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Invention as Public Service at MIT


This is the show used to present the MIT Global Challenge to alumni leaders at the MIT Alumni Leadership Conference 10/23.

This is the show used to present the MIT Global Challenge to alumni leaders at the MIT Alumni Leadership Conference 10/23.

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  • What problems could we solve, together? It is estimated that 25,800 companies founded by MIT alumni employ about 3.3 million people and generate annual world revenues of $2 trillion, producing the equivalent of the eleventh-largest economy in the world.* * From the 2009 Kauffman Foundation report, “Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT”
  • MIT graduate and undergraduate students undertake projects in a range of fields in communities around the world.
  • We’ve heard – through efforts like the Alumni Association’s EES initiative – that alumns want to connect, communicate, and collaborate around innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities. We propose to involve the world-wide MIT community – 119,000 alumni across 130 countries – in “invention as public service” through the design , development , and deployment of innovative technologies in partnership with the people who need them.
  • We believe that the competition model provides some unique advantages, particularly in spurring innovation where there are gaps in product and service design and delivery.
  • Through IDEAS we connect, support, and celebrate teams of public service innovators through an annual competition that traditionally awards up to $8000 in implementation grants to teams demonstrating the greatest innovation , feasibility , and impact .
  • Here to share her story of how IDEAS supported innovation during her time at MIT is Amrita Saigal ME ’10 who is designing a novel sanitary pad production machine for Rwandan girls and women.
  • The MIT Global Challenge is launching today with MIT alumni leaders, and will launch in 2011 to the worldwide MIT community MIT150 Celebrating 150 years of service to the world IDEAS Competition experience Awards and implementation support since 2001 Growth of “design for development” ecology at MIT Courses, student groups, labs, competitions
  • 10 year IDEAS track record 64 teams awarded $264,000 since 2002 Leveraged results $3.2 million raised by teams in follow-on funding Lasting impact 3 for-profits, 5 non-profits, 8 technology transfer initiatives (14 others moving forward) Growing “design for development” ecology at MIT D-Lab classes Strong student presence like SEID Alignment with Institute priorities eg Water Initiative
  • The MIT Global Challenge is built on top of the IDEAS lifecycle, following two distinct stages over two years – ideation and implementation.
  • We’re making more awards available to teams as well, so that they can get to work more quickly and make fundraising less of a short-term priority.
  • As our work grows, the network of impacted communities and MIT presence is also growing. So far, 64 teams have traveled to and worked in 28 countries. These include teams like…
  • Over the years we can see that the majority of student teams – 65 percent - are carrying out projects in three regions.
  • Regions that all have strong alumni and at least some enterprise forum presences.
  • We’ve developed the MIT Global Challenge platform as a resource to connect these teams to alumni networks on the ground in these areas – to help teams better understand local needs, conditions, and resources as well as to match the passion and talent of MIT students with the experience and resources of the MIT community worldwide.
  • Engage the worldwide MIT community in activities that augment the innovation , feasibility , and impact of student service projects – and support the long-term health of IDEAS and the Global Challenge.
  • So lets talk about some ways to involve your community and networks: Defining local problems Connecting teams to the resources they need to succeed Fundraising to ensure the long-term viability of IDEAS and the Global Challenge


  • 1. Invention as Public Service at MIT Inspire, Support, and Scale Student Innovation
  • 2. Your generation wears its commitment to the greater good quite lightly. You use your skills to help repair a broken world, however, you see nothing remarkable about it; you simply expect it of each other, and of yourselves. - President Susan Hockfield Commencement Address to the Class of 2010
  • 3. No MIT students were harmed making this presentation
  • 4. Imagine if we applied MIT’s entrepreneurial talent to to today’s urgent humanitarian challenges
  • 5. Agriculture , Processing Education , Training Emergency , Disaster Relief Energy , Environment Employment , Entrepreneurship Housing , Transportation Health , Accessibility Mobiles , ICTs Water , Sanitation
  • 6. Involve the world-wide MIT community in “invention as public service”
  • 7. Prizes incentivize innovation both where markets fail and when problem space is complex
  • 8. Annual competition that awards implementation grants
  • 9. Amrita Saigal Team Komera, ME ‘10 Sanitary Pad Manufacturing Process for the Developing World
  • 10.
    • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering – 2010
    • Currently working for
    • Procter & Gamble Gillette
    • in Process & Engineering
    • Passionate about Women’s Empowerment through technology
  • 11.
    • In Rwanda, currently:
      • 36% of women miss
      • 50 days of school or work a year
    • because they cannot afford sanitary pads
    Need for Komera
  • 12. Pad Making Process
    • Pulp
    • Our Task:
  • 13. Alpha Prototype
  • 14. Social Entrepreneurship
  • 15. IDEAS helped Komera move forward…
    • Mentoring
    • Funding
    • Networking
    • Socializing Komera
  • 16. Why YOU should get involved
    • Resourceful
    • Understand the Business Aspects
    • Global Perspective
    • Implementation
    • and Scaling
  • 17. What’s in it for YOU…. Brilliance + Experience = Large Scale Social Impact You have the opportunity to extend your reach beyond your current space of engagement and make a positive difference
  • 18. Launch in the context of growth and celebration
  • 19. Experience suggests now is the right time
  • 20. Lifecycle 1-3 Discovery, Design Students learn about design challenges, teams propose solutions and receive feedback on their ideas. 4-5 Decide, Deploy Judges nominate winners; they are announced at the awards ceremony and have a year to implement their projects.
  • 21.  
  • 22.  
  • 23. PerfectSight Developed an innovative, mobile system for diagnosing refractive eye conditions for under $1 using cell phones . http://globalchallenge.mit.edu/teams/view/19 Year awarded: 2010 Location: India
  • 24. Egg-energy Developed innovative lighting and energy leasing franchise that aims to eliminate costly, unhealthy, and dangerous kerosene lanterns used around the world. http://globalchallenge.mit.edu/teams/view/2 Year awarded: 2009 Location: Tanzania
  • 25. Konbit Developed platform to help communities rebuild by collecting the skills of residents, allowing non-governmental organizations to find and employ them.. http://globalchallenge.mit.edu/teams/view/28 Year awarded: 2010 Location: Haiti
  • 26. 26% 22% 17%
  • 27.  
  • 28.  
  • 29. Alumni involvement will be critical to the success of IDEAS, the MIT Global Challenge, and our teams
  • 30. How can we achieve that success, together?
  • 31. Thank you Lars Hasselblad Torres [email_address] On the web http://globalchallenge.mit.edu On Twitter @mitchallenge