates and news on IDEAS Global Challenge teams, click here.


Join us at:

  • MIT Scaling Development Ventures Conference: Feb 8-9 @ MIT — We are thrilled to be part of a group of centers around MIT that are hosting the first MIT conference that explores the growth of social ventures in developing regions. We’ll be live-blogging the event and send out the link later. Stay tuned.

Get involved:

YOU CAN HELP TEAMS through the IDEAS Global Challenge site. Teams request help and individuals offer their help. Come help out!

YOU CAN HELP IDEAS GLOBAL CHALLENGE! Our work this year wouldn’t have been possible without our enthusiastic volunteers. If you’re interested in helping us plan and run events, reviewing proposals, and more, email globalchallenge (at)

We are part of the MIT Public Service Center.  Meet this year’s teams: We blog at: We share events and deadlines, at MIT and beyond at: We tweet through @mitchallenge. Email us globalchallenge (at)


Teams looking for teammates / Ideas pitched at the Generator Dinner

Twice a year we have a Generator Dinner to create a space and gathering where teams can form, people can meet and hear more about the IDEAS Global Challenge. This year more than 30 people signed up to pitch their ideas to recruit team members.
Here’s the list of ideas pitched this year and a link to the presentation. If we can help you connect, let us know at globalchallenge(at)mit(dot)edu. Next steps:

To simplify the sorting process, we categorized the topics by subject/sector. Below you’ll find:
  1. Water and Sanitation
  2. Education
  3. Food and Agriculture
  4. Community/Civic
  5. Health/Medical
  6. Business/Entrepreneurship/Finance
  7. Energy and Waste

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Jonathan Abbott
“Inside the Box”
In Mexico, promote awareness and education using the inside of vending boxes targeted at Mexico’s children, women, and young adults on the streets.


Recruiting needs:
- Partners who understand the context of Mexican Street Vendors
- Partners with business experience.
- Team members interested in participating in the project.

- – - – - – -
Jason Gonzales
I’m developing a pay-per-use water purification and dispensing station for use in high density urban areas (subways, shopping districts, transportation centers) that will disrupt the bottled water industry and provide purified and mineral enhanced water to people in cities around the world.

Looking for: I need a team of MEs and EEs to help me build our first prototype and deploy it here in Cambridge/Boston.

- – - – - – - -
Clara Liu
Team Showergy! Bringing showers and cleanliness to slums in Kenya. We have a team of enthusiastic and motivated production and marketing team in Kenya.

Looking for:business people interested in applying their skills to benefit the people in the developing country.

- – - – -
Ahmed El Mahi
I am working on developing an ultra-affordable mobile enabled water dispension unit that will improve access to clean water in communities not served by the water grid.Need people with a passion for increasing water access.

- – - – - – -



Sergio Marrero
1 million HS graduates CHOOSE not to go to college every year, because they don’t have the funds or see the value. Caminos aspires to give every student access to low cost quality education through a mobile platform.

Looking for: We are looking for designers and developers. Caminos. Pathways to excel.

- – - – - – - -
Benjamin Wildrick
Deliver teacher training in rural schools in Zimbabwe.  CITW, a non-profit with offices in 7 southern African countries, is developing an Eco Club model to promote stewardship and environmental awareness among students and teachers.  Zimbabwean and Zambian school teachers will need to be trained in the delivery of this new curriculum.

- – - -
Alice Huang
Connects Chinese students pursuing an American education to current students at top universities in the US. We seek to develop an online tool for students to organize their college application materials with their Mentor’s guidance. These relationships can blossom into a global network for the future generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders.

Looking for: We are actively seeking a Lead Technological Coordinator to be part of the founding team to develop and lead a team to create the online tool. I’m full of energy especially when working on a project I care about. I have a lot of experience in developing curriculum and working with schools for various education services. I’m also interested in product design especially for the developing world. I have strong communication skills, including fluency in Chinese, and love understanding and connecting with the people the product is designed for.

