Model & Strategy

Great design can only have an impact if it is adopted at scale. Although individual DtM products can save hundreds of lives, they see the greatest potential impact in their influence on global health standards. DtM’s vision is that each product they develop will become the standard of care in low-resource settings.

This is the end game for a product like Firefly: providing an overwhelming incentive for multinational medical device manufacturers to follow their lead and imitate their products. Once DtM’s product concept becomes the standard, they’re free to focus their resources on other high-burden global health needs that are poorly served by the market.

DtM sees growing evidence of support for their position that international medical device standards are insufficient and often inappropriate for low-resource settings, specifically in the increasing number of government tenders for double-sided phototherapy devices. DtM partner MTTS has applied the lessons we learned together in Firefly to two new CE Mark certified devices, including a novel newborn resuscitation device (the Dolphin CPAP).

At a Glance
Founded: 2001
Systemic Poverty
Location of work: International, Africa, Asia
Design that Matters
30 Church Street
Salem, MA 01970
Innovation for social enterprise
Baby under blue light incubator
Meet Timothy Prestero

Design that Matters combines CEO Timothy Prestero’s experiences in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and at MIT as an engineering graduate student. Timothy is co-inventor on three pending patents for cholera treatment devices. He is a Martin Fellow at the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, and he was named an Ashoka Affiliate in 2004. His awards include the 2007 Social Venture Network Innovation Award, and the 2009 World Technology Award. Design that Matters’ work received an honorable mention in the ID Magazine’s 2010 Annual Design Review, and the company was a finalist in Corporate Achievement for the 2010 National Design Award.


As of Feb 2019, DtM’s Firefly phototherapy device has reached 25 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe–with new installations in Indonesia and Jamaica. Firefly devices have treated 200,000 newborns. Products that DtM has helped design and launch have treated more than 800K patients worldwide.

DtM has recruited more than 1,500 students and professional volunteers. Many alumni have been inspired to focus on social enterprise careers, including the founders of Embrace Innovations, Sanergy, and Design for America.


In 2018, DtM continued development of the Otter Newborn Warmer, which has the potential to reduce the 1.8M annual newborn deaths due to newborn hyperthermia and to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infection.