Archive for the 'event' Category

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:

Pitch Kitchen at MIT

AQUA PitchThere is a growing ecology of resources at MIT that support student ventures – from grounded ideation in programs like D-Lab to launch mechanisms like the $100k business plan competition. The idea behind Pitch Kitchen is to create an informal environment where students can trial their venture pitches in from of a mixed audience – representatives across these resources – and receive helpful feedback that sets them up for success down the road.

We had our first Pitch Kitchen in February 16. Peter Kang of Team AQUA presented the idea and business model for his project – an online game that is one part education tool and another part charity platform. In the room were representatives from $100k Emerging Markets Track, the Entrepreneurship Center, a communications expert from CSAIL, and yours truly from IDEAS/GC.

Kudos to Peter for his stamina – after presenting his 8-minute pitch he endured nearly a solid hour of intense questioning from panelists – all with the intent of helping Peter and team AQUA sharpen their message around a few key areas:

  • Community connection and impact
  • Transparency and accountability in income and expenditures
  • Representing communities without exploiting ie “gamifying” communities
  • Business and sustainability model
  • Translation of online income into on-the-ground impact

Interested in experiencing the crucible? Join us for the next Pitch Kitchen on Wednesday, 3/16 from 5:00-7:00pm in 4-145. Questions? Email lhtorres at mit dot edu.

Farmhack@MIT

Hey there’s a great event coming up at MIT in early March. Its called Farmhack, and the purpose is to bring together New England small-scale farmers and MIT engineers to identify projects for collaboration. There seems to be a consensus that the equipment available is costly, or simply does not respond well to the needs, constraints, and conditions of America’s small acreage farmers. Some of the areas that have come up include seeding technologies, soil monitoring systems, lifestock monitoring systems, irrigation systems. And more! So, if you are a New England farmer or an MIT engineer interested in using small-scale farms as laboratories for innovation, join us! Here are the details.

Farmers -

Do you come away from visits to other farms inspired by a tool or system that you just saw?  Have you invented things on your farm?  Can you describe some challenges on your farm that a team of farmers and engineers might be able to address with a new tool?


Engineers and Designers -

Do you have technical skills that you want to apply to the real world in real time? Are you interested in a direct relationship with the solutions our society needs? Have you considered applying your skill-set to sustainable agriculture?

Continue reading ‘Farmhack@MIT’

Pahoehoe: 8 People x 8 Projects on Nov. 16th

Our second big event of the year is coming up. On November 16th, we’re launching the first Pahoehoe (pa-hoy-hoy). Perhaps you’ve heard of or been to a Pecha Kucha event or an Ignite event. We’re creating a similar movement here at MIT to bring together people innovating in the tackling of barriers to well-being with communities around the world. It’s an evening where people from around the Institute can gather, share their work, hear what others are working on and find opportunities to collaborate on IDEAS/Global Challenge projects and identify collaborators (non-MIT folks are welcome!).

Each presenter will be given 10 slides x 30 seconds per slide to present their idea and work. No bullet points. All pictures and visuals.

This round you’ll hear about a project on innovation in banking systems in Africa, a team who worked with catadores in Brazil to convert two engines to process used vegetable oil, a gentleman who’s working on a project to use GPS to track where waste pickers move trash, a team that’s working on a project to help Rwandan women have 60 more days of work or school a year by having access to affordable sanitary napkins and much, much more. Hear from teams participating in the IDEAS/GC Competition this year, past IDEAS winners, MIT Public Service Center Fellows, projects happening in D-Lab and many more. This is the beginning of a series of Pahoehoe events.

Join us for the beginning!

November 16th, 7pm
MIT’s Campus
Maria and Ray Stata Center, Building 32
Room: R&D Commons on the 4th Floor

Details here.

Oct 21| MIT Agricultural Processes Challenge kick-off

[Cross-posted from the MIT Food + Agriculture Collaborative]

October 21, 2010: Yunus Innovation Challenge Kickoff dinner, from 7:00 to 9:00pm, R&D Pub Lounge (Stata Center, 4th Floor).

PROBLEM

Around the world, 550 million smallholder farmers lack access to mechanized agricultural technology. Many important food staples like maize (corn) and grains (e.g., rice or wheat) are harvested and processed by hand, which is both labor intensive and time consuming. This year’s Yunus Challenge calls for locally and environmentally sustainable innovations to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

THE CHALLENGE

The 2011 Yunus Challenge will be awarded to participants who create an innovative solution that has the most potential to increase adoption of beneficial agricultural technologies, financial systems, or market access among smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods. Participants are encouraged to put their energy toward creating solutions that overcome the behavioral and situational hurdles of the adoption of agricultural innovations, rather than looking at the challenge only in terms of the creation of new technologies. That said, the proposed solution may involve a physical device.

IDEAS and Global Challenge Generator 10/13

Want to learn from major international development organizations about opportunities for students to get involved?
Want funding for your innovative service project?
Want to recruit members or mentors for your project, or find a project team to join?

Then come get connected at the IDEAS Generator -its the perfect venue!

