I had been in Zambia for about a month enjoying work with International Development Enterprise (iDE) on a market information system called Lima Links as part of my curriculum with the GSSE. The International Development Design Summit (IDDS) was upon me in a mere matter of days. Much of my time in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, had been spent in offices of one sort or another discussing investment and partnership ideas with a range of stakeholders in the local vegetable value chain. I had picked up a weekend addiction of “Hashing” (an English running and singing activity) with a range of locals and ex pats involved in the international development community. It was a pretty full life in the field that I was a part of. Honestly I was happy.
After a quick couple of days on Lake Malawi, bookended by hilariously long bus trips involving unending gospel music, chickens, window-purchased bananas, and a wealth of other novelties, I arrived back in Lusaka, to a host of new faces in my new Zambian home. IDDS is organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Development Lab (D-Lab). Each year it takes place in a different location and seeks to address development issues through technological design based in methodologies of rapid co-creation between various stakeholders.
I walked into a meeting room, exhausted from the aforementioned bus ride, and saw a range of engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors, pastors, students, teachers, development workers, and thinkers of all ages from twenty two countries. This diverse group was brought together in the spirit of collaboration to learn, and make some sort of impact. Later we would be bound together through our shared experiences and linked into a much larger network of changemakers scattered across the globe.