Recently, I was selected as the End Atrocity Challenge Community Champion on OpenIDEO. Some of you might have read some of my previous posts here about the OpenIDEO platform, and those of you who follow me on Twitter might have seen quite some tweets the last weeks referring to the platform. So, I thought it would be a good time to share a bit about my passion for this open innovation platform here, by answering five questions you might have.
1. What is OpenIDEO?
As the tagline says it on the website, OpenIDEO is a place ‘where people design better, together’. This designing is done in challenges, that each follow the Human Centered Design principles of IDEO. Every challenge aims to look at a social issue, formulated in a central question, and find solutions for it. Sometimes, these challenges are quite specific in terms of locality, but even then the users are asked to come up with ideas that can be used anywhere.
Some examples of challenges are:
- How can we raise kids’ awareness of the benefits of fresh food so they can make better choices?
- How might we improve maternal health with mobile technologies for low-income countries?
- How might we increase the number of registered bone marrow donors to help save more lives?
- How might we restore vibrancy in cities and regions facing economic decline?
The current challenge is looking for ways to end and prevent atrocities, by looking at the question: ‘How might we gather information from hard-to-access areas to prevent mass violence against civilians?’
2. How does it work?
The nice people at IDEO have made a great video about that, which answers this question better than I ever could.
3. What is your involvement with it?
I am an entusiastic user of the site. I joined during the healthy food challenge in August 2010, and have participated in most challenges. In some more than others, of course, depending on the time I could spend. Currently, as mentioned above, I was selected as the Community Champion. This is a volunteer role, which takes me about 4 hours per week. One of the things I do as the Community Champion, is making video blogs with challenge updates and a bit of ‘how to’ information on use of the platform.
4. Who can join?
OpenIDEO is a true open innovation platform, which means everybody can join in. And that is exactly what happened. I suspect that a large part of the almost 50.000 users are from the US and Western Europe, but there are also users from South America, Asia, Africa and Australia and New Zealand. There are men and women, most age groups are represented (although I think it’s mainly 20 and up, I have seen teenagers join in), and there’s a plethora of occupations. OpenIDEO is currently also used by several schools and universities to teach classes, so many students are also taking part. In short: OpenIDEO is a vibrant, multi-demographical community. And you’ll fit right in!
5. What happens with the concepts and ideas?
In true Open Innovation Style, all contributions to the platform are in the public domain. That includes the Ideas for solutions. Anybody can take one, or more, of these Ideas and Concepts and start implementing them to solve a social issue. One quite fresh example is the Made in Lower East Side, or miLES, project, that was contributed as a concept to the site, and then implemented by the team behind it. Another example is the MyFailTale website, which aims to help (young) entrepreneurs to learn from the mistakes from others. Recently, Tim Brown, the president and CEO of IDEO, shared the story of a Doctor in Colombia, who is taking all winning concepts from a challenge, and implements them to improve healthcare in underserved parts of his country.
By now, after almost three years, OpenIDEO has become a repository of wonderful Ideas, that are waiting for people to take them, implement them and have real impact on the world. You could be one of them.