Please join the 2010-2011 IDEAS Competition and Global Challenge for our annual Fall Generator. We’ll have the opportunity to hear from a panel international development practitioners in the field about the “innovation as service” opportunities they see, along with students pitching project ideas and skills. This will be followed by a networking dinner around innovative solutions to community needs. Here are the details:

  • What: IDEAS Generator feat. International Organizations Panel + Networking Dinner
  • When: October 13, 2010 / Dinner Panel starts at 7:00pm, followed by pitches and networking
  • Where: Morss Hall (Blg 50) / Walker Memorial

The dinner will feature a panel of representatives from locally-based major international development agencies discussing what their organizations do, and what they don’t know how to do! In other words, this panel will focus on where there is space in the work of these organizations for innovation and entrepreneurship from MIT students. The following panelists have been confirmed:

Acción
Susana Barton, VP and Program Manager of Innovations and Integrated Solutions

UUSC
Gretchen Alther, Senior Associate, Rights in Humanitarian Crisis
Patricia Jones, Manager, Environmental Justice Program

Mercy Corps
Ruth Allen, Director, Community Mobilization, Governance, and Partnerships

World Education
Gill Garb, Director, World Education/JSI Bantwana Initiative and
Shirley Burchfield, VP, Africa Division

UNICEF
Christopher Fabian
Communication Specialist, Director’s Office, Technology for Development

Moderator: Joshua Schuler, Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program , a non-profit organization based at MIT that, among many other things, encourages sustainable new solutions to real-world problems.

*****************

The Generator will have two recruitment open mic sessions with a prize for the best presentation in each category! The networking dinner will also include other activities to help everyone get connected with the right team mates (you don’t have to give a pitch). Feel free to bring along small prototypes and presentation materials that help describe your project. Participants who do sign-up to pitch will each have 60 seconds to pitch their projects to the audience. Pitches must be professional, practiced, and to the point. RSVP by October 11 to globalchallenge-rsvp@mit.edu to sign-up for an open mic opportunity, with the following included in your email:

Pitch Category One: Recruit The IDEAS Dream Team

  • Team name:
  • Project summary (50 words max):
  • Recruiting needs:

Pitch Category Two: Get Yourself “Hired”

  • Your name:
  • Reason a team should hire you (50 words max):
  • Type(s) of projects sought:

Questions? Email Lars or Kate at globalchallenge [at] mit [dot] edu  or visit http://ideas.mit.edu for more info. See you there!

Maker Faire Africa 2010: Call for Makers

Maker Faire Africa is a celebration of ingenuity and entrepreneurship across the African continent. It is inspired by the successful spread of DIY festivals known as Maker Faires across the United States (check out the latest on the New York City World Maker Faire in September).

The Maker Faire Africa (MFA) co-founding team of organizers (Emeka Okafor/TED Africa, Erik Hersman/Ushahidi, Emer Beamer/Butteryfly Works, Henry Barnor/GhanaThink, and Mark Grimes/Ned/NedSpace/NedWater) seek African innovators, inventors, and makers to participate in the second Maker Faire Africa event to be held in Nairobi, Kenya August 27-28th on the University of Nairobi campus.

To encourage African innovators, inventors and makers from all African countries to try to make it to this unique and one-of-a-kind event, they have some limited funds for those makers outside Nairobi requiring travel and accommodation assistance.

In addition, MFA10 organizers are trying as much as they can to locate and invite women innovators and makers. They’ve found that during last year’s event in Accra, Ghana locating women makers was a challenge, especially those outside arts/crafts categories.

Maker Faire Africa is a free event for all invited makers, innovators and inventors. All the makers that “applied” last year participated in the event. To view some images of the event in Accra, please visit the MFA site.

View the complete call for makers.

MIT Inventors Win Top Two Spots at ASME iShow

Congratulations to the MIT students behind 6Dot Braille Labeler and Leveraged Freedom Chair for winning second and first place respectively at the 2010 ASME Innovation Showcase!

6Dot was awarded a $7500 IDEAS Health Innovation award in 2009 sponsored by Aleksander and Anna Anita Leyfell. In 2008 Leveraged Freedom Chair won a $7500 IDEAS Award for International Technology sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program.

Both teams have used their award to further test and refine their prototypes as well as seek out new funding sources and partnerships. Congratulations on all your hard work – its terrific to see you thrive!

See the ASME announcement here.

IDEAS2010 winners retreat reflections

IDEAS held its annual winners retreat May 25-26 at the always welcoming and excellent MIT Endicott House in Dedham. Over the course of two days, participants were asked to work with their team members and fellow winners to plan their next year of work, with an eye toward long-term impacts.

Although we didn’t get around to some of the more adventurous options like firewalking and gravity-less flight we had a great time interacting across discussions and activities like:

  • Project roadmap: plan the ultimate outcomes you envision for your project, and wrap around each the objectives, activities, resources, and timeline necessary to achieve those goals. Laura Sampath, International Development Initiative manager and Daphne Dhao, MIT alum and superstar IDEAS volunteer, led great discussions and workshops that privided practical tools for project planning, including a discussion of “Asking the right questions.”

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Winners of the 9th Annual MIT IDEAS Competition

Graduate students Aaron Zinman and Greg Elliott at the IDEAS Competition Project Display and Judging Session. Photo: Aditi Verma

Graduate students Aaron Zinman and Greg Elliott at the IDEAS Competition Project Display and Judging Session. Photo: Aditi Verma

The ninth annual MIT IDEAS Competition celebrated student achievement on Monday evening, May 3, at MIT’s Raymond and Maria Stata Center. Seven student teams received IDEAS awards to implement their projects over the next year. IDEAS — which stands for Innovation, Development, Enterprise, Action and Service — recognizes student teams that have developed outstanding projects that apply invention as a public service. Each award, funded by a corporate or individual sponsor, will enable a team to develop their prototype into a working solution in collaboration with community partners around the world.

The awards, presented by a selection of MIT staff and sponsors, went to the following teams:

Konbit was awarded the $8,000 IDEAS Award sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education. Team members Greg Elliott and Aaron Zinman designed a service via phone, Short Message Service (SMS), and web that helps communities rebuild themselves after a crisis by indexing the skill sets of local residents, and allowing NGOs to find and employ them.

Continue reading ‘Winners of the 9th Annual MIT IDEAS Competition’