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Youth Mentor Challenge – Tips for Ideas

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As we dive into the Ideas phase of our Youth Mentor Challenge, let’s get energised by a truly dynamic library of insights, stories and examples that paint a vibrant story around mentorship. These 200+ Research contributions form a collective dialogue on the importance of generations coming together to support one another and we couldn’t be more excited to see these translated into transformational ideas over the next few weeks.

Recently the OpenIDEO Team met with our Youth Mentor Challenge advisors, sponsors and partners to reflect on important patterns and themes already emerging from the Research phase. This synthesis illuminated many memorable highlights – but most of all we were incredibly inspired by the personal lens through which people have approached this challenge so far. Through the act of storytelling our community has achieved a level of impact that was clearly tangible for our Expert Panel that day.

Now as we turn our attention to ideation, let’s use this budding momentum to create actionable solutions around mentorship. Check out these Opportunity Areas and Design Principles. Think of these as thought starters for inspiration as we continue our journey.


1. Roadmaps to Get Started 
People are often eager to lend their help – but don’t always know what kind of help they can offer, let alone know where to begin. How might we make mentoring feel less scary and more fun for everyone

2. Tools for Connection
Many of us find meaning and a sense of purpose through the connections we create with each other – but we don’t always know how to connect with new people. How might we foster unexpected connections across generations?

3. Uniting Organisations (Building a Network)
A number of organisations that draw people into mentoring already exist – but they often work in isolation. Let’s imagine what a network of mentor organisations might look like. How might we connect organisations together through a unifying network in ways that helps deepen their collective impact?

4. Twist What Exists
Let’s hack existing programmes, spaces or events to create new mashups that bring young people and older adults together in new or unexpected ways. How might we borrow from what already exists to create more connections between young people and older adults?

5. Capturing the Value of Mentorship
When we take the time to share our skills, talents and time with others, we’re doing more than just helping – we’re investing in the relationships we have with other people. How might we design personalised, meaningful story capture tools to enable young people to keep track of, showcase and reflect back on their experiences as a mentor? 

In addition, we’ve created these Design Principles as a guiding framework for your thinking:

1. Let’s keep diversity in mind
When we keep in mind that we are designing for a wide range of ages and interests, our solutions have a higher chance of impacting a dynamic community.

2. Let’s find ways to prototype our ideas
One of the best ways to strengthen our ideas is to ask questions and test assumptions.

3. Let’s be positive and inviting
Throughout this challenge we have the awesome opportunity reframe the way we talk and think about what mentoring really means. What fresh terms can we infuse into the way we express our ideas?

4. Let’s design for mutual benefit
When both people in a mentoring relationship have the opportunity to equally give and receive, and see inherent value in that exchange, the result feels positive for both sides.

5. Let’s view technology as an enabler
Technology is an incredible tool for connection. Let’s keep in mind that while technology can often act as the vehicle or accelerator for an idea, its not the entire solution.

Read more about these Opportunity Areas and Design Principles as you dive into the Ideas phase. You might also check out the Missions in the left sidebar of the Ideas page. These calls to action are great ways to get your ideation juices flowing.


Because this challenge is about creating connections and starting fresh dialogues, we encourage you to think about how you will tap into new communities and seek dynamic perspectives. Consider joining a local Meetup for some collaborative power or download our Brainstorm in a Box and have an inspiring session of your own with some friends or peers. You can also break down assumptions and get to know how people might interact with your idea by mapping their journey with this helpful tool by and +Acumen. 

We’re excited to see all of your fresh thinking in the Ideas phase! See you there.

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