Over summer we were lucky enough to have Anne Riechert join us in the IDEO Palo Alto office as an intern. She's off on her next adventure now but found some time to chat with us.
What were you up to prior to your internship at OpenIDEO?
I studied social innovation and project management at KaosPilot, where I learned to be 'as playful as a child, and disciplined as a soldier'. From there I spent 3 years working as a Corporate Social Responsibility consultant. In my spare time I am running my own humanitarian project called We Have A Dream, which organises workshops for youth all over the world to draw and discuss their dreams for the future. I'm currently pursuing a masters degree in Peace Studies from Tokyo.
What did you set out to achieve this summer?
I believe the open innovation process has the potential to radically improve how the social sector works. My experience however is, that if you mention design thinking or bring post-it notes to a meetings that people take you less seriously. I therefore wanted to explore how decisions are made, social impact achieved and quality secured in the open innovation process. My focus for this was on OpenIDEO's Evaluation phase.
So, how's it all gone?
Working for OpenIDEO is a lot like working for a start-up company. I loved the dynamic atmosphere, where no day is the same. When you set out to be a pioneer in your field you however have to feel comfortable in situations where you might have to 'build the aeroplane while flying it'. My biggest aha-moment has been to realise the crucial role of community management in the open innovation process.
Can you give us some insights about working with the small, globally dispersed OpenIDEO Team?
The first app I got when I arrived at OpenIDEO was a global time converter. I have never been part of any team which has incorporated digital tools as much into their daily workflow as OpenIDEO. It gives me great hope to know that you can actually organise a board meeting or facilitate brainstorm in real time across three continents. And as a person with a serious post-it fetish, it was plain pleasure to see a post-it note blown up on a 40 inch screen!
What was your most memorable IDEO experience?
It is a bit embarrassing, but the first three days when I biked home from work, I actually missed my turn off, because my head was spinning with so many ideas. And that feeling never really left. I was truly amazed and appreciate how IDEO interns are treated just as normal team members – plus I was thrilled that I was encouraged to initiate and build some concrete projects on my own, like the Evaluation video for the Impact challenge.
And what's up next for you?
I will spend the next 8 months writing my thesis about open source innovation for social good at my university in Tokyo, as a part of my Rotary Peace Fellowship. In addition I will be organising workshops for orphans who lost their parents in the 3-11 tsunami, where they discuss and draw their dreams for the future.
OpenIDEO’s slogan is ‘designing better, together’ and the key word for my internship must be community. I felt enormously welcome by the entire IDEO team, hanging out with the IDEO summer interns was a real blast and the power of the OpenIDEO community never ceases to surprise and amaze me. I am humbled, honoured and hot-headed-happy that I got this opportunity.