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Pathways to Impact

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The journey to real-world impact can take many avenues and each OpenIDEO challenge presents us with its own set of opportunities and obstacles. We value all kinds of impact which might help tackle our challenge topics, including:
Mindset Change
We often hear from members of our community that they have started thinking about an issue differently through reflecting on challenges they've participated in. They may have changed the way they think about where their food comes from and this awareness may lead to behaviour changes in what they buy, where they buy it and what they might grow. Some challenges may trigger a heightened awareness about limited resources, like water, which might lead to more considered use at home. This in itself is a type of impact that we should acknowledge and celebrate. Together we inspire each other to broaden our perspectives and consider our own actions through our conversations on OpenIDEO. Being a community of optimists – many of us take on mindset and behaviour change as a matter of course as we are exposed to new issues. While we may lead by example, we might also think about what it takes to nudge or inspire behaviour change by others in our communities via some of the other actions below.
Individual Action
Taking action around an issue you’ve become passionate about via OpenIDEO is the next step. How might you commit to personal actions which have impact in your own communities? We’ve had reports of OpenIDEO members registering to donate bone marrow and joining their local farmers' market committee. These actions build upon mindset and behaviour change to consider how individual actions might help others.
Community Action
Extending from changes in outlook, behaviour and personal pursuits are actions which reach out and enable our own communities – and of course, this is where things get really social! These actions may make use of local networks, events and other ways of connecting to take ideas from our online conversations into the real world. They often trigger a series of onwards actions by others, spreading impact along the way. 
Alternatively, groups might form directly during a challenge and the creation of an idea. For example, we’ve heard from OpenIDEO collaborators in Colombia taking forward their concept from our Maternal Health and Mobile Technology Challenge. They prototyped an outreach ultrasound program which they tested in a low-income community in Argentina and even shared an inspiring video to let us all know what they did, achieved and learned. Some of us might consider prototyping just one aspect of a idea if an entire idea seems like too much to take on – the important part is trying things out with real people and learning through making impact as we go.
Elsewhere we’ve had a group of collaborators join forces which led to the launch of the Made in Lower East Side (miLES) initiative, emerging from our Vibrant Cities challenge. miLES aims to open underused storefronts to new possibilities. By working with local residents, artists, businesses and landlords, the initiative seeks to fill underused storefronts and turn them into vibrant community hubs for working, learning, connecting and starting up new projects.
Institutional Action
Organisations, such as our various challenge sponsors, have the potential to work at scale as they push ideas generated by our community forward. Implementation can often take time due to the co-ordination required to maximise impact. On the back of our Amnesty Challenge which sought to protect those under unlawful detention, IDEO London held an Make-a-thon at which a selection of ideas from the challenge were collaboratively prototyped. From there, Amnesty field tested the Panic Button app on the ground in Kenya and expect to launch it to support human rights defenders later in 2013.
With ample avenues for social impact, only one question remains:
How will you be part of the journey?
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