MITdesignX is an academic program in the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) dedicated to design innovation and entrepreneurship. We 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.

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.

VENTURE DESIGN
The accelerator is rooted on two customized interdisciplinary courses: (1) An intensive Bootcamp during the MIT winter semester (IAP) and (2) A 4-month accelerator program during the Spring term where teams and ideas evolve into startups. Using design thinking methodology, the courses present tools and strategies for entrepreneurs to test and build their ventures.
ACADEMIC CREDITS
Participants in the MITdesignX Venture Accelerator receive a total of 18 academic credits. Six in the IAP Bootcamp aynd 12 in the Spring semester course.
FUNDING
Each team in the accelerator receives a $15,000 equity-free no strings attached grant for project related expenses. Specific details on the distribution and rules governing the distribution of funds is found in our FAQ page.
PILOT OPPORTUNITIES
Accelerator teams must engage in active market research and continuous prototyping of their core concept, venturing out to meet actual customers, users and stakeholders. The program encourages testing and retesting solutions in real-world settings. To enable this, MITdesignX, and our partners, supporters and mentors help connect teams to pilot opportunities in the Boston/Cambridge area and around the world.
WORKSPACE
We provide an exciting 24/7 work environment for our cohorts in a dynamic space located in the School of Architecture and Planning. After the Spring course, we help new startups find space in Cambridge, Boston, New York and beyond. Some startups also continue to use our space for the remainder of the calendar year.
MENTORSHIP
Over 25 professionals with extensive experience in creating and leading ventures of various sizes and civic and business leaders provide in-depth guidance to MITdesignX teams. Their contribution includes assistance in general business strategy in addition to specific advisory support in technological, legal, financial and operational issues.
NETWORK
MITdesignX teams have access to a vast network of academic and industry experts, alumni, civic and community organizations.
COMMUNITY
We foster a culture of collaboration and creative problem solving. And we like to have fun! We are doing things we care about, because we think they will tangibly improve quality of life and the human environments.
The accelerator is rooted on two customized interdisciplinary courses: (1) An intensive Bootcamp during the MIT winter semester (IAP) and (2) A 4-month accelerator program during the Spring term where teams and ideas evolve into startups. Using design thinking methodology, the courses present tools and strategies for entrepreneurs to test and build their ventures.
Participants in the MITdesignX Venture Accelerator receive a total of 18 academic credits. Six in the IAP Bootcamp aynd 12 in the Spring semester course.
Each team in the accelerator receives a $15,000 equity-free no strings attached grant for project related expenses. Specific details on the distribution and rules governing the distribution of funds is found in our FAQ page.
Accelerator teams must engage in active market research and continuous prototyping of their core concept, venturing out to meet actual customers, users and stakeholders. The program encourages testing and retesting solutions in real-world settings. To enable this, MITdesignX, and our partners, supporters and mentors help connect teams to pilot opportunities in the Boston/Cambridge area and around the world.
We provide an exciting 24/7 work environment for our cohorts in a dynamic space located in the School of Architecture and Planning. After the Spring course, we help new startups find space in Cambridge, Boston, New York and beyond. Some startups also continue to use our space for the remainder of the calendar year.
Over 25 professionals with extensive experience in creating and leading ventures of various sizes and civic and business leaders provide in-depth guidance to MITdesignX teams. Their contribution includes assistance in general business strategy in addition to specific advisory support in technological, legal, financial and operational issues.
MITdesignX teams have access to a vast network of academic and industry experts, alumni, civic and community organizations.
We foster a culture of collaboration and creative problem solving. And we like to have fun! We are doing things we care about, because we think they will tangibly improve quality of life and the human environments.

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.

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 the MIT SA+P 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.

Understand

What is the need/problem we aim to solve and who will benefit from our solution

Needs Analysis
Stakeholder Map
Market Analysis
Deconstruction

Need/problem description based on interviews and data insights

Analysis of all stake-holder groups and how they benefit from a solution

Demographic and market data reflecting size, growth, provides, competition and trendology

Quick exploration of what it take to develop the venture and make it financially sustainable

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

New description of the venture in light of enhanced understanding of the need/problem

Mission Design
Value Proposition
User Journey
Design Specs

Solve

What is our solution and why is it beneficial to all stakeholders

Envision

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

The venture storyline and key message to stakeholders and sponsors / investors

Revenue modeling designed to achieve the team vision and milestone objectives

Vision Design
values and leadership
Communication
Revenue Modeling
Priority Pillars
People and Partners
Finance Plan
Funding Strategy

What key activities the venture must focus on and get right to achieve team objectives

Number and timing of key hires / talent and a list of target partnerships

Three year revenue and cost plans based on team vision and objectives

Introduction to funding options and calculation of funding needs

How will we launch scale and fund our venture

Scale

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 scale and launch 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.

After MITdesignX

After completing the MITdesignX venture accelerator, many ventures attain placements in other accelerators such as Y Combinator, Mass Challenge, Urban-X, and MIT’s own DeltaV. In addition, graduating teams engage in pilot projects in collaboration with industry, city and government partners, customers and NGOs. Pilot projects have been conducted in collaboration with the US cities of Boston, MA, Cambridge, MA, Cary, NC, Portland, OR and internationally in Guangzhou, China, Lima, Peru, and more.

After and during MITdesignX, teams begin to generate revenue, apply for grants, and raise funds from friends and family, angel networks, crowdsourcing platforms, and Venture Capital Firms. The first two cohorts have raised over $3.5 million in grants, angel and venture capital funding from the start of their cohort to 18 months after completing MITdesignX.

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.

Up to six paid internships are provided each summer for current students at SA+P to work with new startups created by fellows at Our Generation Speaks (OGS). OGS, based at Brandeis University, hosts Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs in Boston for 3 months to live, learn and work together in pursuit of new ventures and peaceful coexistence. MITdesignX and MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives) has partnered with OGS to provide curriculum, mentorship and the support of MIT students to Israeli and Palestinian fellows with backgrounds in design and planning. Interns spend all of August with the startups in addition to an IAP trip to the region.

MIT CREATE is a team of researchers and practitioners working to imagine the future of urban exchange. MIT CREATE is a part of MITdesignX and is focused on exploring methods and solutions that enhance urban development for informal and non-standard economies. Through classes and ongoing collaborative projects, CREATE provides students, practitioners and entrepreneurs meaningful ways to develop and advance inclusive policy, design and entrepreneurial opportunities. Read more at create.mit.edu

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 the China Ventures Workshop in partnership with the MIT China Future City Lab and Tsinghua University, and the OGS/MISTI program with Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs. In addition, teams at MITdesignX are working and contributing around the world.