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WEAVE catalyzes a sustainable feedback loop of inclusive, cross-cultural workforce empowerment by building lifelong learning environments.

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The student walked into my classroom, collapsed into his desk chair and let out a heavy sigh.  "Jae Ho, are you okay?" "Yeah.  I just feel when I come in here I can relax because I'm home."       

WEAVE stems from a recognition of the individual challenges of displaced persons and the observation that once connected with one another and with relevant resources, these persons flourish and better their communities.

Universities should engage empathetically with the communities they endeavor to better service.  That means contextualizing outreach in such a way that respects cultural intricacies and potential linguistic barriers.

Having drawn communities into the process, via community-based outreach ambassadors, universities can facilitate educational modules (e.g. "Design Thinking in the Age of Automation") to provide WEAVE alums with marketable skillsets -- as well as civic work experience via contributing to WEAVE or in other forms.

This promotes a virtuous cycle / positive feedback loop of inclusive community networks and relationships with proximate higher ed resources and programs, as well as a stepwise adoption of marketable skills that (longer-term) enable WEAVE alums' transitions into the greater workforce, adaptive to changing marketplaces and socioeconomic trends.  (See attached chart for visualization.)

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

Our idea is designed for community hubs amidst diverse populations / immigrant populations / networked communities in proximity to universities/university resources. WEAVE coalesces latent resources (community networks, higher ed entities) to increase inclusive access to career-furthering education -- marketable skills-based modules that take into account, and empower participants to understand and navigate socioeconomic trends such as automation.

This idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Leading Community Lab sessions / weekend workshops -- design thinking sessions focused on teaching design thinking (in-demand, automation-impervious skill) with the problem statement: how might we adapt the workforce to the onset of automation?

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Pilot an outreach/weekend workshop in a local community hub, e.g. senior center, church, youth center, community center, common meeting place that you are connected to. Recognize the "gatekeepers" at the event, people who connect. Take pictures! Note what worked and did not- from invitation to ending!

Tell us about your work experience:

Education & social impact is our mission. + 3+ years teaching in a university setting + 10+ years teaching in the 6-12th grade classrooms + 5+ years teaching using Learning Management Systems (LMS) + 10+ combined years using LMS as students + 4+ classes taken on MOOC platforms + 2 MBAs, 97% of a MA.Ed., degrees in the sciences, degrees in the humanities, & degrees in design + business development/design thinking consulting in developing countries + strategy & program development


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Tammy,

I want to ensure that I 100% understand the idea. WEAVE students (freshmen, high school students) receive workshops on marketable skills from community-based outreach ambassadors that better prepare them for the workforce. Then once get their first job, two years later some WEAVE alum can become the community-based outreach ambassadors giving back to their community?

Is that correct?

What would qualify someone to be a community-based outreach ambassador?

Would this be suitable for resettled refugees mentioned in Developing a higher education model for resettled refugees: competency-based degrees for successful transition and employment ? Or for the students mentioned in Boys II Men Nicaragua Style or Class Roll - Collaborative Mobile Access and Support ?

Photo of Tammy

HI Kate,

Thanks for your comment! I think that the group that you identified, freshmen/high school students, could definitely be a stakeholder group.

We started our thinking with looking at our community in the SF/Bay Area; there are pockets of immigrant groups and populations that have common gathering areas/hubs for community and support. For instance, SF Chinatown was a forced hub in the early 1900s on due to policies against the Chinese. Tapping into the stories I've heard from those that lived there, the young had common gathering places, e.g. Cameron House, the adults were entrepreneurs out of necessity because no one would hire them due to racial tensions- starting import business, restaurants, grocery stores, and more- and all identified education as the path to upward mobility. Yet, not all could partake in it because of the necessity of work to support their families.

WEAVE hopes to work with anyone, young adults to the elderly, that want an opportunity to connect and learn.

We wanted to create/structure lifelong learning opportunities for all ages within those network hubs that had close ties with universities. We also wanted to create a pathways for university undergraduates and graduates to grow in empathy by engage in social impact initiatives in their community that did not degrade into tokenism, an iterative loop that could evolve as workforce/market place needs changed. We also wanted to create a connection to local businesses. It would build into the community on many levels and start/continue conversations around socioeconomic diversity.

From over a decade of personal experience teaching international students, adults, in in-person classrooms and digital/online classrooms in urban areas, it has always taken a human-to-human connection to excite and catalyze the learning journey.

Depending on need, classes could range from integrating POS software and reporting for best business practices (which could link to university classes on finance, analytics, market research, consumer behavior, computer/app programming, etc), language acquisition through sharing and preserving arts/culture (which could link to university courses in anthropology, arts, communications, etc.), and more.

I think about communities like Oakland and Baltimore where large impactful businesses and large renown universities and immigrant/refugee populations are geographically very close. WEAVE wants to create known clear paths and meaningful partnerships between business, universities, and urban communities for lifelong, evolving, learning opportunities in a community hub, in the university, and in practical experience in a local business.

To be a community based outreach ambassador will evolve as the program grows. To start, it will be a university student teamed with a community gatekeeper and a local business member. As ties strengthen, WEAVE alumni will be the best ambassadors as well as best positioned to start new hubs as they move into new communities.

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