IDEO Unveils Platform to Unite Creative Thinkers…

openideo_logoDesign firm IDEO recently launched a website/platform to unite creative thinkers in achieving ideas for the public’s greater good. Called OpenIDEO (, the site lays out various challenges-including a Jamie Oliver-led initiative to encourage children to make and eat healthy foods and another seeking to bringing affordable learning tools to kids in developing countries.

Creative minds spanning the gamut are invited to contribute their input to the social innovation project, and also post their own social innovation ideas that need further development.

According to IDEO CEO Tim Brown on the company’s Design Thinking blog, “The idea of crowdsourcing innovation is, in my view, still a big experiment. Conventionally the question has been whether the crowd can outperform the internal team. Our view is that small teams are good for some things and the broader community is good for others. The goal of OpenIDEO is to find out whether it is possible to orchestrate a collaboration between the two to achieve better results.”

Source: Creativity Online

Here is the introduction video that does a great job explaining the concept:

Introduction to OpenIDEO / from IDEO on Vimeo.

In the About Us section of the website, the Principles of the OpenIDEO Community are explained:

Principle #1: Inclusive
Recognize and enable all levels of participation from different disciplines. It’s about allowing anyone to contribute to the creative process. Whether it’s a great insight, a beautiful sketch, an encouraging build, or a few words of praise, the platform allows everyone to take part in and feel as if they are a part of the process.

Principle #2: Community-centered
Remember the core strengths of the community and play to them. OpenIDEO is meant to foster a strong, vibrant, lively community that thrives on inspiration – and that we all trust will make a difference. Focusing on this community and its activities is essential.

Principle #3: Collaborative
Promote teamwork among individuals and teams by recognizing the many roles that are crucial to each step of the design process. Always choose collaboration over competition, and create an atmosphere for building on one another’s ideas.

Principle #4: Optimistic
Stay optimistic! You never know when a wild idea might enable others to get closer to a viable solution.

Principle #5: Always in Beta
Design for continuous improvement and iteration and scale deliberately. That goes for the community, the platform, and these principles. To this end, please email your suggestions for making OpenIDEO better.

It will be interesting to see the response.

IDEO a decade ago…


I first became of IDEO more than a decade ago — when I looked at a story on ABC Nightline, where the design firm created a new shopping cart concept.

It is from 1998. Watch for the shopping cart concept 3 minutes in.

The interesting thing about IDEO is beyond the ideas that the team thinks up.  To me, it is the fact that the design firm pioneered the concept of enabling creativity at work by allowing (and enabling) out of the box thinking.  Put another way, they created a wonderful work environment that encourages creativity.

The new collaborative platform IDEO has developed seems like a logical next step (perhaps Innovative Thinking 2.0).  Let’s see what we can learn from the process!


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