OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

IDEO Cafe Collective

Coffee shops as public innovation labs to transform strangers into collaborative innovators

Photo of Anders Tse
6 6

Written by

Inspiration: I love coffee and I believe coffee brings people together. I have had some of the most fascinating conversations with strangers and friends from all over the world over a cuppa joe. 

Concept: What if local coffee shops and cafes hosted regular openIDEO meetups? Any coffee shop interested would join the IDEO Cafe Collective. I imagine this would take place on weeknights after work hours (~6 pm) or on weekends to accommodate both working professionals and students. Ideally, this would occur on a bimonthly basis. In addition to solving for openIDEO challenges, coffee shops could also pose their own challenges of interest, whether they are related to local community issues or opportunities to reimagine their business.

Space: The bigger the coffee shop, the better. We want enough space to hold as many pairs/teams as possible. Even better if the furniture was configurable for teams to spread out and make space to create and build. As the main facilitator, IDEO could provide additional materials, such as prototyping supplies, movable white boards, etc.

How it works: The kickoff event would start with ice breakers. A speed dating type of setup would pair people together that come from different backgrounds and disciplines. Overall, we want to give people the chance to get to know everyone participating. Afterwards, people would pair up or form a team to participate in the ongoing openIDEO challenge. There would be events held for each phase, starting with Research. In addition, there could be events with guest speakers that deal with relevant topics in innovation. In the future, once these events become more established, coffee shops could evolve into public innovation labs/coworking spaces. 

This is an inclusive space for anyone interested in innovating for a better future and affecting positive social change. Coffee shops are a popular gathering space and having an established physical meeting point would solve the challenge of coordinating locations for openIDEO meetups. My vision is to provide a completely open space for anyone to tap into their creative potential, meet other like-minded people, and design disruptive solutions together. No membership fee or qualifications required. Just come with an open mind and love for coffee!

If you'd like your name to appear in our report on open innovation, please include it below as you'd like it to appear.

Anders Tse [Cornell U.]


Join the conversation:

Photo of Charlie Turnley

Great thought Anders Tse ! Bringing Open Innovation into a physical, rather than virtual, space was exactly what I was thinking in Bringing Open Innovation into the physical world . 

Coffee shops and pop-ups are such collaborative experiences, and really do promote the best creative juices. I would love to keep abreast of your developments in this.

Also, from a business perspective, one could easily convince coffee shop chains to host your idea if they felt that it would attract more customers! Would be a great way to market the idea

Photo of Anders Tse

Thanks for your insights Charlie Turnley ! I read your post and couldn't agree more with your thoughts on the importance of fusing the virtual world with physical presence. Your intro with the white board reminds me of my other idea here: Innovation Everywhere | We Cause Ideas. 

I would be more than happy to keep you posted and would be open to collaboration too. This is actually an idea I would like to carry out one day. Who could beat the smell of fresh roasted coffee and shared excitement of open innovation? :) 

View all comments