What first drew you to get involved in OpenIDEO?
While studying at the London College of Communication, my tutors used OpenIDEO as a case-study when discussing co-design and participatory design. Once I checked out the site, I got super excited about the way it’s set up – so I had to calm myself down and wait patiently for the next challenge to start.
And how's the ride been so far?
When I first started sharing inspirations and concepts, I was amazed by the level of thought that goes into many of the comments on OpenIDEO. There really is a fantastic mix of skilled people in here, at one point during the Atrocity Prevention Challenge, I got a bit overwhelmed by the in depth technical suggestions. I had to do a lot of research to understand what was being said. An exciting way to learn!
You're big on visual story-telling. Can you share some insights on this approach?
I really admire people who are natural storytellers: those who can talk about a mundane trip to the grocery in a compelling way. Whilst I’m still practicing that skill, I’m big on explaining things visually – it makes people understand your idea right away, even if it’s the roughest sketch in the history of doodles. I think it comes with being students and new in the field of design. There are so many things we still don’t know how to do, so we need to be able to visualise concepts and ideas well... to sell them before they’re made. OpenIDEO is so much about storytelling: the Inspiration phase collects stories galore and the Ideas phase is all about explaining concepts in a simple and captivating way, after which people collaborate to make them happen and it all turns into impact stories.
I also love when OpenIDEATORS get physical – like this Ageing Empathy Kit by Nadine Stares. Simple materials can make for really effective prototyping.
How are things going with your internship with the London OpenIDEO Team?
I’m having an amazing summer here, working on videos, branding and collaborating with Alex Freeman (my fellow summer intern working with the OpenIDEO Team in San Francisco) on making toolkits. I wish the community could see how excited the guys here get about their engagement, kick-ass ideas and all the impact. It’s a fantastic place to be. Half way in I had a moment of mid-internship crisis. Maybe I should just divorce my dog and buy a motorbike.
What are your future plans around design + social impact?
My short romance with OpenIDEO has made me fall in love with the idea of social impact. Not only the type of impact when big organisations implement some of the ideas – but also when community members take ownership and realise some of the ideas themselves. Or even just when someone learns something new or has a conversation on a challenge topic that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. It’s an impact hub! With my own future in design, I hope that whatever I’ll be involved in designing will be meaningful, have a social impact – or if not, at least make people laugh. There’s a lot of stuff out there, so if we’re going to be making more stuff it better be exciting stuff.
Cheers Karoline. We hope to enjoy more of your collaborative action real soon!