I am a Doctoral candidate at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) and a fellow at the Graduate Consortium on Energy of Harvard University's Center for the Environment (HUCE). Previously I studied and worked at the Smart Cities and Changing Places groups of the MIT Media Lab and earlier at the MIT Design Computation Group. I hold a Master of Science (MSc) in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, an MSc in Design Computation from the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SAP) as a Fulbright scholar, and a Diploma in Architectural Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens.
I explore how technology, policy, and design create ecosystems that expand our limits of learning, making, and doing. My work draws on a diversity of skills including digital design & fabrication, physical computing, (reverse) game theory, experimental economics, programming, data visualization, and complex systems simulation to invent mechanisms that leverage on how people make decisions over limited resources. At the Media Lab I co-developed Mobility on Demand (MoD), a vehicle sharing system of electric foldable cars that allows users to make point-to-point trips on demand, claimed by Time magazine as the best invention of 2007 and winner of the 100K Buckminster Fuller Award in 2009. My MSc thesis, The Market Economy of Trips designed and studied a self-balancing operation model for MoD systems that uses dynamic pricing to incentivize users to rebalance the fleet, causing some trips to be expensive while others to pay back. At Harvard, my doctoral dissertation, Governing the Commons of Mobility, uses Boston's bike sharing system as a living laboratory to compare the potential efficiency of a social mechanism based on dynamic pricing to the limits of efficiency of truck rebalancing. As part of my research I use designing, making, and playing of interactive strategic games as novel frameworks for both learning and teaching systems thinking.
I am also interested on how democratization of knowledge and technology transforms the industrial ecology of DIY digital making and digital doing. At the MIT Design Computation Group, I worked on a method to design, fabricate, and assemble custom irregular building forms from interlocking planar-parts with unskilled labor. My MSc thesis there, developed a method to assess which CAD models can be assembled, how their assembly complexity may affect their production, and how such knowledge can improve design decisions in early stage, a problem that so far designers can only approach empirically.
Currently I work with Prof Jose Gomez-Ibanez from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Prof Jeffrey Schnapp from Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and Prof Spiro Pollalis from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Previously I worked with Prof William J. Mitchell and Kent Larson from the MIT Media Lab, Prof John Sterman from the System Dynamics group of the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Prof David Parkes from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I have also collaborated with Prof Martin Bechthold from GSD, Prof Larry Sass, and Prof Dennis Shelden from MIT.
Besides my research I frequently organize talks, panel discussions, and conferences, I curate exhibitions, and I serve as jury committee in contests around design, technology, and innovation. I like biking, windsurfing, and waterskiing. You can download my CV, see more about my research, teaching, and design work, or contact me at dimp[at]dimitris-papanikolaou[dot]com.