MITdesignX is an academic program in the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) and part of the MIT Morningside Academy for Design (MIT MAD). We are dedicated to design innovation and entrepreneurship and empower students, faculty and researchers to build new business ventures and forward-thinking solutions designed to address critical challenges facing the future of cities and the human environment.
TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: VENTURE ACCELERATOR
MITdesignX provides resources to build new solutions, systems and ventures. Successful ventures exist at the intersection of design, business, science and technology. Interdisciplinary teams of creative thinkers and makers fast-track the development of their innovations and launch ventures into the marketplace. We turn ideas into action.
Reasons to Join
THE MITDESIGNX VENTURE ACCELERATOR IS A NEW APPROACH TO DESIGN INNOVATION, ONE THAT IS BASED ON CREATIVE OPTIMISM, AND THAT WORKS CLOSELY WITH PARTNERS AND STAKEHOLDERS. THE PROGRAM IS A LAUNCHING PAD FOR STUDENTS, RESEARCHERS, AND FACULTY IN SA+P, AND THEIR COLLABORATORS ACROSS THE MIT COMMUNITY AND AROUND THE WORLD. WE TAILOR A SERIES OF DESIGN AND BUSINESS CLASSES, PROVIDE ACADEMIC CREDITS, GRANTS, WORKSPACE AND A WIDE NETWORK OF DEDICATED MENTORS, BUSINESS, INSTITUTIONAL AND GOVERNMENT CONTACTS AND FUNDING SPECIALISTS TO BUILD NEW VENTURES.
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR
We look for creative innovators dedicated to improving the quality of life in cities and the human environment. MITdesignX seeks diverse, interdisciplinary teams working on challenging ideas with clear vision, passion and a drive to design solutions and launch real ventures.
Each Fall, applicants go through a rigorous selection process that reviews venture designs and ideas based on human and social impact, feasibility, uniqueness, and scalability as well as team composition, diversity and skillset. Finalists pitch before a panel of judges to enter the program.
Applicants may include graduate students, researchers, staff and/or faculty members from SA+P, MAD and their collaborators from across MIT, other universities and beyond.
Previous teams in MITdesignX have included participants from across MIT including SA+P, computer science, engineering, management, biology, and the humanities.
VENTURE DESIGN IN PRACTICE: ACADEMIC FRAMEWORK
What is the need/problem we aim to solve and who will benefit from our solution
Need/problem description based on interviews and data insights
Determine who are your customers
Analysis of all stake-holder groups and how they benefit from a solution
An analysis of your research and a check on venture feasibility
Team statement describing what the venture is designed to do
Statement and images describing why stakeholders / customers would apply / buy the solution
Map of what the user will experience
Turn your ideas into actual products or systems for testing
What is our solution and why is it beneficial to all stakeholders
What do we want to achieve and what values guide our decision making
Team statement describing what the team aspires to achieve
Team manifesto outlining founder core values and leadership principles
How a venture creates, delivers, and captures value and generate revenue
Negotiation skills and learning how to recruit and partner with the right people
A goal-oriented action plan for effective and fast scaling of your venture
Three year revenue and cost plans based on team vision and objectives
Introduction to funding options and calculation of funding needs
The venture storyline and key message to stakeholders and sponsors / investors
How will we launch, scale and fund our venture
MITDESIGNX TEAMS DESIGN VENTURES. THEY CREATE A VISION, SYSTEM, STRATEGY, AND BUSINESS MODEL AND BUILD PROTOTYPES THAT EXPLORE THE FEASIBILITY AND FUNCTION OF THEIR IDEAS AND SOLUTIONS. OUR ACADEMIC FRAMEWORK CONSISTS OF FOUR STEPS. EACH STEP INCLUDES A SET OF INTEGRATED MODULES WHERE TEAMS EXPLORE TOPICS THROUGH WORKSHOPS, LECTURES, PINUPS, MENTOR SESSIONS, SITE VISITS AND DIRECT CUSTOMER INTERACTION.
The first step of the framework is to understand the need or problem the new venture is being designed to solve. The teams engage directly with people and stakeholders to learn as much as possible about who they are, and what are their needs and pain points. Based on that understanding, the second step is to clearly define the core concept/function/product/service that will provide the required solution. The third step is to envision what the venture and its founders want to achieve, and define the fundamental principles that will guide their decision making, development and operations including financing of the venture. The fourth and final step is focused on developing a master plan of priorities, people, processes and funds needed to effectively deploy and scale the venture.
At the end of the program, all teams will have developed a prototype, investor pitch deck and a “masterplan” for their venture – outlining key actions and strategies. The accelerator program culminates with a pitch night for teams to introduce their ventures to hundreds of investors, stakeholders, civic and industry partners.
Research is at the core of the MITdesignX program. The academic framework of the accelerator is reinforced by discovery of new knowledge through rigorous research and learning experiences examining disruption and innovation within the design and urban domains. Co-creation, collaboration, and the exploration of ideas fuel the discovery process and aid the innovative strategies of MITdesignX teams. This discovery process draws on advanced research projects led by faculty and researchers focused on entrepreneurial performance, education for innovation and design solutions for cities and the human environment.
During the summer and IAP, we work with MISTI to support internship opportunities in Reykjavik, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Venice and Hong Kong.
Contact us for more information.
Our work and the work of MITdesignX ventures is designed to have a global impact. Through several international partnerships, we expand academic and venture networks for our students, faculty and researchers. Projects include our workshop with the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, social venture workshop with the University of Iceland, accelerators in Venice with SerenDPT, and in Dubai with DIEZ, Dtec and GGH, and a collaboration with OGS and MISTI working with Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs. And of course, MITdesignX ventures create their own impact with their work around the globe.