1. What are we looking for in potential participants?

The workshop is designed to be a hands-on learning-by-doing experience. That said, given the short duration of the event it would be quite a task to start the “learning” part from scratch. Hence, to assure success in prototyping we’re looking for candidates with inter-disciplinary skills (e.g., a great software hacker with a talent for design, a product designer with a penchant for storytelling, an avid robotics hobbyist who may be earning a degree in chemical engineering). Additionally, whatever skill set you possess (and write about) we expect a certain level of fluency in that domain. Projects are a useful resource to understanding your work and experience in your areas of interest. Ideas that you have been thinking about also give us a clue about how inter-disciplinary your approach is and how they fit in the workshop. Having a web page is always a good idea to showcase your work, but is not mandatory.

2. What does Major mean on the application form?

Major is your major field of study (e.g. computer science, electrical engineering, electronics and communications, interaction design, architecture…

3. How do I select a track?

The description provided with each track is concisely what the track is about. Whatever track you choose you will be expected to go through the same process of ideation, critique, design, and finally building a prototype. It is important that you choose tracks that best align with your interests. In the application form we have asked you to assign your preference to each track. We will try our best to assign applicants to their first or second choices — however, this is not assured.


4. Is there a registration fee for this workshop?

Yes, we generally charge a nominal registration fees for the workshop. The fees covers your stay and food for 7 days at the event. The registration fees will be updated on the site soon.

5. What does it mean to volunteer as a Technical Helper?

We are looking for a few volunteers per track. These students (preferably juniors or seniors) would work closely with the Media Lab mentors on track content prior to the workshop. During the workshop, they would be part of a team, but should be prepared to assist the instructors with technical details.

This option is only open to students of the host university.


6. What is the policy for ownership of work that comes out of this workshop?

Ideas, designs, and prototypes that come out of the Design & Innovation Workshop will be made publicly available under Creative Commons – an open source license. After the selection process, at registration, participants will be provided with details.


7. What if I do not have product design or hardware experience?

In such cases, please fill none in the relevant fields. Not having experience in a particular field does not disqualify any candidate. We are looking for a mix of skills, so please highlight your forte.


8. Why do I need references? What information should a person I provide in my references be able to furnish?

As the number of slots in the workshop is small, we need to have a pool of participants that have accurately listed their skills and achievements. In case of any ambiguity and when candidates are competing for a spot we may need to contact a person that has worked with the candidate to make a selection.

The persons in your reference list should be able to validate any information you provide as part of the application material.


9. Is there a separate application process for the conference?

If you are selected to the workshop you are by default enrolled for the conference. Pricing rates for attending the last day of the event are available on the website.


10. Do I have to bring along prototypes/projects that I have built earlier?

The workshop is about creating new prototypes so you don’t need to have anything before hand, but list anything you’ve done on the application form.


11. Is it necessary that I have worked on innovative projects before?

No, just put the projects you have been involved in and what your ideas are for new projects. We are looking for people with ideas and the potential to execute them so don’t worry if you have not much prior experience. Fill-in the application form as completely as you can.


12. How do I know if my application is successfully submitted?

Once you submit the form you should wait until you see a page with a confirmation message.


13. When will I know if I am selected for the workshop?

We will send out acceptance emails early January. Please understand that due to the volume of applications we receive we will not be able to accommodate everyone. This does in no way reflect on the quality of your application or on your profile, background, and experience. We are simply striving to select a diverse group of people who we think will benefit from working with each other. We wish everyone the best and hope that people will start similar workshops on their own so that everyone can benefit from such experience.


14. I head an educational institution. Can I host a workshop in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab?

Yes, certainly. We would love to have as many students as possible have access to and gain exposure from this kind of ideation-to-prototyping-and-critique workshop. Please contact us for further discussions.


15. Why didn’t I get selected to the workshop?

While we cannot provide individual feedback, some of the reasons that we didn’t accept candidates include the following:

  • limited number of spots for a large number of applications
  • little care in filling up the application form, making it difficult to assess the candidate’s capabilities
  • unrealistic ideas for projects
  • overqualified candidates who wouldn’t have learned as much from this workshop as other participants
  • decision to balance each track with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences


Email any additional questions you have to: india@media.mit.edu