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Introducing the Global Conversations Project

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Since the beginning, OpenIDEO has been a space for inclusive and collaborative innovation. We’ve seen individuals, organizations and students from around the world work together to solve big, bold challenges – and we’ve been blown away by the results. 

Recently, with the launch of the Amplify program, we’ve been working with the team to think about what inclusivity and collaboration mean when the solutions we design are targeted towards communities that lack reliable access to the internet. After testing the use of Integrated Voice Response (IVR) technology during the Ideas phase of our last Amplify challenge, we’ve launched a Global Conversations project that will help make our Zero to Five challenge truly inclusive – connecting the OpenIDEO platform with individuals and community groups in the developing world.


In order to bridge the gap between OpenIDEO and communities without internet access, we’re relying on two types of technology – Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVR) and SMS messaging. Interactive Voice Response (IVR), similar to a customer service phone tree, allows us to capture stories in a dynamic way. Here’s how the system works:



The seeds for the Global Conversations project were planted with a pair of small-scale prototypes in Delhi, India during our Women’s Safety Challenge. For the Zero to Five Challenge we took things to the next level, launching two live prototypes that allow individuals in India and Tanzania to contribute to the Research phase. 

In order to help contextualize the contributions from the Global Conversations project, we’ve also brought on local Community Connectors and Translators for Change – volunteers who add context to the contributions, post them to the OpenIDEO platform and translate and record your comments to send back to those who submitted their stories. You can meet our Community Connectors and Translators for Change by checking out their profiles: Wekesa, Jackie, John, Nikita and Indrani. 


The best part of our Global Conversations project is that it’s two-sided. Some comments you make will be translated by local volunteers and shared with the individuals who contributed the original story via SMS. 

Look for the research posts labeled [Global Conversations] and be sure to leave a comment.  Here are a few of our favorites from week one:

    •    [Global Conversations] Help Empower Girls Today
    •    [Global Conversations] The Value of Kids’ Time
    •    [Global Conversations] Parents on Their Children’s Dreams


Get a closer look at one of the TV spots advertising our Global Conversations Project in Tanzania. [Click CC for subtitles in English]


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OpenIDEO Experiments , Zero To Five Challenge


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