- – - – - – - -
Sohail Ali
Saath Saath- Labors and Small Businesses United
Small business enterprises (SBEs) are major employers in developing countries. In Pakistan, SBEs employ 78% of the non-agriculture labor force. These semi-skilled workers are generally employed at minimum wage and have poor access to health, education, and other services. Our aim is to facilitate a mutually beneficial relation between SBEs and their employees which will provide an opportunity for upward social mobility for these low income families and develop a socially responsible community.

- – - – - – -
Madeeha Ansari
Want to look at incentives to increase retention for children in nonformal schools in urban slum areas in Pakistan. Know a network of eight schools, catering to working/ street children. Need people who can process data, like kids and enjoy creative adventures!

I enjoy writing. Actively enjoy it. Looking for innovative education sector interventions.

- – - – - – -


 Greg Grinberg
A distribution platform dedicated to making healthy eating convenient, accessible, and affordable everywhere — by finally taking online grocery shopping to the mainstream.

Our shopping app serves not only as a buying tool but also a virtual nutrition coach, to help consumers make the best food decisions based on their current health status. Our logistical approach reduces carbon emissions from food-related personal transportation by about 90%, brings a full selection of fresh produce to food deserts, and enables direct-sourcing from small/midsize farms at a price that is fair to both grower and consumer.

Looking for: We’re technical founders, and we want to build a team of highly capable and committed programmers.  The kind of team that shares a singular focus on building the best possible product, and who instinctively knows what needs to be done to build it.
- – - – - – - -

Catfish and poultry farming
The fastest growing business in Nigeria is catfish and poultry farming  because of is  emerging industry that has not reached its peak or full potential, so all you need to do s look for a region with a growing demand that haven t been covered by a major player and situate your business there, a team would need my service because of the quality will be added to their establishment, I am created to develop a career that will  enable  me to subdue more challenges opportunities, to  be the best of whom  am created to be, a solution to the world’s problem and  blessing to my country via profession, also i want to work in a  milieu where the  ultimate utlization of my acqured knowledge and potential will be realized.

- – - – - – -

Kwami Williams
MoringaConnect is about enabling subsistence farmers growing Moringa to capture more of the value they produce by equipping them with affordable processing technologies that allow them to extract and sell the high value oil contained in Moringa seeds.

Recruiting Needs: We need people who:

  1. Like writing (blogging, grant proposals, etc)
  2. Like to design and refine technologies
  3. Like exploring business & market elements of a project

- – - – - – -



Ali Kamil
Many crimes in the developing world go unreported to become anecdotal. At CRIMEO, we’re working alongside the MIT Media Lab to create a self-reporting application for incidents, empowering constituents and creating a geographic heat map for incidents.

We aim to solve the problem of unreported incidents by empowering people to report crime. A built in notification system alert others within a local vicinity to avoid precarious areas upon input. Crime reporting at a grassroots level has not been dealt with in this manner.

- – - – - – - -
Amy Robinson
I am organizing TEDxMIT and would love to recruit a team to help make this happen!

- – - – - – - -
Araya Santisan
“Pink HHH”
My team name is “Pink HHH”  coming from the words; Happiness Happen Here in pink color.  I would like to make a community art starting from MIT community. It is a new pink art sculpture in the garden or on the wall- a place people could interact to, enjoy with, and be themselves. A man standing in the art will turn a blank space into a production for others to see.

- – - – - – -
David Kuguru
Sustainable Community Africa Partners (SCAP)
Kenya’s 1950’s mindset on architectural design, construction technology, and building material perpetuates a 150,000 homes shortfall per year. Sustainable Community Africa Partners (SCAP), a not-for-profit social enterprise, will catalyze strategic global and project partners’ expertise and resources for sustainable housing integral to healthy communities and future vitality of Africa’s cities.
12+ years experience in entrepreneurship, social impact advisory, social enterprise management.

