What is the workshop about?

The students go through a design studio and technology exposure to build projects relevant to their themes in a time frame of 5 days. The participants go through a process of problem identification with storyboarding, ideating and brainstorming sessions, rapid prototyping, and product development. The last day of the workshop culminates in a public open-house with thousands of students, colleges and professionals coming from across the host city to view cutting edge solutions along with press and media to cover the event. The event ends with a networking session bringing in top industry executives, academicians, MIT and Harvard faculty and researchers. The workshop is a tremendous learning and experimentation ground for MIT and Harvard researchers as well as for the young participants. 

For young participants from India: 

The initiative attempts to recreate an environment that fosters creative exploration of ideas, much like MIT,  in India. These workshops give students in India access to cutting edge technology and mentorship from the MIT community. Creating impactful products using tech is at the heart of MIT and we aim to make this 'maker' culture accessible to students in India.

For the MIT Community: 

Students and faculty members from MIT and Harvard will get to exercise their knowledge and skills to solve amazingly complex problems while working with some of the most talented students and young professionals chosen from all across India. 

THEMES

01 | Social Empowerment through Music

With 1.34 billion people in India, it’s difficult to have a voice, however, the rap and hip-hop scene is quickly growing in India -- a culture where free speech is amplified and speaking your mind is encouraged. However, projecting your voice and being heard as a rapper is challenging: powerful lyrics and strong social messages are often ignored due to poor production and lack of professional distribution.

In this workshop, we’ll show you low-cost production and distribution to create professional-grade music to amplify your voice in dealing with societal issues and a personal catharsis. Aside from distribution on professional services, we’ll also focus on using music production for private expurgation of personal issues.

02 | Fintech for Social Good

With the population scale and growing digital footprint, areas such as micro-finance, digital money transfer have become quite popular in the country. Continuing with this mission of digital learning and blending financial knowledge into culture of nation will help the common man understand their taxes better while being able to save money for future and invests in securities which currently seems super complicated.

In the finance track, participants are encouraged but not limited to the focus area mentioned above. While we are targeting the broader economic challenges of our developing nation, we are also open to discussing and mentoring projects on topics of modern finance including FinTech, application of machine learning in financial markets, quantitative  – including HFT, and of course, investment management – public and private equity.

03 | Re-Imagining Education

We are looking for engaged students with a passion for creating change in education! We are looking for a mixture of students from diverse areas including design, engineering, arts, social science, and others. Participants should enjoy and come excited to break down large socio-technical challenges into workable design opportunities. This track will focus on identifying and solving the challenges surrounding the Indian education system. The goal is to develop solutions that can go beyond the weeklong workshop and go “viral” throughout India. 

During the workshop, you will learn how to apply design thinking principles to discover opportunities, develop innovative solutions, and create prototypes to address challenges around education that YOU and YOUR PEERS have encountered.

04 | Mobility

In this module, we will be diving into the worlds of behavior and transportation. The field of transportation is rapidly evolving: new technologies like autonomous vehicles, electric cars and sharing are changing the way that we think about transportation itself. In order to use these technologies to create a better transportation future, however, we have to understand how to shape behavior and how to design better modes of movement.  

What are YOU going to do?

In this track, you look around you and think about how you, your friends and your family get from point A to point B. Why do you use the form of transportation that you do? And what needs to be improved or fixed? We will dive into the behaviors that shape transportation choices. And then we will get our hands dirty with finding solutions. We will develop experiments to change the way that individuals interact with transportation. 

05 | Healthcare

This track will focus on solutions for hospital-systems. We are looking for applicants who have a cross-disciplinary passion for medicine and medical technology, as well as design, engineering, or social justice. We aim to teach students techniques in rapid prototyping, design thinking, and data science in an effort to improve overall patient care. We hope to incorporate a field-trip to a nearby hospital to identify potential challenges in the current health system and come up with creative solutions for them. We especially encourage those with experience in medicine (pre-med, medical students, those who have shadowed doctors) to apply. 

