OpenIDEO is great at bringing people together for a single night, but often that collaboration doesn't continue once the meet-up is over. As a result, teams of idea-generators and problems solvers don't spend enough time together to benefit from mutual learning, strategically recruit new members, recycle ideas, develop expertise, or sharpen their approach or outlook on problem solving.
Instead of free-for-all contribution that dissolves down to a bunch of individually submitted ideas, I purpose that participants form lasting teams (micro-consultancies) to tackle challenges much like the way MBA students (or--if that's too corporate for you--Burning Man camps) do. The idea is that team membership will matter to participants, increasing engagement with the challenges and providing a structure (like business school or Burning Man) for groups working together.
The after state of this suggestion is:
1. Participants form teams that intend to work together on not 1 but several OpenIDEO challenges. They brand their team, create governance, fundraise, and promote themselves much like teams do in other professional contexts.
2. Teams work together to create solutions to OpenIDEO challenges based on their chosen work areas and philosophies. They recruit new members to the OpenIDEO community as the technical and subject matter needs of the team evolve and change.
3. As in business school. Teams of finalists create a branded deliverable that answers several important questions related to the challenge or lays out an action plan for a solution.
OpenIDEO will need to provide:
1. A platform for teams to organize and collaborate.
2. A model for forming successful teams and guidelines for working together and with OpenIDEO. OpenIDEO becomes like the NFL with different teams being like...well...teams!
3. Recognition based incentives for teams to compete against big global issues, like big events where they can showcase their portfolio of solutions.
4. A platform for teams to compare ideas and discuss how their solutions fit together. A team of marketers, for example, may only tackle a challenge like clean water from the perspective of engaging communities and spreading awareness about water solutions/risks, while a team of engineers might purpose new tech that will require the go-to-market skills of the marketers.
Besides those already listed for teams, the benefits could include:
1. Teams collaborating better because not everyone on the team needs to be responsible for collaboration.
2. A context that makes it easier for 1 person to have part of the solution, and easily find and work with the people who can put it into a larger proposal.
3. More value for participants who are forming more significant relationships with team members.
4. A context for encouraging people to participate in OpenIDEO, because teams who need an engineer or social scientist will be motivated to find one.
5. Being flat out more fun and more rewarding, because teams would develop records of success that individual members could point to as accomplishments, service, experience, etc.