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OpenIDEO Design Challenge Card

An accordion-format laminated card for instant participation in a OpenIDEO Design Challenge

Photo of Avi Solomon
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An accordion-format laminated card can be distributed for instant participation in a OpenIDEO Design Challenge.

The laminated card can be used with an erasable marker and the results scanned to the OpenIDEO website. Wipe off for reuse.

An unlaminated paper version (or a Moleskine Japanese Album) can be produced for single use and localized printing (cards could be snail-mailed back).

The card incorporates the OpenIDEO design process and makes it accessible offline. Translations can be made for any language.

OpenIDEO Design Challenge cards can used at OI workshops in schools and conferences. They can also be placed in strategic locations at train stations, bus stops and airports.

What kind of social impact does this concept achieve?

Makes the OpenIDEO Design Challenge process accessible to anyone.

What skills are required to take this concept forward?

Folding Paper

How do you envision this concept being supported financially?

Sell the OpenIDEO Design Challenge Card online. A premium Moleskine version can be sold to raise money for the challenge.

Virtual Team:

Adriana Olmos, Deepti Kundra, Sina Mossayeb
d.School Stanford:

Evaluation results

22 evaluations so far

1. Does this concept increase social impact?

Absolutely! This idea will drive social change - 18.2%

It’s a good start – some impact is likely to be achieved - 77.3%

No – increasing impact is not the main focus of this idea - 4.5%

2. Does this idea inspire *you* to take action?

Sure does – I’m itching to get started turning this idea into impact - 63.6%

Possibly – I’d need to know more to make a decision about how to get involved - 22.7%

No thanks – it’s an interesting idea, but it would be best taken forward by someone else - 13.6%

3. Does this concept help the OpenIDEO community connect and collaborate together?

Yes – it does a brilliant job of enhancing our community connections and might even reach out to external partners - 31.8%

Maybe – it may drive increased collaboration but the concept would need to be further developed first - 59.1%

No – it doesn’t help our community connect or collaborate better - 9.1%

4. How easy would it be to try prototyping or experimenting with this idea?

Easy – I could have an early prototype running in a few hours - 77.3%

There’s potential but it would take some planning and coordination to make it work - 22.7%

Not really easy – this idea would take considerable resources and planning to get it off the ground - 0%

5. Does this concept clearly outline how it will be funded?

Yes, this idea clearly explains funding sources - 31.8%

Sort of – we’d probably still need to think more about how this idea would get funded - 59.1%

No, this idea doesn’t really explain where funding for implementation would come from - 9.1%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Avi Solomon

You can download a pdf version of the OpenIDEO Design Challenge Card Prototype here:

Photo of Meena Kadri

Wow, Avi – I'm loving the process and thought you've put into the fresh designs you've added for this! Bravo!

Photo of Avi Solomon

Thanks Meena! Here's the correct download link (for some reason I'm unable to update the concept page):

Photo of Meena Kadri

Indeed – this is what I was cheering you on for. I caught it on Twitter but am glad you've shared it here with everyone else. Fab stuff!

Photo of Haiyan Zhang

Hi Avi, Congratulations! Can't wait to see the prototype. I would even love an unlaminated version that explains the OpenIDEO process to people in easy steps.

Photo of Avi Solomon

Thanks Haiyan! I'll try and scan it over the weekend.

Photo of Haiyan Zhang

Great Avi! I was just discussing with Daniel Nacamuli that we should make an interactive version of the accordion book to perhaps explain how OpenIDEO works to new users. Looking forward to seeing your prototype!

Photo of Avi Solomon

Following the Stanford card format as an exercise I ended up prototyping a new ereading device! Quite ironic since I did it all on paper:) I think I'll resketch the sequence and scan it as an animated gif for sequential display. I'll also simplify the text to match the OI process terminology.