This track will foster design thinking, stakeholder identification, long-term medical device development, and how to make large scale impacts in the healthcare system.

06 | Community-based Health Solution

We are looking for creative students with a passion for implementing change within their own community. We hope that applicants will identify public health problems within their own community, as we want our track to be designed to fit their needs. Learn how to design solutions to improve accessibility to health care for the broader community, use software tools, modeling, synthetic biology techniques and/or product development. Prototypes from this track would ideally improve community access to diagnostics, preventative care and/or common medicine. Potential projects include: designing a diagnostic device for detection of disease or detection of clean water; designing an app to streamline healthcare appointments; designing a service experience for aging communities; or designing a program to streamline delivery of medications for patients. 

This track would foster design thinking and rapid prototyping for point-of-care, community-based applications. 

07 | Investigation and Journalism: Telling Tangible Tales

The world around us is complex and often difficult to comprehend and represent. Creatively conveying a social issue can be impactful in both bringing awareness about the issue and creating a drive to address it. Technological and art-based media can enable us to tell effective social stories that express one’s perception of a phenomenon/event/space/trend in society and create impact by highlighting important issues.  

In this track, we will engage in a variety of exploratory exercises – need-finding, investigative journalism, reflective ethnography – and create tangible and interactive artifacts that share narratives and perspectives. Participants will be exposed to journalistic documentation practices such as interviewing, photo-documentation and data collection and create artifacts that are playful, responsive and tell stories. Tales can be an art installation, a game, a projection, a data visualization, a tangible product, or anything else you imagine it to be. Each tale will communicate a powerful social narrative. 

08 | Housing and Energy

India is the second-most populous country in the world with 1.37 billion people, 40% of whom are expected to be in residing in cities by the year 2020. The average population density is 450 individuals per km2 while in certain regions like Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the world, it can be as high as 500,000 individuals per km2. While the housing crisis is a direct problem associated with this rapid urbanization, there are also serious problems associated with access to energy. Specifically, indoor air pollution due to the burning of solid fuels for cooking, which leads to nearly half a million deaths annually. These and other associated problems are only expected to worsen as urbanization is expected to double over the next 30 years.​

The goal of this workshop is to explore unique Indian problems with students of diverse backgrounds. Our theme specifically explores housing as well as energy-related problems like the ones described above. We will also be exploring other topics like micro-grids, tracking energy usage using pervasive technologies like cell phones.

09 | Environmental 

Resilience

Current practices in urban planning, architecture, and landscape architecture continue to interfere with natural processes pervasively and chaotically, with bearings on water cycles, climate, and biodiversity. Global climate change and sea-level rise coupled with a growing global population and local changes to environmental conditions have intensified the threat of flooding episodes in communities around the world. We frequently talk about the side effects of these phenomena as if they are inevitable features of the design, but is that really so? India is a particularly pressing geography to examine from the perspective of climate action and adaptation. Both high-density cities located in the deltas of major river systems and in flood-prone territories, Mumbai and Kolkata are among the most vulnerable cities of the subcontinent. Urban planning practices in these cities have led to legacy infrastructure in areas that are exposed to pluvial and fluvial flooding without the capacity to control, store, or redistribute incoming water.

This track will guide you, the students, to explore solutions for the built environment towards the mitigation of hazard fallout. 

10 | Public Spaces

Have you ever noticed how people use their public spaces, and problems in those spaces? From outdoor markets to parks, to street intersections, public spaces are the outdoor living rooms of cities. Small scale design interventions in public spaces can have ripple effects throughout the city, such as perceptions of safety, dynamics of human interactions, and ownership and empowerment of citizens. This track is for designers, seeking to improve the built environment through physical installations.​

This track will focus on developing solutions that make our public spaces more dynamic, responsive to a different community and neighborhood needs, and improve critical shortcomings like safety, comfort, and accessibility. We will engage with public spaces to identify an opportunity area where you, the students, see a need for improvement, and then we will design and build a physical model of a solution for the space.

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Created by The MIT India Initiative Team