“At the heart of IDM is a passion for the making of things. It’s evident in things formal and informal—the backgrounds of the leaders of the program and its guest lecturers, the curriculum, the time spent in workshops devoted to projects, even in the daily infield chatter in the studio.
Founding Director MITidm
To create something new is a process of exploration. Whatever material or medium you’re working in, whether it’s something basic or all the materials available to a sophisticated product-development team, it all becomes like a part of your Lego set. You know your polymers, you know your metals, you know your fabrics and your other materials… So having the students start to play with these materials, first of all they experience that act of creation, like kids building something with blocks, taking it down, building again. That’s so important, that psychic thrill of exploring and building.
But also the students learn that if you explore like that, you can innovate very quickly. As a future leader, if they appreciate that process, that act of creation, and that it takes action and time with materials, and building and breaking down, iteration, they’re going to create organizations that foster that. They’re going to create organizations that enable that, energize that. One of the biggest problems with our business is that, in spite of whatever innovation might take place within the organization, new products and services never get to market. There’s a fear of the new that comes from a culture dominated by optimizers not innovators. So these seemingly simple projects embed in our students the know-how and the value of keeping an organization vibrant, so that in the future they’ll build cultures of innovation not optimization.