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This week OpenIDEO relaunched with a responsive, mobile-friendly platform. As our community continues to grow and diversify, we know that our collaborative space needs to keep up. This new iteration allows more people to participate, regardless of where they are and what devices they are using. Twice as fast and mobile-friendly, we hope to see more people joining the conversation, whether they are inspired on the go or live somewhere with limited internet.

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The Renewable Energy Challenge is rooted deeply in communities – so the stories and voices of community leaders and organizations are vital to our solutions. For this reason, we’re excited to attempt to draw more directly on those stories through our new, experimental volunteer positions: Community Outreach Leaders.

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Amplify aims to make international aid more inclusive and human-centered. We have created the In Country Manager program to nurture a diverse network of local individuals and organizations and increase their participation in Amplify Challenges.  We are currently focused on nurturing this program in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nepal but hope to scale it in the future.

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Recently, with the launch of the Amplify program, we’ve been working with the IDEO.org team to think about what inclusivity and collaboration mean when the solutions we design are targeted towards communities that lack reliable access to the internet. After testing the use of Integrated Voice Response (IVR) technology during the Ideas phase of our last Amplify challenge, we’ve launched a Global Conversations project that will help make our Zero to Five challenge truly inclusive – connecting the OpenIDEO platform with individuals and community groups in the developing world.

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The Amplify Team is getting ready for our second challenge launching in September. In this challenge we’ll be tackling Early Childhood Development and asking our community to collaboratively design inspiring new ways to help parents and primary caregivers, especially those living in low-income areas, give children the best possible start in life. In order engage local communities, some which don’t have access to the internet, we are currently developing several prototypes one to start local Amplify hubs and a second one to extend the OpenIDEO platform to communities with limited or no access to the Internet.

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As part of Amplify’s continuing initiative to support the community for the Women’s Safety Challenge, we offered Office Hours, a one hour video conference, to connect experienced IDEO.org designers with community members. Danny Alexander and John Won sat down to answer community-submitted questions around the challenges faced during the Refinement phase. They used their human-centered design knowledge to provide support around setting up prototypes and scoping ideas for implementation.

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One of the main goals of the Amplify program is to expand challenge participation in new ways – such as by exploring what access looks like for communities with no or limited access to the internet. We are incredibly excited to think about what this means for the diversity of our community. To continue fulfilling this mission, Marika Shioiri-Clark and Shauna Carey, members of the Amplify Team, have gone back to India to prototype the use of radio and Interactive Voice Response IVR systems to invite a diverse set of users to join in the conversation around our Women’s Safety Challenge. Check out this interview about the IVR program and goals:

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Last December we surveyed the collaborators of our Connected Communities Challenge and asked if they wanted to get more involved in OpenIDEO. 94% of the survey respondents said they did, and many left an email addresses for us to contact. We met with them several times over Google Hangout and had four organisers start Meetups in their local communities.

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The OpenIDEO Team are busy cooking up a new challenge which we're hoping to launch during the next month. We're keen to continue our experiment to empower collaborators from our community in helping shape our challenges. So we've got one spot for a switched-on community member, in a voluntary role to work together with us to deepen the OpenIDEO community experience.

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