Photo of Avi Solomon

Haiyan, you can view the OpenIDEO Design Challenge Card Prototype here:

Photo of Meena Kadri

Go Avi – great work on this winning concept! I feel like pulling out an accordion and playing a celebratory song (unfortunately my concertina skills are a bit rusty ;^)

Photo of Avi Solomon

Thanks Meena - I hear some music in the air:)

Photo of DeletedUser


I love the simplicity of this design, but what grabs me when I read the comments here is the speculative nature of what's being said.

It occurs to me that this would be a relatively simple thing to make up a couple prototypes and go out and test how people would use it.

Has anyone done that?
(I'm new to this OpenIDEO community but a big fan of IDEO, apologies if this question is counter-intuitive)

Photo of Avi Solomon

Yes, I'm prototyping an OpenIDEO adaption using a $2 colored notecard binder from Staples. It works well but have been too busy to post photos!

Photo of Sarah Fathallah

Looking forward to seeing the pictures!

Photo of Sina Mossayeb

i think is a definite do-it-anyway kind of concept. what do i mean? i think no matter what, this is something the brilliance of avi and some of the oi community can prototype and pull together in less than a week! avi i love the feasibility, viability, and awesome of it

Photo of Avi Solomon

Thanks - Go for it Sina!

Photo of Deepti Kundra

Apart from the feasibility, I think this concept has the advantage of piggy backing along with another concept. However if I looked at it just by itself, I was thinking to increase the footprint of the project in hand, maybe if there was a partner like the postal service, one could possible tear out an attachment from the foldable cards and post it like a postcard to anyone including to Open IDEO to submit or simply to initiate people to think about it and add to it. This way the postcard will achieve a footprint across boundaries and also becomes a great artifact to just send to people for great conversation and discussions.

Photo of Paul Reader

As Sina says this is something that probably is worth trialling, probably in paper form initially, as a possible input to the process. The timescale for challenges might need to be extended to accommodate the delay involved in distribution and collecting input. A strength of the online process is the interactive feedback. In many cases it is this interaction and feedback that engages and binds participants to OpenIDEO. I think we definitely need ways to allow participation from those not connected as part of OpenIDEO online community. In particular using it in schools and local chapters as a tool to bring ideas together without the need for technology would be particularly appropriate.

Photo of ankita dewan

I agree to Paul,Off course the offline card system will bring many people together to contribute, and so it might instigate them to visit online OI website too, which will be a positive point.
Apart from this, there should be a system, through which these cards could be scanned and submitted online to connect to everyone and share individuals contribution.

Photo of Avi Solomon

Deepti - OI Postcards are cool:)

Photo of DeletedUser


. Ah! I find this a really fun concept! - I like it a lot because building this type of materials is really useful to our everyday work as designers, concept-ers, etc… Also helps to other people new or outside the field or this methods to know how to go about it and contribute as well!

. Here is a a crazy thought inspired by your concept… Imagine we put this cards at train stations… You are invited to participate you pick up the card, get inspired during your journey, do the thinking and at the end of your train journey you drop it as soon as you get off the train. There is a drop box on the train stations and we (the people looking after these cards) take care of scanning it and posting it to the OpenIDEO site…. While traveling (in Europe or other continents) - we spend a lot of time commenting but the scenery and people around us are always super inspiring! …. hence the comment here... True that a mobile Ap might be easier to manage... yet there is quite something in using paper and markers...

. Big supporter of using laminated cards - material! - Wipe off for reuse! -- very congruent with sustainable design practices.

Photo of Avi Solomon

Adriana - OI challenge dropboxes at train stations are a brilliant idea!

Photo of DeletedUser


Avi, what about allowing each user to have a "resource page" where each user can upload resources they found useful for social goods in general. OpenIDEO can have a section that pulls good resource from personal resource page with some curation to show good inspiration / ideas so it would be a good knowledge library for the community during challenge or in preparation of future challenges.

Photo of Mike Hatrick

I think this is a promising idea, but I also think it has limitations.

Certainly it would be useful for OpenIDEOs in terms of helping them to engage in challenges when they are away from the computer screen. I could imagine myself using it on the train, on the airplane, etc.

