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Announcing Our Youth Employment Challenge Shortlist

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Youth Employment Challenge team of advisors hard at work in the selection meeting.
Almost 3 months ago, OpenIDEO – in partnership with Barclays and The Work Foundation – launched our Youth Employment Challenge, posing to our global community the question: How can we equip young people with the skills, information and opportunities they need to succeed in the world of work?
We knew this was a timely challenge and one that many of you would feel passionately about; after all, each of us has experienced feeling daunted, overwhelmed or astonished by the challenges of forging our own career paths. Yet most of us can also identify something (be it a person, a piece of advice, an incident, a chance encounter, etc) that somehow changed the course of events for the better.
Since the end of May, your collective efforts and concepts have inspired and impressed us. Over the past few months, a diverse team of advisors from our three organisations has been keeping a close eye on the challenge as it's progressed. We've had weekly calls and regular meet-ups to discuss the inspirations, the concepts, the comments and the applause and have genuinely been humbled by both the quantity and quality of your contributions. This past week, in a hot and humid London meeting room, our team of 10 convened to consider which of the 149 concepts submitted should make our Top 20 Refinement shortlist.
Asking 10 opinionated and enthusiastic people to whittle 149 concepts down to a shortlist of 20 was not an easy undertaking! Nonetheless, we forged ahead and created a shortlist of ideas that cover a wide range of shapes and sizes: from policy, digital, products, services, tools, experiences and communities. We also considered the following criteria:
  • Reach and impact - which and how many young people will this idea reach and what impact might it have on their potential to succeed in the world of work?
  • Resources and set-up - what would it take to get this idea off the ground? Could it get going on a lean budget/schedule or is it going to require intensive investment?
  • Sustainability and longevity - does this idea feel like it could potentially stand on its own feet quickly and not need extensive support to stay afloat? Will it continue to be relevant in future?
  • Scalability - how easy will it be for this idea to grow and extend to different geographies/target groups?
  • Originality - how new or innovative is this idea? Are there many different versions of this concept out there already or is this something more unique?
  • Community response - has this concept attracted a lot of applause or positive comments from the OpenIDEO community?
After much discussion and debate, we came up with 20 concepts that we feel reflect not only the breadth of potential solutions to this challenge but, with further refinement, could really fulfill the criteria above and make a significant contribution to improving the chances of young people in the world of work.
Now the collaboration continues with our two-week Youth Employment Challenge Refinement phase, where we'll focus our efforts on iterating, editing and prototyping our Top 20 shortlisted concepts. If your concept made it into the shortlist, get ready to fine-tune your submission, add virtual team members, create new visuals, or even experiment with an early prototype of your idea out in the real world. And if your idea hasn't moved on – there will still be plenty of chances for you to join conversations, suggest new builds or designs, or join in on prototyping. We're looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
So with that, let's head over to Youth Employment Challenge Refinement to congratulate our shortlisted ideators and continue collaborating to bring these early concepts even closer to impact.
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I like the feedback you put below each of the Top 20 shortlisted concepts, showing what the panel liked and what should explored further. In the spirt of the "Job interviews as learning moments" concept, where potential employers would give feedback to the interviewees, would it be possible if you wrote short feedback for all of the concepts, not just the Top 20? That way, contributors can take in what was good about their concept, understand why their concept did not make the shortlist, making OpenIDEO a "learning moment" as well.

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Hi Andrew, thanks for your comment and your feedback – you're right, OpenIDEO can be quite a valuable learning tool. While we're not able to provide direct feedback to everyone, we do hope that our community members will join in collaborative conversations which provide collective feedback. It's been exciting for us to see many of our collaborators' quality of contributions grow over time – learning from the collective wisdom of the wider community through active participation. Looking forward to seeing more of you on OpenIDEO!