Worked with Government of Kenya in collaboration with US and European Investors on an international tender to develop 1,000 homes for civil servants. Launched and managed social enterprise in Kenya creating 1,000 jobs through innovative micro-retailer distribution channel.

- – - – - – - -
Bryan Mezue
Roundtable (
A web app that allows you to find partners for student projects in Art & Design, Film & Photography, Technology and other areas.

- – - – - – -
Jean Marechal
The Whistle Journal Project
Distributing journals, implements (and whistles & enrollment in self defense classes) to homeless women for them to write/sketch about their experiences, with the aim of a later art exhibit of the results (with some of the work out-printed or adapted further for viewing accessibility).

Recruitment needs: grant/corporate sponsorship proposal research/development; outreach to homeless community for sign up & distribution of materials and access to classes; possible site procurement for corresponding creative time sessions; coordination/production of art exhibition w/ printing, marketing, mailing & art adaption facilitation.

- – - – - – - -
Eugene Feldman
Rallyt is a new startup out of the MIT Beehive Accelerator Program that is redefining the way people seek and achieve social and political change. It is an innovative social media platform that allows organizations, grassroots campaigns, and individuals to mobilize and engage supporters through collective actions, collaborative social tools, and learning mechanisms.

- – - – -
Esther Jang
IDEiA- Internet for Development, Education, and Information Access
To develop a sustainable economic model for delivering and maintaining Internet access for rural educational institutions in developing nations. The cost-effective technology has been developed and deployed in one location; now we must devise ways for the institution to pay for continued service, cut input costs, and add value to the community.

Needs: Someone with knowledge of economics, someone with experience with mobile/wireless/radio technology, someone with experience with solar technology, someone with experience working with rural communities in developing countries (especially schools), someone with experience fabricating parts (preferably in developing countries)

- – - -  -


Dmitri Boulanov
euMetrica (Mozilla Ignite project)
The holy grail health IT app — taking in diverse sensor data, analyzing it in real-time using cloud resources, and providing real-time decision support to people and their health care providers.

Looking for: venture partners (technical co-founder(s)). Looking for coding skills – Android, Java, machine learning who have spare time. []

- – - – - – -
Edward Comeau
Designing better smoke alarms

Fires kill a disproportionate number of elderly, young, poor and African American. Smoke alarms are disabled or missing in 66% of fatal fires.  We need to have a better smoke alarm design that people will use, cannot be tampered with, and will work when it is needed to save lives.

- – - -
Daisy Chang
Manual hematocrit centrifuge
Anemia affects 1.62 billion people worldwide, more than 1.2 billion of whom reside in developing nations. In developing countries, about 20-40% of maternal deaths during pregnancy may be attributed to anemia-related causes.  Unavailability of appropriate diagnostic equipment is a primary factor underlying delayed treatment and misdiagnosis.

We have developed a low-cost portable manual centrifuge to address this need using power and manual drill parts. Our team is looking for a wide range of skill sets, but particularly people who are more business minded.

- – - – - – -
Laura Stilwell
GlobeMed at MIT
We are recruiting to create a mobile technology for community health workers in Northern Togo to improve the efficiency of their systems.

Looking for: We are looking for computer programmers and those familiar with mobile technology.  We are also looking into other projects to improve the technological capacity of their health care clinics.

- – - – - – -


Philip Obi
Flenjo is an online ticketing platform and mobile payment system. We are seeking anyone with expertise in mobile payment industry

- – - – - – - -
Kristin Kagetsu
Inspired by Nature
Inspired by Nature aims to work with organizations around the world that make natural dyes and pigments and use them for various crafts whether it’s producing textiles or candles or other products.  The goal is to work with them to develop new natural products using base ingredients that are found locally.

- – - – - – -
Layla Shaikley -  MIT Graduate
Kevin Hu — MIT Undergraduate | Physics
Project: Our goal is to create a visually stimulating online platform for a user to buy and sell items within his or her own local neighborhood. We aim to establish a garage sale on demand, elongating the lifespan of stuff. Users can search by price range or aesthetic.

