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Youth Employment Challenge Community Ambassador Update #3

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Shane Zhao is our current volunteer Challenge Community Ambassador. You'll see him popping up across the Youth Employment Challenge with handy tips and words of encouragement – and posting community updates here like a true champion!

What a fantastic opening week of the Ideas phase it has been so far! In my previous blog post, I highlighted some of the collaborative online exchanges that had been brewing during the Research phase. This week, we decided to engage the local Bay Area community offline in a live OpenSTORM session to kick-off some interactive brainstorming action. Working together with the OpenIDEO Meetup San Francisco Team ( Silvie Hibdon, Lindsey Boran, Debbie Paterson), we organized and facilitated a group of collaborators at my office over the weekend.  In the video link above, I’ve compiled and edited some footage from the OpenSTORM to share with the community. Let's take a look at how a live brainstorming session can be a really fun and quick way to generate some brilliant ideas.

In attendance at the OpenSTORM was a multidisciplinary group of 10 professionals from the fields of health care, education, social innovation, design and more. We were delighted to see many of our OpenIDEO member at the session, including Jennifer Fong who had shared with us the Facebook Farm during the Research phase of this challenge. We were also glad to have Justin Brown, co-chair of the San Francisco Youth Employment Coalition, with us as well. As a group of 10 ideators, we formed 2 teams, engaged in 3 hours of collaborative brainstorming, devoured 1 platter of bagels and eventually generated dozens of promising thoughts. Our two OpenSTORM teams, Opportunitee Knocks and CARee, distilled their thoughts into 2 final ideas and have uploaded them to share with the online OpenIDEO community.

Pick a Topic and Warm Up
As a group, we looked over the How Might We questions from the Youth Employment Brainstorm In a Box Toolkit. To focus our brainstorming efforts, we each casted two votes in the form of stickers on the opportunity areas that resonated with us. Each team then took one of the two selected opportunity topics and ran with it.
To rev up the creative juices, we started the group discussions with two thought starter questions that were related to each team’s How Might We? For Opportunitee Knocks, we asked “What are some examples of learning by doing?” While to CARee, we questioned “What are some examples of strong social networks?” The responses were collected on post-it notes to serve as departure points for generating more ideas.

● Opportunitee Knocks: Misson #1 Re-Imagine Learning
How might we encourage more experiential learning?
● CARee: Mission: #4 Create Connections
How might we enable youth to identify and pursue employment opportunities through strengthened networks and improved access to information?

Make It Visual and Build On It
It was quite a sight to see the plethora of post-it notes go up as pens met paper. We encouraged each team to write down words as they spoke, record thoughts as they listened, and to sketch out what they had visualized. Documenting the brainstorm with lots of visuals was an effective way of generating thought starters for discussion later on. You never know when someone might make a breakthrough based on a thought that almost got overlooked.
After 15 minutes of brainstorming individually, our ideators reconvened with their fellow team members to build upon each other’s ideas. The exchange of thoughts was a very fruitful process that refined and expanded the ideas on the boards. Post-its with insightful comments were layered on. Similar ideas were clustered together and synthesized. And new A-HA moments were revealed during the collaborative discussions.

Evaluate and Upload
Towards the conclusion of the session, Opportunity Knocks and CARee each distilled down their discoveries into more concrete ideas to share with the entire group. It was interesting to see how our teams continued the refinement process as they tied in insights from other ideas to make the final concepts richer. This is not unlike how our community will take cues from each other's idea contributions as the challenge progresses closer to the  Refinement phase!  Before wrapping up the OpenSTORM session, each team used the Brainstorm In a Box worksheets to refine their concepts for upload onto the OpenIDEO platform.
Job Mobile - Shared by CARee
The Job-Mobile is a bus that carries mentors and business leaders - providing workshops, job-training mentorship and counseling, life-skill development, and access to job opportunities.  The community will gather here and connect over job searching and opportunities.
OpportuniTree - Shared by Opportunitee Knocks
OpportuniTree is a high school version of a "LinkedIn meets Youtube" platform. The platform provides tools to create photo/video-based profiles for students and organizations. Students can learn about industry opportunities and trends; share their work-based learning experience; explore different career paths; and connect with industry mentors.

It was quite inspiring to see how many thought starters we generated from the brainstorming session. There is definitely a great degree of power in the rapid feed-back loops that take place at an OpenSTORM. In the upcoming weeks, we will look forward to hearing more stories from our community about how our ideators have gotten together with friends, family, colleagues, and other OpenIDEO Meetup groups to tackle this challenge! 

Special Thanks to our OpenIDEO Meetup San Francisco Team: Silvie Hibdon, Lindsey Boran, and Debbie Paterson. And thank you to all of our great Ideators who had participated in the OpenSTORM: Aaron Weil, Jennifer Fong, Matthew Ridenour, Henrik Scheel, Steven Santa Maria, Justin Brown, Oskana Protsukha

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Community Champions , OpenIDEO Meetups , Youth Employment Challenge 2


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jennifer Fong

Thanks for capturing this OpenSTORM meet up Shane! It was really amazing to bring a lot of online idea into real time discussion with the other Ideators (love that name!)

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great to have you with us Jennifer! Yes it quite inspiring to see how many provocative ideas and discussions we had generated within a short amount of time!