From the first men who created fire to cook dinner and keep themselves warm, to great professors trying to find a solution for cancer. People always have tried to solve problems. With the disruptive innovation, called the internet, communication became easier and cheaper, ergo; more people could be connected to each other. This interconnectedness spawned platforms to solve problems. One of these platforms is OpenIDEO, and it describes itself as ‘…a global community working together to design solutions for the world’s biggest challenges.’ But how does it work? How could a ‘platform’ design solutions for the world’s biggest challenges? I will answer these questions and come up with real life results.
First of all, you need to have users, or what OpenIDEO calls ‘creative thinkers’. These creative thinkers are the one side of the 2 sided market where the platform exists of. There are almost no restrictions to the people who want to be users. It does not matter where you are from, what you do or how skilled you are. If you are interested and motivated to solve challenges of the world together with other users, you could be a user of OpenIDEO. With this way of co-creation, the complete community of users helps to solve the challenges of the organization. The only difference with traditional co-creation is that now the organizations picks the best solution. Whereas with traditional co-creation, a group works together on one issue and tries to solve it.
Secondly, you need to have organizations that come up with challenges. This other side of the market is easier to find for OpenIDEO. This collaboration process between organizations, users and the platform as mediator, consist of three to five months with the community of users trying to find a solution for the problem. OpenIDEO aims to create three types of impact from their work.
Build awareness and inspire action.
In 2014 the Ebola crisis caused a lot of chaos in the world and the OpenIDEO platform was contacted by the White House and USAID. Naturally, the platform responded immediately and created an open innovation challenge. Eventually several of the top ideas were picked out and were invited to pitch to USAID.
Support project development and implementation.
In 2015, OpenIDEO partnered up with the 11th hour project. In this challenges they asked the community of users to design a solution to make the world more sustainable for future generations. The focus was to make more use of sunlight, wind and other sources of sustainable energy. In this video you can see the promo.
Strengthens ecosystems through long-term and focused efforts.
Recently OpenIDEO collaborated with the UK DFID, and created the amplify challenges. The idea here is that over 5 years a series of 10 challenges are created. These challenges all focused on improving the lives of people living in great poverty.
This platform creates an environment where creative thinkers are connected with organizations who address world problems. This way the crowd is collaborating and contributing to solutions for a better world.