Looking for: We are looking for people with a background in front end web developing and business/marketing.

- – - – - – -
Sampriti Bhattacharyya
Lab-X foundation: make, break, innovate.
Inspire research, innovation and entrepreneurship in developing countries through innovation based challenges, competitions and internships.

- – - – - – -
Laura Hogikyan
My idea, “Spaces,” is an on-line resource that helps businesses share space in beneficial ways (live/work, work/work, etc.), thus lowering barrier to market entry and mutually profiting.

Looking for: I am looking for a programmer to code who is interested in this idea too!

- – - – - – - -

Enrique Bay
Project: what I want to do is to partner with SME merchants in different cities, and offer their products local to low-income consumers. I will offer these consumers an easy to follow goal savings plan, and give them incentives to keep saving (cash, movie tickets, etc)

Need: tech co-founder for platform development

- – - – - – - -

Ezekiel Odiogo
Developing business and technology parks across Africa to help entrepreneurs

The cost of starting/running a business in Africa is astronomically high and challenging due to lack of Infrastructure and support services to leverage entrepreneur/SMEs growth. SMEs face stiff challenges to scale, innovate, and link to market. Proposed project would develop/operate viable Business/Technology Parks across Africa. Pilot country – Nigeria/Ghana.

- – - – - – - -

Joanna Zhou
Lallitara – Creating Value from Waste through upcycling and reselling discarded sari fabrics and mill scraps. Developing upcycled second-hand Indian saris into chic apparel and accessories.

Looking for people with web development savvy! Link:

- – - – -
Mercy Wakweika
My name is Mercy and I am co-founder at Envy. Envy caters to the middle class Ugandan by supplying trendy and affordable ready to wear clothes. To address the unusual retail cycles, we have come up with a new retail model. In this model, we will maintain a retail store and an export center that will supply inventory to other retailers also unable to source inventory in manageable quantities.

Looking for: We are looking for people to brainstorm with.

- – - – - – - – -

Jag Gill
Sustainable luxury fashion
Sustainable luxury fashion sourced in india; innovative technology interface and profit share with local artisan communities

- – - – - – - -


Yuchen Feng
MIT Lenana Project – “Pass the Gas”
We will implement a sustainable waste-management solution for Lenana using easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain technology with easy-to-observe benefits. In January, we will implement composting and a small-scale biodigester. From January to May, Lenanans can learn the mechanics and benefits of both technologies. In June, we will implement a larger biodigester.

- – - – - – -
Daniel Heyman
Summary: household level solar distribution company for West Africa, starting in Sierra Leone.

Method: we will bring existing technologies that couple solar with mobile technology to remote control electricity flow from East Africa to West Africa. This creates an enforcement mechanism for asset financing.

Recruitment: anyone interested! Electric engineers!
- – - – - – - -
Caroline Howe
Team Name: NewCycle

Project Summary: Creating low-cost equipment to turn non-recyclable waste into building materials for low income communities in the global south

Recruiting Needs: MechE and Building Technology students, business students, and those working on development

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### END ####

Hitting Backspace – Focus on Preparedness

After winning the IDEAS Global Challenge, our team took a hard look at our project’s mission and vision. One of our greatest strengths as first a student group and then a company has been that we never assume we are doing the right thing. I can imagine nothing less helpful to disaster recovery than to build a complicated pack of tools and try to force people on the ground to use them. For this reason, we develop by constantly flying into disaster areas and checking our development against needs on the ground.

It was during this same process of boot-on-the-ground testing, we realized that our favored method of dropping out of the sky to deploy software was not best way to help communities recover. In fact, we realized that much of the work needed to increase community resilience must be done before the storm.

Morgan and Dave flew to Florida in the wake of Tropical Storm Debby, only to find that no one they spoke to in the communities they visited seemed to realize how important it was that they begin taking in some of the aid being offered. After a frustrating week, they left (read more about the trip and our lessons here: Eventually, a local organizer using Facebook to scrape together volunteers would take over use of the platform. Under her watch, the software has helped build a community of volunteers that not only responded to Debby’s damage, but also sandbagged homes to prepare for Hurricane Isaac.

