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Featured Ideator: Anne Laure Fayard

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Born in France, Anne-Laure Fayard currently lives in New York where she works as faculty at NYU-Poly. She has been collaborating on OpenIDEO across a number of challenges and has involved students from her course on design thinking as well. Her Shift Van concept was a winner on our Amnesty Challenge and a number of her students have featured in challenge shortlists and winners. 
 
What first drew you to get involved in OpenIDEO?
I read a blog post about OpenIDEO when in wast launched in August 2010. I was interested because I'd been following IDEO's work for many years but the focus on open innovation caught my attention as one of my colleagues at NYU and I were thinking of starting some research on the subject. A few weeks after, I went and checked the platform and decided that I would observe and take some notes. I soon started commenting and then posting inspirations and concepts. I was fascinated by the quality of the ideas and comments, the passion of the people on the platform and their willingness to collaborate. As we gained research funding, I became a participant observer and an active community member. A great way to work and have fun! Part of the research output was publishing a case on OpenIDEO with Harvard and also a book chapter on The Power of Writing and Organisations.
 
And how's the ride been so far?
Although I started with a research objective, I have continued to participate on OpenIDEO after the end of the research project because I enjoyed the community and participating to challenges. The Amnesty Challenge was a challenge where I was actively involved and commented on several concepts in particular. I really felt like being part of an extended team as I collaboratored with fellow OpenIDEATORS from around the globe across the challenge.
 
I encouraged my student, Ashwin, to get involved on the OpenIDEO Impact Challenge and it was exciting to see him actively participating – with one of his concepts selected as a winning concept. I was even more excited when he turned my suggestion to start an OpenIDEO Student Chapter (inspired by a concept that I saw on the Impact Challenge) at NYU-Poly into reality. Ashwin created the chapter, inspired others to join.
 
Tell us a bit about how you've found using OpenIDEO in the classroom.
Two years ago, I decided to use OpenIDEO in the context of a course I teach on design thinking. The idea was to have students work in teams on a challenge as their main project while we were doing smaller projects in class. It was not always easy mapping the class timeline and the challenge timeline but overall it worked well and students really loved it. For some, participating to OpenIDEO was a truly transforming experience.
 
What are your future plans around collaboration + social impact?
I was recently invited to a post-Sandy Thinkathon aiming to assess needs and capacity for urban crisis innovation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This workshop was organized by Yoxi – a creative studio founded to study and popularise social innovation. I met an incredible group of passionate social innovators and creative people. I'm looking forward to see this process evolve.
 
I intend to keep using OpenIDEO in my course as well as supporting the NYU's OpenIDEO Student Chapter for which I'm the advisor. Through this I'm seeking to help the development and use of design thinking approaches – in particular the importance of questioning things, understanding the context, prototyping and being iterative – by students at NYU-Poly and other NYU schools. I am also hoping to raise awareness to issues linked to social impact or to enhance the learning of students already involved in social innovation projects.
 
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Photo of Coniqua  Abdul-Malik

Anne-Laure,
I'm a student of Instructional Design and found your use of OpenIDEO in a classroom setting very useful. I've been wanting to trek up to NY to participate in one of The Design Gym's Weekend Workouts. Though I've not yet been able to, I find that OpenIDEO provides a great opportunity for such mental workouts, and learning about design thinking first hand. It's a really great platform for collaboration and learning and hope more professors will take your lead and use it in their courses.

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