Today is the official launch of a project that we’ve been watching very carefully at OpenIDEO. miLES is a great example of what can, just sometimes, emerge from creative collaboration on platforms like OpenIDEO. This inspiring social venture started life in the OpenIDEO urban revitalisation challenge, which focussed on places that are depopulating – like - Read More -
From the WTO and G8 protests of 1999 (which was the largest ever anti-globalisation event at the time) onwards to the recent Occupy movement, skepticism to the role of the corporation has been matched by large corp’s own growth, and influence. It’s no surprise then that when many big firms try to launch corporate social responsible (CSR) initiatives, their motives are routinely challenged by critics.
“Even worse, the more business has begun to embrace corporate responsibility, the more it has been blamed for society’s failures.” Michael Porter
But CSR is a very one dimensional way of assessing an organisation’s social impact. Companies create value in many obvious ways that frequently get overlooked – job creation, boosting local economies, and providing infrastructure (of course these have to be weighed against the company’s negative impact – exploitation of natural resources etc.)
I just spent the week in Brazil and attended the UN Earth Summit on sustainable development. Here’s my ramblings about what it was like from a designer’s perspective.
As your plane makes its final descent into Rio de Janeiro airport, you are presented with an incredible landscape: tropical rain-forests, a dense city spread around the coastline with favelas tucked into every free space, and a good spread of large tankers and ships making their way in and out of the port. From that aerial descent to your hotel you can see the complexities of what the Earth Summit, also known as Rio+20, has been trying to tackle: the division of wealth, our reliance on commerce, and our desire for more stuff, overpopulation, the ever encroaching hand of man over his environment, all set against the vibrancy and optimism of the Brazilian culture and people.
Seven days ago I was sitting in my hotel room getting ready to leave for a dress rehearsal for TEDx Grand Rapids. I sleep horribly in hotel rooms, so I was half awake and nervous, having practiced my talk for the 70th time. This morning I’m sitting at my desk in Palo Alto and as I look back I’m still stunned at the professionalism and the passion of everyone involved in the event. I’d like to share some of the things that stood out for me from the event, the talks, and the people I was honoured to meet.
Many online communities parade their community size stats as if it were the only measure of success. As a result it’s easy to think that’s the most important metric for every community. This can trip you up, and force you to chase the wrong goals. For some communities, size isn’t the most important metric. Take OpenIDEO for instance, sure at some point we knew that global participation was important, and you need to maintain a balance between different kinds of community members (we value diversity or participation), but we’ve learned in the last year that encouraging smart, active, and engaged participants is vital to the success of the social challenges that we run. That’s the reason why last year we were delighted to hear from Tracy Brandenburg, professor at Wells College in New York. She wrote to us to tell us the story about how she had been using the OpenIDEO food challenge we ran with the Queensland Government as the backbone to her design course. We quickly got her on the phone and we learned that she had asked her students to go above and beyond what regular participants do. Here’s Tracy talking about the task she set her students:
At OpenIDEO we thought it might help to start documenting some of the different ways that we can think about solving problems and provide some of the tips and methodologies we’ve learned across IDEO. Particularly relevant to our latest challenge with Amnesty International is the way in which we can learn from analogous situations. Sometimes - Read More -
Here’s the final video from the TEDx-Prototype event STAN’11 featuring Jennifer Aaker and myself talking about the OpenIDEO Bone Marrow challenge that we ran recently and the amazing work of 100kCheeks Stanford students.
I just had the honor of presenting one of our most recent OpenIDEO challenges and representing the Stanford Haas Center and the amazing 100kCheeks student team alongside Jennifer Aaker. The challenge focussed on how to increase the number of ‘cheeks’ in the bone marrow registry. This is something that is a massive issue, especially for - Read More -
OpenIDEO’s latest challenge is a partnership with Stanford’s Haas Center and an inspiring group of students running an initiative called 100kCheeks. Bone Marrow Donation is a complex problem: although there are national Bone Marrow Registres such as the BetheMatch US site, it’s still hard for many people to find a match who desperately require a transplant in - Read More -
A couple of weeks ago I had the honour and the privilege of attending and speaking at an event hosted by The White House and The Department of State. The event was organised by John Kao and his Institute of Large Scale Innovation and attendees included heads of innovation for 28 different countries. The purpose - Read More -