Preparedness: the missing ingredient

Whoa, hit the backspace key. We’re talking about two very similar disasters in two very similar communities. What made New Port Richey, FL after TS Debby different than Northfield, VT after TS Irene? It wasn’t our ability to reach the community. We arrived at roughly the same time post-storm. It wasn’t the resources available on the ground – both areas were being served by a multitude of national and regional aid organizations.

It was preparedness.

Suddenly a lot of pieces fell into place. A group of four flying into disaster areas to save the day, while a cool plot for an action flick, is not practical or what is needed. A team of four focused on building tools that will prepare a community to recover, and distributing them before  a disaster is infinitely more useful. We’ve pivoted accordingly, licensing the software as a preparedness tool to interested communities.

Back at the drawing board, we took a more critical look at the “community facing” side of our software. Small things, like an easy sign up process, a way to keep involved after signing up, preparedness tips and integration with existing social media chatter, are just as important as volunteer tracking features. It doesn’t matter if we have the best hours logging program in the world if the community isn’t aware they can volunteer.

We’ve swung our focus to getting these tools in place ahead of a storm. We can keep our team small and focused, build faster, and provide better service if we’re in place when things hit the proverbial fan. We’ve also realized that it is much more economically sustainable to charge a small fee for preparing towns than it would be to somehow find a sponsor for recovering towns.

We’re on our way – with this new list of priorities, we’re able to narrow our focus and devote more time to the features that will have the greatest impact upon recovery. We still fly into disasters to test things, but we’re building a sustainable business around being there before that.

- – - – - -

Written by Caitria O’Neill with, a 2012 IDEAS Global Challenge award recipient. provides easy-to-use tools to help communities efficiently structure volunteers, donations and information.

Place your three votes! The 2012 Community Choice Vote is open

37 teams entered the final round of the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge. Teams developing new diagnostics, ways of tackling waste, and new business models and systems. Come meet the teams this year!

Here’s how to vote.

Team Profile: Recovers.Org / Developing a New Solution for Disaster Relief

49 teams are signed up to enter this year’s IDEAS Global Challenge. Nick Holden, helping with his knack for writing and interviewing has created a series of profiles on teams.

Last week, he profiled Team who are working to finesse a tool to harness and deploy the power of people’s help after a disaster. I included a snippet of the profile below. You can read the entire profile through this link.

Q. What’s innovative about the solution you are proposing to make an impact on disaster recovery?

A. There’s this huge spike in interest after a disaster. Fifty percent of all web searches seeking to help occur in the first seven days after a disaster.

An affected town loses the potential resources it could get from the initial spike in interest because it doesn’t have the capacity to accept the physical or financial resources. Without the proper technology in place, towns can’t capitalize on that early interest, and they are left without a platform to build more interest and no money for recovery.

Every single community that is affected by a disaster is affected by this technological black hole. For example, FEMA makes aid distribution based upon data it receives from communities after a disaster. That data includes how many volunteers worked, where they worked, for how many hours they worked, and what heavy machinery they used. In the first two weeks after a disaster, towns don’t even know that data needs to be tracked, and they don’t have tools to track it.

We’re disaster experts now because we’ve done this before. What we can do is structure the inputs with really easy-to-use software. We can make a button that says: “Where are you sending this volunteer?” Then we give coordinators this software that allows them to track volunteers. Now, FEMA gets their data, and the town gets more money because of it.

We started going into disaster areas as part of our development. Chris [Kuryak] and I just got back from Alabama. In the course of three-and-a-half days, we were able to set up an online recovery hub for a city that was ravaged by tornadoes on Jan. 24.

