How to enable greater impact through collaboration relaunches with brand new design.

 Six years ago, a team of us at IDEO asked ourselves: if we are creating global impact with just a few hundred designers using IDEO’s design principles, what might happen if we open up the design process and invite hundreds of thousands of people to join us in tackling the world’s most pressing issues? By activating people from even more diverse backgrounds to come together, might we discover faster, better solutions? What if it wasn’t just industrial designers, economists, ethnographers, and business strategists working together on a common problem, but, well anyone? Inspired by this great potential for impact and opportunity for learning, OpenIDEO was born.

In its short history, this collaborative platform has led to some incredible impact. The community has grown to over 75,000 from almost every country in the world. Community-driven insights and ideas have led to lives being saved, countless social enterprises in action, hundreds of teams formed and even careers shifted through global collaborations.

Today we’re relaunching with a new responsive design that works on all devices. Version three of the OI Engine software that underpins OpenIDEO comes with some big changes, rooted in feedback from users. We stepped back as a team to explore the future of the platform, both for OpenIDEO and for other clients. Through this process, four themes stood out:

  1. With an increasingly global community, it’s important that everyone is able to participate. We want to make it possible for anyone to contribute regardless of the device they are using or their internet speed.
  2. The community is creating impact. We want to help them celebrate this with the world. We’ve made it much easier to track and add stories of impact to each challenge.
  3. The community is working hard. By enabling a greater focus on the task at hand, we can ensure a higher level of success. We’ve created a much cleaner design that makes it easier to add an idea or focus on reading others.
  4. The community knows the power of going visual. We wanted to create a space that supports visual communication as ideas evolve. Your beautiful designs and ideas can now be viewed in a new fullscreen browser mode.


New team and new approaches to collaborative impact

Founder Tom Hulme and I are super inspired by the growing OpenIDEO team and its leadership under Jason Rissman. They are exploring rapid-response challenge models for urgent social issues, like the Fighting Ebola challenge last year. The team is also experimenting with new partnership models as well as exploring new pathways to implementation for ventures that have emerged from the community. Check out their new impact website.

OpenIDEO as a platform

OpenIDEO has taught us a lot, and continuous experimentation has led to some incredible new and powerful initiatives. The Amplify program is now in its second year and already on to its third challenge of ten, in collaboration with the Department for International Development in the UK and I’m inspired by how it is disrupting the world of international development by making it more human centred and accessible to smaller entrepreneurs, rather than the same big names receiving aid funding.

We are now licensing the software behind OpenIDEO to organisations trying to do the same thing we did back in 2010. OI Engine is poised to provide the same great collaborative environment to help them innovate internally or engage their communities in collaborative problem solving. Though I’m now focusing on OI Engine, I plan to stay close to OpenIDEO as the community continues to create impact together. Maybe I’ll see you in the next challenge?