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OpenIDEATOR Insight: Ashwin Gopi

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Ashwin Gopi is a graduate student at NYU Poly where he's focusing on technology management and serves as a graduate assistant to Professor Anne-Laure Fayard. He previously studied mechanical engineering in India. Ashwin caught our attention with a winning concept in our recent Impact Challenge and continues to participate actively as an individual, with his class and alongside his recently launched OpenIDEO student chapter.
What first drew you to get involved in OpenIDEO?
During research, Professor Fayard introduced me to the OpenIDEO platform and asked me to write a case study of how it induces people to take efforts in being involved in the collaborative process. I soon became involved but initially only as a lurker. When the Impact Challenge started I drummed up the courage to post my first ever activity: The OpenIDEO app concept, which went on to be a winning concept.
And how's the ride been so far?
Let me put it this way: at first, I had no idea how and why the members of the community were taking so much time and effort on the platform. I saw these people posting inspirations and concepts by the dozen and it intimidated me, the level of their involvement. But once I was involved in it, I knew why: it's just so much fun! From the moment I started commenting and applauding the concepts and getting them same back, I knew I was hooked. I turned from a user to an OpenIDEO evangelist.
So, tell us about your class and your new OpenIDEO student chapter:
The course Exploring Creativity, taught by Anne-Laure, deals with the creative process as seen in industries to design products, processes and services. It gives us hands-on experience in the design process while giving us the necessary tools, techniques and processes to manage the creative journey. This semester being a part of the platform is mandatory for the course. We also have guest lectures with industry leaders. Best of all, Anne-Laure makes it fun – letting us share our ideas with the rest of the class directly and by blogging.
The OpenIDEO student chapter at NYU Poly was inspired by the OpenIDEO @ University concept by Anne Kjaer Riechert. Our goal is to work parallel to the platform and even if we may not come up with a winning concept, we hope to contribute to the development of realised solutions. I'm planning to introduce a sort of a lecture module so that in every meeting we discuss the innovative and collaborative process itself. We're also planning to bring in guest-speakers.
What do you think OpenIDEO has to offer students, classes & clubs?
Other than the most obvious benefits such as a chance to collaborate and design for social good, it is also a great place to network. You get to meet a lot of like-minded people & causes. For example, my student chapter's co-founder Lei Niu and I had previously interacted when he had applauded my OpenIDEO app concept and now we're working together to run the chapter. The game layer of one's Design Quotient is something to be proud of and is worthy of having a place in one's resume. As the platform grows so will it's value – plus it's a great conversation starter :-)
What’s coming up for you around design and the pursuit of social impact?
Lei and I have decided to work closely with computer engineers in designing for the NYU Diaspora project to create a privacy-aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed and decentralized open source social network. We are looking forward to collaborating with people from different fields so as to have multiple perspectives for a single challenge. In the fifteenth century Italy, the rich and powerful banking family, Medici, brought together artists, philosophers and people of science from across the land and broke down the traditional barriers separating the fields and cultures. It resulted in a movement that today we call the Renaissance. I don't see how open innovation is different from that philosophy. At OpenIDEO we're also breaking down traditional barriers, together.
Cheers Ashwin. We hope to enjoy more of your collaborative action in future!
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Hey Ashwin, Not sure I ever really told you how great this piece was! So here goes: great article!

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