Using our website, the community has already flagged tons of cases of fraud attempts — of people going to multiple distribution centers. They’ve collected a massive database of donation items, especially things that are too large for people to bring in and store, but that are going to be needed six months to five years down the road, like china cabinets for people who are rebuilding their homes. It was pretty phenomenal proof-of-concept.

- – - – - -
Keep reading over at the MIT News site.

(Great profile, Nick!)

January 2012 Newsletter

Every month we send out a newsletter on what’s happening in the competition, updates on teams entered into the competition this year and news of alums of the program that are working in the field. If you’d like to sign up for our newsletter, add your email address at: In the meantime, here’s the latest from us.

- – - – -

Welcome to 2012! And Happy New Year from those of us in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We’re changing up the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge newsletter this year and trying something new.


We’re halfway through the academic year at MIT. We have 34 teams entering so far this year. They range from looking at using coconut oil for fuel to developing a new Braille watch. Teams are working to submit their initial drafts of what they propose as solutions – what we call an Initial Scope Statement. They have four opportunities to submit. We match teams up with volunteer reviewers who meet with teams and provide an external perspective on the team’s work. As is true with any idea, the ideas coming into the competition may not resemble those that come out of the competition.

The next chance for teams to submit an Initial Scope Statement is January 25. Keep an eye for more teams signing up!

If you’re around during January, come join us for a workshop:


Meet the 34 teams entering this year:

Right now many of the teams are working out in the field – like team Takachar ( working in Nairobi to identify how to improve the sustainability and security of cooking fuel and team Essmart working on how to supply corner stores in India with the latest life-improving technologies (


Through the IDEAS Global Challenge site, teams request help and individuals offer their help. Come help out!

We’re looking for a web coder to come join our volunteer force. Come help us create new ways to connect people to IDEAS Global Challenge and the work teams are doing. Is that you? Drop us a note: globalchallenge [at]

Keen to join us in financially supporting the student-led teams working on new solutions for good? We’d love to tell your more about the opportunities to sponsor an award sponsor, an event sponsor and more. Drop Kate a note for more details: kmytty [at]


Meet this year’s teams:
We blog at:
We share events and deadlines, at MIT and beyond at:
We tweet through @mitchallenge
Email us globalchallenge [at]


Be Unreasonable

George Bernard Shaw once said, “the reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man [and woman].”

One of the many places that string of words can be found is on the “We Believe” page of the Unreasonable Institute. Only a few years old and based in Colorado, the Institute brings together 25 entrepreneurs from around the world each year to connect around how to be better at what they do. Last year three of the entrepreneurs were winners of the IDEAS Competition in years past: Jamie Yang with EGG Energy, Saba Gul with Bliss, and Scot Frank with One Earth Designs.

As the deadline, November 10, to enter this year draws close, a few folks have been asking whether to enter. Here are two points to help as you make that decision:

1. Saba Gul wrote a raving review over on her blog. It starts with:

Imagine being put in a house for 6 weeks with 26 people whose ideas, experiences and passion will blow your mind and force you to think about the world in a radically different way.

I’m talking former child soldiers from Liberia who went on to form organizations that rehabilitate other former child soldiers. I’m talking entrepreneurs from Uganda who put on their first pairs of shoes at age 13. I’m talking 25 year olds who had already lifted over a thousand local producers out of poverty in Brazil. I’m talking recycling businesses that had generated over $1M in revenue in 18 months, and life-saving medical devices that had been recognized by the World Health Organization. I’m talking entrepreneurs who grew up in the slums of India and are now running the biggest bike-sharing system in the country. The first few days were spent being inspired by something new every single hour.

What a group, I thought to myself. How had they selected these people? What could we not accomplish together if we put our minds to it? Keep reading…

2. The New York Times wrote up a piece last weekend (which mentioned Jamie Yang) on one of the entrepreneurs. Here’s the link.

Good luck to everyone entering this year!

Throw it Against the IDEAS Wall

Last night we hosted our first Throw it Against the IDEAS Wall. We’ve been doing a lot of thinking around how do you create entry points for people to start new projects that deliver social impact and work to effectively solve a problem. This was experiment number one of the year.

