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Announcing our Youth Employment Challenge Winning Ideas

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When the Clinton Global Initiative approached us to explore dynamic solutions to the global youth employment crisis, we knew this would be a tremendous opportunity to call our community to action. Over the next few weeks, we worked with a diverse community of design thinkers, entrepreneurs, industry experts and professionals to ask ourselves: How might we build better employment opportunities and pathways for young people around the world?


With nearly 300 research contributions and 177 ideas submitted, a global conversation emerged to offer fresh solutions for young people aged 16-24. From a design feedback session on prototyping with IDEO’s CEO, Tim Brown, to global Meetups gathering offline to brainstorm ideas, to inspiring interviews with experts on youth employment – the OpenIDEO community tapped into a collective knowledge to refine ideas into real-world solutions. We saw exciting collaborations across the globe, thoughtful prototypes rooted in human-centered needs and extensive feedback from the OpenIDEO and CGI communities in support of designing for impact.

After a generative Feedback phase, the OpenIDEO and CGI teams engaged with issue experts to select 22 Top Ideas to move on to the Refinement phase, based on an ability to meet our evaluation criteria. These ideas continued to test assumptions and conduct experiments, identifying pathways to implementation and measurable opportunities for success. 

And now, after months of incredible exploration, we are thrilled to announce our seven winning ideas – solutions that we feel are poised for maximum impact in building better employment opportunities for young people around the world.


Congrats to the teams behind our winning ideas for all of their hard work! We were so inspired by the depth of insights and collaboration that you brought to this challenge. 

Pre-Flight mentors high school students through participation in challenges sponsored by local businesses and organizations. This symbiotic relationship offers organizations fresh insight from the next generation, while students gain real world experience and networking opportunities. We were inspired by Gavin’s collaboration with a potential implementor plus many community members to gain real-world insight into implementation. His team open-sourced feedback using an online platform, a local Meetup and in-person interviews.
Submitted by:
Gavin Cosgrave
Pop Up Bus + Innovation Center
Pop Up Bus and Innovation Center have partnered to develop career support centers that connect young people with mentors, preparing them for future employment. We were inspired by their global teamwork and assumption testing, which led to thoughtful user experience maps, strong visuals, and a solid prototype plan. By activating 23 qualified change-agents globally, they are prepared to drive real-world implementation for ongoing impact.
Submitted by:
Leigh Cullen and Alex Mokori
Open-Source Business Models
This idea is an online and offline platform that offers a searchable database of open source business model packages to assist entrepreneurs in starting a business. We were inspired by the global collaboration activated across this team and extensive on-the-ground testing, in addition to the feedback they gathered from real-world users through interviews, focus-groups and a local meetup on future impact.
Submitted by:
Simon Blampied
The Bridge Project
The Bridge Project connects college students in Kinshasa with internships in their area of interest, in addition to providing support throughout the hiring process. These opportunities build dynamic skills that lead to future opportunities for underserved youth. Through clear next steps, this idea proves to be scalable and feasible for local youth to explore. Collaboration with an offline partner explored strong implementation.
Submitted by:
Jean-Marc Mercy
One Day
"One Day" is an online platform that connects young people with professionals in a field of interest. Users can access professionals’ profiles and reach out to spend a day at work with them. They merged offline collaboration with online insights and it’s exciting to see these efforts convert into true results, a shining example of our OpenIDEO Meetup program driving impact.
Submitted by:
Barcelona OpenIDEO Meetup
Millennial Tech Corps
This idea leverages a model similar to Americorps, placing young people with NGOs, start-ups, governments and other entities for a two year fellowship program. Building upon a model that’s already successful on a national level, it then pivots to access new demographics in meaningful ways.
Submitted by:
Liz Duffy
Social Getwork
The Social Getwork is an online app that aggregates young people’s use of social media, showcases it and uses it to match them with employment opportunities that leverage their skills. We appreciated that this idea leverages skills that young people already have in order to push them towards fresh success.
Submitted by:
Priyanka Botny

We are also excited to acknowledge some very special OpenIDEATORS who went the extra mile on behalf of the Youth Employment Challenge. These thoughtful and talented individuals embodied the true spirit of OpenIDEO.

Collaborator–Extraordinaire Awards:
Folks who have shown exceptional generosity, agility and enthusiasm for collaboration – which is the essence of OpenIDEO.

Dave Zinsman
Sergio Marrero
Leigh Cullen

Human–Centered Engagement Awards:
OpenIDEATORS who have provided valuable user-insights from connecting with their local communities – supporting our human-centered focus of designing *with, not for* people.

Alex Mokori
Barcelona Meetup Team 
Bettina Fliegel
Simon Blampied


Our sponsor, the Clinton Global Initiative, has selected two ideas to highlight at their 2014 Annual Conference. These ideas were chosen based on who would most benefit from the networking opportunities afforded at the event. They are invited to attend the Annual Conference and interact with potential implementers, mentors, entrepreneurs and other connections in support of their ideas.

We have also opened our Impact phase and encourage everyone who participated to share your stories. There are many types of impact, from mindset and behavior change, to learning something new by testing assumptions. Check out these inspiring posts and add your own!

As with all OpenIDEO challenges – anyone is welcome to take forward any ideas from any phase of the challenge. Whether you submitted an idea, were part of a team or simply provided feedback for others, we encourage you to build on ideas that inspire you for your own community. Let’s ask ourselves how we might continue to explore impact through localizing dynamic solutions and supporting each other’s future execution. Then, tell us about the impact you’re creating as a result of this challenge! We’re super keen to hear your stories of implementation.

Now let’s head over to our Winning Ideas phase and check out the amazing work.

The OpenIDEO Team

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Youth Employment Challenge 2


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