OpenIDEO for IDEO
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A Web-based platform for innovation where designers and other creative thinkers create better, together.
As champions of using design thinking to solve complex problems, IDEO designers are constantly on the lookout for emerging technologies and methods that will complement its existing tools and approach. In 2009, a London-based team observed that online collaboration and consumer activism were trending up; more than 2 billion people worldwide now engage in Web-based interactions; and sought ways to harness that tremendous human resource to do social good.
The team set out to establish a global network of creative, conscientious thinkers who could help IDEO and its partners address social issues. Our designers considered more than 100 different ways of engaging people in design challenges, but couldn’t find a platform that met IDEO’s fundamental needs. So, we created OpenIDEO.com.
The website, launched in July 2010, provides an open platform for innovation where designers and other creative thinkers can create better, together. Its goal is to leverage IDEO’s ability to attract talent worldwide, to encourage collaboration and a visual approach, and to provide clear feedback; all in order to overcome diverse challenges. What’s in it for users? Inspiration, knowledge, and recognition, to say the least. All contributions will be used to help address some of the toughest problems faced by modern society.
Here’s how OpenIDEO works: IDEO posts a design problem, which moves through three phrases of development toward a solution. These phases are Inspiration, Concepting, and Evaluation. Users participate and provide feedback every step of the way, receiving points (known as their Design Quotient, or “DQ”) for their contributions. Like in any good brainstorming session, both quality and quantity are valued. At the end of the process, which takes about 10 weeks, a final design is chosen. The winning design may be produced by whoever chooses to do so — all concepts are generated under a Creative Commons license and are thus shareable, remix-able, and reusable. Because the problems presented all seek a solution for social good, everybody wins!
The site’s first challenge was getting more people involved in British chef Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution” online. “Join me at OpenIDEO.com and share your inspiration and ideas for how we can help educate kids about eating healthy food,” Oliver requested. “This is open to everyone and is an easy way for all of us to help solve this massive problem. Let’s give kids the knowledge they need to eat healthy food and make a difference once and for all.” In hosting this challenge, OpenIDEO supported Oliver in fulfilling his 2010 TED prize wish list.
Since then, the OpenIDEO has helped nonprofit Grey Matters Capital generate a catalogue of potential low-cost educational tools and services for the developing world. The platform has also been used to build a separate online community for Sony and the World Wildlife Fund, which relies on the same technology and shares the community. OpenPlanetIdeas.com marks the first time that Sony has opened up some of its technologies for environmental causes, the nature of which will be decided by users.
Project date: 2010