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When
they walked in, few had thought twice about adequate lighting for a late night study session.  None could imagine having to use a bathroom outside especially in the dark.  The window sills were lined with prototypes of different cooking devices addressing different environmental and safety issues.  MIT’s D-Lab was founded 14 years ago to take-on these and many other issues in developing countries.  What a stark contrast to the work MIT is known for.  We could not have had two better visits to start off iFp Saturdays than MIT’s IDM and D-Lab.  Both programs are at the cutting edge of integrated Creative problem solving. People who can navigate in this domain are in high demand and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

I’m really excited about the group of young people we have participating in iFp Saturdays.  To give up their Saturdays of Xbox and whatever to explore the world of innovation says a lot.  It’s also interesting watching them interact.  The have quickly bonded around innovation and a desire to achieve.  It’s a safe-zone to say I want to be a Theoretical Physicist or an Industrial Designer, because the others want to do great things as well.  Their task for the day was to imagine living in an area without electricity and your bathroom was outside. The assignment is to design a handheld lantern to make the trip less scary at night.

Before starting they were introduced to circuit theory, V = I * R. They were given a battery, a choice of resistors and a white LED. In order for the lantern to work, they had to choose the right size resistor to drop the voltage to the proper level to illuminate the LED.  One of our students boldly walked up to the board and solved the equation.  I was quite impressed.  Exposing youth to people, places and opportunities will not be enough.  We must also help them understand the fundamentals behind the excitement.

After that it was into the lab, to begin making. Some teamed up, others went solo.  It was amazing watching them work.

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Time literally flew as we had to pull them away from their designs.  The first two iFp Saturdays have set a high bar.  Hopefully, we can keep them wanting more!

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Michael K. Dawson

Co-Founder, Chief Doer, Innovators For Purpose, Inc. Creative Doing - the act of changing or influencing with the intent of leaving a mark on the world...