Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pioneer Profile: Amy Smith

Amy Smith is the real deal. She shot to prominence in 2004, when she won the prestigious MacArthur Genius Award for her work in appropriate technology design.

Smith's greatest contributions, I believe, are in the world of education. An MIT student genius, Amy got her greatest technical challenges and lessons during her four-year Peace Corps assignment in Botswana. She brought her passion back to MIT and has since dedicated her life to educating and involving bright, young students in design for the poorest in the world. That is and will be her greatest legacy. D-Lab, her popular appropriate technology design class has spawned similar programs in other universities; and alums have gone on to spawn social innovation companies and/or become respected thinkers in their own right. What is greatest about her alums is that they have learned to consider the poorest person in the world when making any decision. They consider the impact their everyday decisions or technology designs have on those we least consider. Imagine what a different world this would be if every engineer, scientist, sociologist and politician considered and designed for the least of us all. Below, I've included Amy Smith's TED talk...where she talks about one of the appropriate technologies that have spawned out of D-Lab.


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