As part of MIT D-Lab, Kofi's work focuses on advancing asset-based approaches to community-driven technology design and solution finding in communities where people on average earn less than $3 a day. He has co-facilitated village-level technology design trainings in Uganda and Haiti; helped interdisciplinary teams commercialize social impact products in Ghana and Tanzania; provided support to local innovation centers in Brazil, Colombia, and India; and helped build the International Development Innovation Network (IDIN.org), a global community of 1000+ innovators, entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders, researchers, and educators. Kofi pursues similar work in K-12 after-school programs in Mississippi and Massachusetts that focus on making design and educational resources accessible to geographically and economically isolated communities. Regardless of context or whether technology is a focus, what drives his work is a commitment to improving the use of inclusive practices that lead to practical solutions and equitable opportunities in historically excluded communities. Kofi studied political economy at Columbia University, urban planning at MIT, and is a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; he is from the Bronx and rarely eats pizza outside of New York City.
Ron is a Solutions Architect for Cisco Tactical Operations, a dedicated crisis response team that establishes emergency networks in the aftermath of a disaster. A member of TacOps since May 2013, he is responsible for leading the strategy and technical direction of the team’s network infrastructure and deployable communications solutions. Ron deploys and supports mobile communication platforms such as the Network Emergency Response Vehicle, a.k.a. the NERV, and portable kits such as the Rapid Response Kits and Mesh Response Kits. He has deployed to provide communications support in more than 40 sites during the 2017 Hurricane Maria response in Puerto Rico, and in 2015 provided connectivity along the migrant route during European Refugee Crisis in Slovenia. Ron was also part of the 2015 Cyclone Pam response team that assisted in reestablishing communications supporting government CIO operations in Vanuatu, and deployed in 2013 to the Philippines for the Super Typhoon Haiyan response, installing satellite terminals and networks that supported local government relief efforts in Guiuan and Borongan.
Ben Wilson is the director of the Center for Intelligent Devices at Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. His projects focus on optical devices and machine learning for image and spectral interpretation. Ben received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. He has previously held research positions at the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.