April 2011

Grantee news: Worldbike mileage in developing countries

Ten years ago, former E-team grantee Xtracycle launched Worldbike, an organization focused on designing innovative bicycle prototypes to advance development in developing countries. Watch the Worldbike story...







AYZH wins World Health Care Congress Award

2009 NCIIA E-Team grantee, AYZH, was among projects honored this month as part of the WHCC Affordable Health Innovations Exhibit in Washington, D.C. AYZH is a social venture looking through the eyes of women to identify the tools they want and need to help improve their standard of living. AYZH's main focus is preventing maternal and new-born deaths, by distributing affordable clean birth kits to women and clinics (that cost $2) that dramatically reduce lethal childbirth infection.

The Innovators - Neonatal Technologies Forum

Brilliance: Stanford University and Design Revolution
Students from Stanford's Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability course supported Design Revolution (D-Rev)'s development of Brilliance. Brilliance is an affordable world-class phototherapy device to treat severely jaundiced newborns. It was licensed to Phoenix Medical Systems, a neonatal device market leader in India, in December 2010, and will be sold to hospitals starting in July 2011.

East Meets West
East Meets West has been working in Southeast Asia for more than 23 years and is currently the largest non-governmental organization in Vietnam. EMW implements innovative programs and projects in health care, clean water and sanitation, education and community infrastructure. EMW has made a lasting impact on millions of children and families living in poverty. Thus far, EMW has invested over US $80 million in Vietnam. It operates in Laos, Cambodia, East Timor, the Philippines and India.

INGENIMED SAC is a venture supported by RAMP PERU. Its main product is a jaundice phototherapy device.

Developing World Health Care Technology Laboratory: Duke University
The DHTLab develops healthcare technologies for resource poor settings. The lab is based at Duke University and closely cooperates with Engineering World Health. PhotoGenesis Medical, a spin-out from DHTLab, produces a phototherapy device for the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia that runs on motorcycle batteries with long-lasting bulbs. The ARV pouch is a new medical device being developed that can prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child during the birthing process.

infantAIR: Rice University
infantAIR is developing Baby Bubbles, a low-cost respiratory support device to treat neonatal respiratory distress. The device helps to keep a baby’s lungs fully inflated so he or she can breathe naturally. infantAIR is aiming to implement the device in Rwandan hospitals first.

Embrace is a social enterprise that aims to help millions of vulnerable babies through a low cost infant incubator. Unlike traditional incubators that cost up to $20,000, the Embrace Infant Warmer costs less than 1% of this price. The device can work with or without electricity, has no moving parts, is portable and is safe and intuitive to use.

Apnea Alert: Northwestern University
This team is developing a respiratory monitor with apnea alarm, CPAP, and phototherapy blanket for use in Kangroo Mother Care (also called skin-to-skin therapy) wards in South Africa.

Antenatal Screening Kit: Johns Hopkins University
Every year, 6.3 million pregnant women and infants die from complications that develop during pregnancy. Although many of these deaths are preventable, the high cost of current screening methods prohibits timely detection of these complications for women in developing countries, where 99% of maternal deaths occur. This team from Johns Hopkins University, in conjunction with Jhpiego, the nation's leading NGO in the field of maternal/child health, is developing the Antenatal Screening Kit: a sustainable, low-cost kit to screen pregnant women for potentially fatal conditions including pre-eclampsia, anemia, and gestational diabetes.

NeoEmbrace's techology is a multi-use passive warmer for low birthweight and premature infants. It prevent heat loss and dehydration, and can also be used as a transport incubator. The technology was ranked by PATH's Neonatal Incubator assessment as #1 in this category, out of seventeen others.

ePartogram: Johns Hopkins University
Studies show that maternal death rates can be reduced significantly with simple measures, such as using the paper partogram, a sheet for monitoring labor according to WHO standards. Where implemented, the partogram has shown to reduce maternal mortality by half. This team is making the partogram as easy to use and interpret as possible.

