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Design Museum Boston, smallbean and the Newton-Tanzania Collaborative partner to bring sustainable education to the developing world.

Designing A Difference is Design Museum Boston’s campaign to educate the public on the transformative power of design by helping nonprofits find innovative solutions to economic, social, and environmental problems.

Each project will unite a nonprofit in need of design services with a carefully assembled team of local design experts. Through a series of charrettes, or design-days, the team will collaborate to design, develop, and prototype useful solutions.

Design Museum Boston will document the design process from beginning to end and post the team’s progress online. Each project will culminate in an online and onsite exhibit showcasing the nonprofit and the team’s design work with the ultimate goal of educating the public through the practical application of design.

The first Designing A Difference project is with Smallbean, a nonprofit based in Boston, Massachusetts. Smallbean provides electricity to schools in the developing world through the use of a solar powered computer lab. Through their Citizen Archivist Project (CAP) they empower participants to document their communal life through oral history interviews, photographs and video footage all aimed at preserving language and culture while teaching technology skills.

Smallbean also envisions a revenue-stream for schools that will sell excess power generated by the solar system to village residents seeking to light their homes or charge devices such as cell phones with sustainable clean energy. This excess power would be distributed throughout the village by students delivering rentable batteries. The Excess Solar as a Revenue Generation Option program or ESCARGO will be the means by which programs like CAP and other educational endeavors will be sustained. 

Design Museum Boston is helping Smallbean and their partner, the Newton-Tanzania Collaborative redesign these systems and implement them at their rural innovation center currently in construction in Tanzania.  The design team has already done a significant amount of work to develop the concepts and prove them out. Now it’s time to turn them into a reality.

By helping to kickstart this program you will be raising funds to purchase the necessary solar panels, batteries, and electronic components that the design team will need to make their vision real. 

For more information on the Designing A Difference program and to se picture and videos from the workshops click here.

Help us design a difference.


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pledged of $7,500 goal
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    2 backers

    Support a great cause and help make a difference.

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    5 backers

    Above + 1 Printed Ticket to Designing A Difference Conference w/ Continuum & WGBH, 1 DMB pin, A postcard from Tanzania

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    Above + Name Embroidered on 1 Portable Battery Bag, Samsonite Solar Messenger Bag, Special acknowledgment in Program Book

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    Above + Samsonite Luggage Set

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    Above + Your Name on the Launchpad Facility (The (blank) Center for Rural Innovation), Come with us to Tanzania to Present the Prototype

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Funding period

- (30 days)