A core value at the d.school is to let student interest drive the kinds of projects we work on. From the beginning, our students demonstrated a passion for social entrepreneurship, flocking to one of our earliest courses, Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability. Dozens of teams have continued on after the course ends, turning their ideas into companies or launching their solutions with the help of NGO partners and local non-profits who are already on the ground in the developing world. A few examples include D.Light, a safe, clean and affordable alternative to kerosene lanterns that are the only source of light in many households.They were recently featured in Wired magazine. Embrace, a portable warming device for infants born prematurely to parents who live too far from a hospital or can’t afford medical care, was recently featured on 20/20. And the Pepper Eaters, a team that developed a safe tool for women in Ethiopia who process hot peppers to sell at market, was recently featured in National Geographic magazine.
More recently, students in many other d.school classes have been focusing their attention on Social Entrepreneurship. Juntos Finanzas, a startup that provides personal financial tools to Latino communities, started in our Launchpad course in 2010. Teams from Designing Liberation Technology have launched projects using mobile technology for social good in Kenya.