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A coviewing platform for 2-3 year olds (and their adults) offering curated, high quality teachable moments.

Photo of Richard Lenn
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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

This is the first public draft and I welcome your thoughts and ponderings. This idea is shared between the opportunity areas of Early Experiences Matter and Supporting Parents and Families.

Name or Organization

Richard Lenn (individual)


I am located in Australia and this is idea is to be implemented in the US.

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD


  • Individual

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

A coviewing platform for 2-3 year olds (and their adults) offering curated, high quality teachable moments. (KREF is also a codename).

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

KREF expands the concept of who a teacher can be (both the caregiver and the media maker together), what it is that can be taught and boosts quality interaction opportunities between 2-3 year olds and adults.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

A fresh balance between young children’s increasing exposure to technology / media and their development, KREF is a curated and “on demand” service with content that is designed to be viewed together by a young child and an older person / adult / caregiver.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

A fresh look at very early childhood learning through: • Redefining the balance between technology and very young children; • Offering vast new opportunities for someone older to teach someone younger; and • Opportunity for an increase in and expansion of age appropriate development (as opposed to earlier schooling).

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

Working together, a team of ECD, media and other professionals build a platform that showcases videos (and possibly other media). The platform does not have to reinvent any wheels, but it should be strikingly beautiful, simple, fresh and appealing. Content will be sought on an ongoing basis from US / worldwide submissions and will focus on being an experience for viewing and interaction between a young child and an older person in their life. This material is curated by a small expert team with exact format to be determined, eg. magazine style, playlists, features, etc . It will be underpinned by 6 overarching (developmentally appropriate) learning domains. With an overall focus on quality rather than quantity, considerations when creating media / videos, should be: - For a 1½ to 3½ years age grouping; - High quality (this can be relative to the person / organisation submitting); - Any duration up to a maximum of 59 minutes (the maximum total daily suggested viewing); - Coviewable with an adult who can help children understand what they are seeing and help them apply what they learn to the world around them. Should not be: - Fast-paced - Distracting - Violent The first version of the platform may feature: - No auto-advancing of videos. - No advertising. - Accessible and affordable. - Strongly and developmentally sound and making minimal educational claims. - Simple, clear, super easy to pick up suggestions for the co-viewing adult to enable them to lead the experience. Following basic iterations may feature curatable playlists, possible information / advertising to adults and multiple language options. Following iterations could be broader still.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Any child and an older person, sharing, learning, interacting and communicating together. It’s also an incubator for media creators.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

KREF aims to do a few things. It seeks to partly lessen the time very young children may be exposed to screen based technologies, by offering a superior product that can be used with and trusted by adults. It seeks to increase child and adult interaction and communication opportunities. It seeks to boost very early childhood learning experiences – in an age appropriate, not earlier school way. It seeks to offer new and exciting opportunities for media makers.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

KREF seeks to be a quality, reliable, user-friendly service, with developmental underpinnings, that enables interaction and communication opportunities between any young child and adult.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

Alongside ECD professionals and communities, KREF opens up new ways and opportunities for people to be able to learn, teach, interact and communicate with a young child. It is also an incubator for people who make media suitable for very young children.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

As long as the user has an internet connection, this service should be useable and should be designed to elicit desire to share and spread its’ content.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

The idea is in it’s very infancy and though I believe it is quite feasible with its’ fresh approach, the research to back this more solidly has not been undertaken.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

As a brand new idea, there is no current business model, so I am unable to comment on its’ viability. The primary foreseen barriers are establishing a team to put this initiative together and secure funding for establishment and growth. I can counter this by reaching out into this ECD network, as well as an leadership / entrepreneur network that I am part of. I feel as though initial costs could be kept to a minimum by having a small initial team, using existing technologies and services and tapping into existing ECD and related networks.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

The concept for this submission has only very recently come into being and no formal design testing has been undertaken. I look to incorporate feedback into design elements as the project builds.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

The idea is a culmination of many many other ideas from broader education, development and societal fields. It aims to be both new and exciting, yet safe and familiar. I read very widely, both research and thought and there are big issues in the world. Much of my background interest has actually been in new curriculum models, but I’ve been realising more recently and particularly for early childhood, there are far deeper issues such as the changing nature of employment, more women undertaking education, changing family structures, early childhood workforce, etc etc etc. This idea is an approach that can perhaps offer a way forward by offering something new, collaborative and bringing together what exists already and what can be created. Much of my background has been in the broader community development, youth work, informal education, working with younger people and children area, but I’ve realised that it’s easier to try to “get in early” than to sort out problems much later. This is just one small initiative that may help. I have formal training in community development, youth work and primary (elementary) education amongst other things. I have also been a part of Seth Godin's altMBA. What excites me about this work is that it’s a circuit breaker for something new; a possible part solution to what is a very rapid moving issue. It’s also not reinventing the wheel or creating new technology; it’s just bringing together what is out there and offering more opportunities.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

No. I am looking for a remarkable team to build this alongside me – taking these ideas and turning it into something remarkable. I do also have access to a leadership / entrepreneur / business network but feel as though it should also start with this dedicated to this cause, community.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

I would love to work with passionate, dedicated people involved in pretty much every task to go from my idea to full outcome. If this is you, I’d love to hear from you.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information


Join the conversation:

Photo of Iliriana Kacaniku

Hey Richard Lenn 
Welcome to the Early Childhood Innovation Prize and thank you for sharing your idea with our community. I enjoyed reading your idea about the platform and would love to learn more about your vision for the research stage. What type of particular information and insights you are looking forward to identifying during this stage that will help your idea evolve to a prototype platform?

Also, since the Prize seeks to support ideas that will be implemented in the United States, we would love to read about your vision to develop the platform for parents and 0-3 years old children in this part of the world.

Let us know if you have any question.

Best regards,

Photo of Richard Lenn

Hi Iliriana!

Thanks for your note.

In terms of the idea, it is meant to be done as US based thing - tapping into networks / media organisations etc. there. It is a fairly adaptable idea and the US having a large population reach actually has a lot of advantages.

Much of the research that backs all of this is already out there, so it's largely just a matter of properly pulling the most relevant parts of it together.

The approach I am trying to take with the underpinnings of this idea is a strong combination of very well proven research with a splash of strong gut instinct for something new or varied (again based on other readings, insights and similar). By adding constraints I can get focus, which can also allow a little bit of freedom at the more open end. As an example, the American Academy of Paediatrics suggests very little to no digital media use in children under 18-24 months and then 2 and above, only in a limited and quality manner – hence this idea having a focus of 2-3 years but also a desire for a high quality end result that perhaps can take some new approaches.

I imagine it might also be useful to make contact with potential stakeholders and invite them to be a part of a "critical friends" group to play out this idea. Perhaps there are variants, eg. to make it more sustainable, it could become an public / incubator platform supported by (and for media makers to feed into) Sesame, PBS, etc etc.

Warm regards,