Neonatal Technologies Forum: Travel and Lodging

If you are flying into Chicago, please plan your itinerary as follows:

  • Arrival: morning of Friday, June 3
  • Departure: late afternoon, Saturday, June 4

(You are welcome to arrive earlier or depart later at your own expense


  • O’Hare International Airport: 17 miles to the Evanston Campus
  • Midway International Airport: 27 miles to the Evanston Campus

Ground transportation
Northwestern University’s website provides ground transportation information from both O’Hare and Midway Airports. Note that the Pace Bus from O’Hare Int’l Airport is a convenient way to travel directly to campus and costs only $1.75.

Forum Accommodation
Hilton Hotel Orrington
1710 Orrington Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201

Call 800-445-8667 and reference “Neonatal Technologies Forum” to reserve a room at the conference rate.  Rooms are $140 + tax. Make your reservation by May 13, 2011.


Leveraged Freedom Chair E-Team featured on CNN

The Leveraged Freedom Chair E-Team from MIT has been featured on CNN. See the video here.

NCIIA funded the MIT team in 2010 to develop a lever-propelled wheelchair designed specifically to meet the mobility needs of people with disabilities in developing countries.





Nifty assignments in entrepreneurship education

At Open 2011, Clif Kussmaul and Trish Boyles from Muhlenberg College held a workshop called Nifty Assignments in Entrepreneurship Education. The session was dedicated to finding good materials that educators can use in teaching entrepreneurship: assignments that are easy to adopt and adapt, relevant in many settings, thought-provoking, and fun for students and teachers. Here we present a list of the Nifty Assignments (NAs) that were presented during the workshop.



Elevator Pitch

Dean Chang, University of Maryland
NA Name
Elevator Pitch
An Elevator Pitch is an overview of a product, service, project, person or other solution and is designed to just get a conversation started. It should make a meaningful and memorable connection with the audience and give some teasers that will entice people to want to get to know you better to possibly work with you, hire you, admit you to their school, etc.
For next class, prepare a 1-2 minute elevator pitch introducing yourself. 
·      Name
·      What do you want to study?
·      What do you want to do for a career?
·      Why is this course interesting to you?
·      What do you want to get out of this course?
·      Something memorable about you or that you’re particularly proud of
·      Anything else you’d like to add?
·      Did you cover all topics? Use the above as a guideline for what to talk about, but you are encouraged to be creative and use your own format. 
·      Minimize “um”s and “uh”s (how many total?)
·      Were you memorable (in a good way)? A catchy introduction and wrap-up help
·      Make yourself as interesting as possible in those two minutes to help separate you from everyone else and get you admitted, hired, chosen on the team, etc. (and focus on what interests them)
·      Sound confident: eye contact and voice projection
·      Good posture; look comfortable, not awkward; don’t fidget
·      Be bold! Be brash! But don’t be boorish!
Record elevator pitches and post to Vimeo, YouTube, or other site for easy viewing by students. If no Flip or camcorder available, you can even use students’ camera phones to record them. 
communication, networking, marketing

The Newspaper Challenge

Frances Mitchell, Innovation Academy, University College Dublin, Ireland, frances.mitchell@ucd.ie
NA Name
The Newspaper Challenge
Required: Today’s newspaper for each student. At least five hours in the day to complete the task.
Optional: Open the presentation with a clip from the film “Working Girl” (part where Melanie Griffith spots opportunity in a newspaper to work with Trask Industries). A fun way to allow students to see how the newspaper is a valuable tool.
  • Find an opportunity from today’s newspaper
  • Form into multidisciplinary teams

  • Create the most value possible from your chosen opportunity by using only what you have in your pockets/bag (document everything before leaving the room)
  • Return at the end of the day and make a three-minute presentation on the value that you created (any medium)
Students can then literally do whatever they want to create anything of value (depending on how they qualify value). In some cases there is only the potential of future value (i.e., a project that cannot be fully completed in the time-scale), but certainly I would expect that a good amount of research into the idea has happened.
  • Confidence in creative thinking--"turning problems into opportunities"
  • Opportunity recognition
  • How to translate ideas into value creation--what is value?
  • Evolution of innovative ideas in multi-disciplinary teams--valuing inherent skills


