What does InSTEDD do?

InSTEDD is a non-profit organization focused on using a blend of social and technical approaches to improve global health, safety and sustainable development.  InSTEDD supports communities by identifying gaps in collaboration that can be filled with user friendly tools and services.  Through a bottom up process of software development, community leadership and on-the-job training, InSTEDD uses a “social-technical” approach to develop solutions that support health, safety and sustainable development. 

You can learn about our projects here.

How does InSTEDD create tools? 

All of the work is born and developed in the field. InSTEDD works side-by-side with key stake holders within their local communities through the process of agile design, implementation and evaluation.  By closely co-developing tools with the user, the tool is more effective and resilient in the sometimes harsh environments where they are used, regardless of differences in language, literacy levels, or type of technology available. 

You can learn more about our  technologies here.

You can learn more about our approach here.

How do you choose which technologies to use?

The nations, communities, and local organizations we assist know what their challenges are better than anyone.  We count on their knowledge and leadership to help develop solutions that address the unique needs of each context. InSTEDD focuses on a combination of human-centered design, agile software development techniques, and creative cross-disciplinary collaboration.  

The technologies we use depend entirely on what works best for our partners.  We choose the programming languages, tools and technologies through a collaborative process with our partners to develop the best solution for their specific context.

How is InSTEDD involved with TED?

InSTEDD was created from Larry Brilliant’s TED prize in 2006 to serve as a catalyst to empower individuals and organizations to use technology for more effective action in early detection and early response to public health threats.

Since then, InSTEDD’s mission has grown from that foundation to include 4 key areas which focus on improving global health, safety and sustainable development :

  • Building Capacity within communities to foster a local culture of innovation
  • Creating Collaboration Technologies for social good
  • Collaborating with End Users through a bottom up design and development process
  • Ensuring Usefulness and Impact through research and evaluation 

Who does InSTEDD work with and how?

InSTEDD works to effectively bridge the gap between knowledge and action for improved collaboration. Within a rich ecosystem of governments, NGOs, vulnerable communities, health care workers, academic institutions, technology providers, disaster response groups, health informatics specialists, and open source groups, InSTEDD helps apply technology to improve collaboration. By working within this network, InSTEDD helps to identify requirements for enhanced information flow, better cross-sector collaboration and more effective collective action. Where context-appropriate tools & technologies already exist they are integrated.  If they do not yet exist, InSTEDD collaborates with the user through a bottom up design process to build new and robust tools that can be used and developed locally.

Learn more about our network here.

How does “innovation” contribute to social impact? 

InSTEDD works on actual problems in the field with the people who experience them to solve problems that focus on a social need. We work in rapid iterations, so we learn fast. This approach translates into solutions that are simpler, easier, cheaper, and incredibly user-friendly.

We believe that true innovation solves a real problem in the field, rather than a theory existing only in an isolated office environment. At InSTEDD, we know that the best form of innovation is a new method, idea or product that helps people overcome barriers to sharing information in a way that keeps them healthier, safer and economically supported.

How does InSTEDD’s work contribute to long-term sustainability?

In order to have a long term positive impact, the communities themselves must have the knowledge, determination and resources to continually develop their own solutions.
While technologies developed today may meet current needs, it is impossible to accurately predict the needs of the future.  In order to ensure that impact is sustained long term, having a strong local capacity to develop the next wave of solutions is critical. The people within the communities we serve best understand the challenges and why they occur, therefore, are the best ones to lead the process of designing and implementing a solution. With the support of technology, those in need can be better connected to valuable resources and important contacts which helps those in the field do their work more effectively.

It is important to have solutions that are locally designed and developed in order to ensure that they are context appropriate, usable and sustainable. The technologies developed need to work in local environments with local users and by focusing on local design and development, we see more relevant and usable solutions being created.  Through the local design and development process, appropriate solutions are developed and more opportunities for leadership and innovation are created.

What is an iLab?

InSTEDD’s Innovation Labs (aka iLabs) are spaces for innovation, research and consultancy with a focus on collaborative technologies for social good.  Each iLab promotes cross-sector collaborations that bring people together to explore solutions to regional health, safety and development problems.

The iLab approach is a unique blend of the social and technological development spheres, which have traditionally worked on problem solving in isolation from each other.  By working collaboratively to explore shared solutions, the iLabs foster collaborative engineering practices, multidisciplinary dialogue, cross-sector partnerships and entrepreneurial innovation serving the public good.

Click here to learn more about our iLab Southeast Asia.

Click here to learn more about our iLab Latin America.

What is the iLab Southeast Asia?

In 2008, InSTEDD launched the first innovation lab, located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the goal of building technological capacity for addressing health, safety and developmental issues in the Mekong Basin.

Since then, the iLab SEA has worked on a variety of projects, including working closely with Cambodia Communicable Disease Control (CDC) to strengthen the agency’s internal communication as well as assisting the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS) to develop an appointment reminder system as an extension to their current patient information system.  

You can visit the iLab Southeast Asia website here

What is the iLab Latin America? 

The iLab Latin America, our second iLab founded in 2011 and located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the result of a partnership between InSTEDD and Manas, a Buenos Aires-based software development and consulting firm. Our Latin America team is helping NGOs, governments, social entrepreneurs and other organizations in the region design and use collaborative technology tools to better deliver critical services to vulnerable populations, while building and optimizing their technological capacities to support their humanitarian work.

You can visit the iLab Latin America Spanish language website here.

What is the relationship between InSTEDD & the iLabs?

The iLab SEA is a subsidiary of InSTEDD, a US-based non-profit organization focused on using a blend of social and technical approaches to improve global health, safety and sustainable development.  In 2007, with support from and the Rockefeller Foundation, InSTEDD launched the first innovation lab, the iLab Southeast Asia located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  The goal of this regionally focused iLab was to build  technological capacity for addressing health, safety and sustainable development issues in the Mekong Basin. For more information about the iLab Southeast Asia, please visit their website here

In 2011, InSTEDD went on to launch the iLab Latin America located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our Latin America team is helping NGOs, governments, social entrepreneurs and other organizations in the region design and use collaboration technology tools to better deliver critical services to vulnerable populations.  In addition, the iLab Latin America works with partners to help them improve and scale their technological capacities so that they can further their life-saving humanitarian work throughout the region.  For more information about the iLab Latin America, please visit their website here.

Still have more questions? We encourage you to contact us here.