We had around 100 students, alums, staff, community members and many others there. Some stayed for three hours discussing areas like energy and environment, healthcare and water. The energy buzzed! Our goal was to create an environment where people could talk around the futures worth building, the problems worth solving and the ideas worth creating.

We’re hoping those projects can carry forward as potential IDEAS Global Challenge entries, MIT $100k entries, and new ventures. This weekend we’re part of the team organizing t=0, a festival of entrepreneurship happening here at MIT (check out the line-up!). Throw it Against the IDEAS Wall was a kick-off event in its launch.

Tomorrow I’ll share more about what came out of last night’s work. In the meantime, here’s how we started:

The MIT Courses We’d Like to Take …

The semester is stirring to start. The students are back. It’s the time of year when the new flood of new-to-Cambridge residents learn their way around the neighborhood.

As the semester starts, here’s a look at some of the project-based classes we’d be keen to take:

(1) Seth Teller’s Assistive Technology
6.S196: Principles and Practices of Assistive Technology (link) A prototype created by the IDEAS Assistive Tech Team.
Professor Seth Teller with EECS is starting a new course on Assistive Technology with our own William Li who helped lead the recent IDEAS winning team by the same name.

Why take it? As Seth says:
In this project-based subject, small teams of students will connect with a person with a disability in the Boston area, learn about this “client’s” challenges, and develop an assistive device, solution, or technology that meets the client’s needs. We hope to serve people with visual impairment, motor impairment, or cognitive impairment,
as well those who need adaptive equipment for daily living. Learn more by emailing: ppat (at) csail (dot) mit (dot) edu

(2) Sandy Pentland and Joost Bonsen’s Development Ventures
15.375J Development Ventures

As Sandy and Joost describe it:

Seminar on founding, financing, and building entrepreneurial ventures in developing nations. Challenges students to craft enduring and economically viable solutions to the problems faced by these countries. Cases illustrate examples of both successful and failed businesses, and the difficulties in deploying and diffusing products and services through entrepreneurial action. Explores a range of established and emerging business models, as well as new business opportunities enabled by emerging technologies in MIT labs and beyond. Students develop a business plan executive summary suitable for submission in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition $1K Warm-Up. Limited to 25.

** Joost is also working on an Urban Ventures course to launch this fall. If you’re interested challenges particularly related to cities, keep track of Joost’s thread here.

(3) Leah Buechley’s Design for Empowerment
MAS.680 Design For Empowerment
We have heard lots of great recommendations on Leah’s class. Here’s the description:

Aims to understand, contribute to, and support communities of people who design, build, and hack their own devices. Focuses on tools that enable non-experts to design and build computational and electronic systems. Students investigate software and hardware toolkits, open-source technologies, fabrication processes, and new manufacturing and distribution models.

(4) D-Lab Courses
Click here for their course list

Sugarcane charcoal developed through MITs D-Lab

Sugarcane charcoal developed through MIT's D-Lab

As always, lots of incredible, hands-on courses are happening through D-Lab for undergrads to take advantage of. If you’re interested in applying engineering and design to development challenges, this is your chance to get your hands dirty. One of their new courses is being led by Libby McDonald, who’s part of MIT’s CoLab, and teaching a course on development and waste.

(5) The Global Health Grad School Course
HST 590 Fall 2011 – GLOBAL HEALTH for Biomedical Researchers (link)

Given the amount of energy Ashley Messina has put into helping organize this course and that Anjali Sastry (check out her courses) is one of the guest speakers, this course is not to be missed!

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This is just a beginning of the many courses out there. Others that we in the MIT Public Service Center are working with include: Ben Eran-Joseph’s urban planning course, Urban Design Skills; Natalie Kuldell’s Biological Engineering courses; and the famous 2.009 led by David Wallace.

What other courses are you looking forward to?

(And if we haven’t said it already, to those who have returned, welcome back!)