Any group of students. I have worked with multidisciplinary teams of PhD students (across all disciplines) and it worked extremely well. The aim is to get students to think beyond their area of expertise and see opportunities in everyday life. Ideally you would have multidisciplinary teams as it brings richer experience and skills to the table.
Repeatability: The newspaper is a constantly changing medium, therefore this activity can be repeated ad nauseam without any cross-over.
It genuinely gets students thinking of opportunities and has them referring to newspapers (and therefore the world outside their research) on a much more regular basis.
Low work investment from lecturer/facilitator
No need for facilities as they can only use what is on them at the time)
Time required to complete the assignment--ideally you give the students a full day.
You need to supply the newspapers (I arranged free newspapers from the Irish Times)
Usually helps if presenter has done it themselves and can present an example.
Could use the online version of a newspaper to supply "news" (though this may lead to students using the internet, which was not originally in their pocket)
Could be done by individuals, but the proviso being that they do something in an area that has nothing to do with their research (still much better if done in teams, as you share skill sets)

Transfer Map

Susannah Howe, Smith College, showe@smith.edu
NA Name
Transfer Map
Team (or individual) activity for students to visually display the skills/knowledge/ attitudes that they will "transfer out" of that class and to their next endeavors. I usually have students do an individual assignment before class in which they identify their own transferrable skills and then spend one class period for teams to aggregate their collective transfer items and make a visual map (think concept map, but focused on transfer items, not concepts;
also picture markers, stickers, tape ribbons, other colorful art supplies...)
transferable skills/knowledge/attitudes, professional development
Intended for seniors about to graduate (works really well in a capstone course) but it could also work thinking about what transfers out of one course and into the next one. 
·      Applies to many courses/contexts.
·      Gets students to think about how their current course learning extends beyond the course itself.
·      Facilitates team discussion about joint learning.
Takes a whole class to complete; even better with a pre-assignment
Requires a basic explanation of a concept map and a short discussion of what is meant by "transfer" and "transfer map."  (Note, I intentionally don't give many instructions, so as to leave the activity fairly open for student interpretation.) See http://cmap.ihmc.us/docs/ConceptMap.html for a good overview and nice visual of a concept map.
Works best when students do a pre-assignment listing/discussing their future plans (after graduation or, if they're not seniors, upcoming courses/internships) and then their top transferable skills/knowlegde.
Could be done individually. 

DeBono’s 6 Hats: Innovating on the Common Water Bottle

Jonathan Weaver and Darrell Kleinke
University of Detroit Mercy Mechanical Engineering Department weaverjm@udmercy.edu
NA Name
DeBono’s 6 Hats: Innovating on the Common Water Bottle
DeBono’s fundamental premise is that there are six fundamental types of thinking, and thinking becomes too confusing if we try to think in all modes simultaneously. Thinking becomes more effective if we use one type of thinking at a time. This is accomplished by figuratively putting on “thinking caps,” one by one. If groups of people can think in a common mode, they can devise better solutions to problems at a more rapid pace! Consider the time wasted when team members aree not “on the same page”!
The class is introduced to the concept of Edward Debono’s six thinking hats in class during one 50-75 minute lecture period. The instructor wears the “blue hat,” quickly introduces each of the other hats and, in teams of four to five students, the class practices each hat while trying to come up with an innovation related to the common water bottle. 
Ideation/concept generation and team dynamics
Any class with design content or involving teamwork
Students experience how following a structured process to ensure parallel thinking can greatly enhance team productivity. Free canned slides for this and other ideation techniques as well as technical entrepreneurship case studies available at http://weaverjm.faculty.udmercy.edu
Requires a minimum of about an hour of class time. Instructor would do well to read Six Thinking Hats by Edward DeBono ahead of time--but should be able to get by based on examining the slides ahead of time.   
Could apply the technique to a different problem, such as the problem being addressed in the course.