MIT Innovation Diplomats (iDiplomats)

MIT Innovation Diplomats

Each year, hundreds of MIT students pursue international opportunities through study abroad programs like MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).

MIT Innovation Diplomats (iDiplomats) is an internship project that builds on existing global programs, such as MISTI, at MIT. The objective of iDiplomats is to equip students with Innovation Ecosystem Frameworks, knowledge, and tools they can use in preparation for their global activities, while on their MISTI internship, and later in their careers as innovators in a range of professions and locations. Through iDiplomats, students will be prepared to explore how stakeholders in the innovation economies come together to create conditions for innovation-driven prosperity across international cultures and policies. 

MIT REAP iDiplomats in Mongolia, Summer 2016 / PHOTO CREDIT: UURDEE GONGOR

MIT iDiplomats students work in a specific region as determined by their MISTI internship placement  and work part-time as an iDiplomat with the goal to learn and better understand the innovation ecosystem of their specific region.

Why Participate in iDiplomats?

iDiplomats program allows MIT students to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship in their MISTI Region
  • Practice career skills, enhanced through a focus on informal diplomacy
  • Enhance professional network in a region, especially through opportunities to link MIT alumni on shared challenge areas
  • Receive academic credit upon successful completion of a report at the end of the program
How is iDiplomats Designed?

Most of the program occurs during your MISTI internship, but there are two requirements prior to the start of your internship including assignments and orientation workshops. Lastly, there is an optional final presentation in early fall/spring at the end of your internship.

MIT Innovation Diplomats Training

Students are required to attend two training sessions (April dates TBA) hosted by Phil Budden. The objective is to equip students with Innovation Ecosystem frameworks and concepts. iDiplomats may also be required to attend a ‘country-specific’ workshop, organized by MISTI, to cover topics such as: cross-cultural communication, current events, technology and innovation in the iDiplomats host country, navigating the workplace, health and safety.

MIT Innovation Diplomats Reports

There are no formal assignments during the MISTI internship for iDiplomats, though there will be check in meetings every other week and opportunities to connect with other iDiplomats and discuss your experiences to date.  At the conclusion of the MISTI internship (and iDiplomats) students will need to complete a written report (see examples at the end). There is also one optional assignment that the student can choose to do in order to further their understanding of key programs that aim to improve Innovation Capacity (iCap) and Entrepreneurial Capacity (eCap) in a region’s innovation ecosystem.

Outcomes of iDiplomats

As a student completes their iDiplomats internship, they will have a deeper understanding of:

  • Innovation Ecosystem Frameworks: Structured approach to gathering and analyzing data about the ways in which innovation and entrepreneurship is supported or hindered by financial capital, human talent, infrastructure, etc.
  • Innovation Contexts: Specific cultural and political sights into the nature and role of innovation diplomacy
  • Diplomacy & Networks: Understand the key stakeholders in innovation ecosystems, meet with alumni and others in the region to continue in-the-field analysis, allowing them to forge relationships with leaders in among government, corporate, entrepreneurs, risk capital, and academia stakeholder categories.
 How to Apply?
  • Begin the application process by completing this short survey by Friday, March 31st
  • Attend iDiplomats briefing & training sessions: Tuesday, April 4th from 12-1pm and Wednesday, April 12th from 5-6 pm.
Example iDiplomats Presentation
Example iDiplomats Reports