But I think anybody not already familiar with the process and the intent of OpenIDEO would struggle, and if we were to try to add the necessary detail required then this becomes a small manual rather than an engaging handout.

I also think that placing them in train stations, etc. sounds good in principle but the return would be very small.

Am I just being a killjoy?, there is some experience here.

At my last company in one of the crowdsourcing challenges I ran we were keen to try to reach the employees who were not online in their daily work.

We launched the challenge online to 2,000 people and handed out 5,000 A5 "idea forms" to be distributed amongst 3,000 shop floor workers. One side described what we were looking for, what would happen to their idea, and so on. We also briefed all of their managers at a 'town hall' meeting, put it in the company magazine and did some briefings to the folks on the shop floor.

From the 2,000 online people we got about 240 ideas and a huge amount of collaboration and builds.

From the 3,000 shop floor people we got 17....and those people had limited chance to collaborate unless they also decided to go online (most likely from home).

It is only one instance but it taught me a lot. I felt that we had tried to make a square peg fit a round hole (making the online engagement work offline), and at the end of the day the effort involved had not justified the return.

Photo of Avi Solomon

Thanks for the input Mike. You're right that it presupposes a certain familiarity with the OI process. Maybe it could be used in the context of a dedicated OI workshop or aleast with an introduction (on the card or accompanying video) that provides the context. If we provide the challenge in a Moleskine rather than card format it could make the challenge process feel more "important". Anyway we could test all this cheaply in small batches and in different settings.

Photo of Paul Reader

Mike - your observations are very apt. Although "crowd sourcing" is a new term to me the technique has been used for many years in various forms. In these days of productivity driven approaches to labour management (sometimes reminiscent of time and motion analysis) such results as you describe are predictable. There is often a perception that any thinking that matters occurs in about the third tier of management and above. It takes considerable interaction at all levels in the organisation to dispel such perceptions. Stratification such as the "town hall" meetings only serve to reinforce these perceptions. Breaking down the barriers of the heirarchical structure to provide true opportunities for interaction and collaboration sufficiently frequently can help enormously but often requires production downtime that management would prefer to avoid. For many organisations taking the risk of trading production time for innovation time has proved worthwhile. A key element in this is providing adequate feedback. Ultimately it hinges on mutual trust.
Relating this to the current concept the overall time allocated to a challenge will need to be extended,

Photo of Sarah Fathallah

What I like about this is that I can take it with me anywhere, on the subway, while waiting in an airport, share it with friends, colleagues or family... It could even be a great tool for a teacher in the classroom. Simple and effective!

Photo of Paul Reader

Sarah makes an excellent observation here that it could be used by those already familiar with OI as an alternative to a mobile app (my mobile phone is just that - a phone and nothing more) and allow OI members to engage individuals and small groups in the broader community.

Photo of Jennifer Davis

I applaud the instinct to make OI challenges more widely accessible, but I'm struggling to understand how this would actually hold up, because challenges are constantly in motion. I see that people could add their own inspiration or concepts in this offline manner, but half the fun is being inspired by the other concepts that are posted daily. How does one capture that in a single printing? And, what's to say that someone's idea isn't similar to something going online, and the person misses out on a great opportunity for collaboration?
I think these cards are a fantastic and engaging idea, I just don't think we should construe it as a means of aiding participation in OI challenges, at least not directly. Perhaps they're instead the perfect solution for some of the offline community-based setting that other concepts have proposed.

Photo of Avi Solomon

Jennifer, there would definitely have to be a context for using the card (e.g. as an icebreaker at an OI Local Chapter meeting) and the ultimate goal is to scan the card content back into the OI website (this would potentially draw the card owner to interact with the OI website at some point).
The card could just make the difference between participation vs. non-engagement for some (e.g. schoolkids participating in a OI challenge as homework). The completed cards could also be shared for comparison between participating members.
I feel that keeping the cards generic is a strength.

Photo of DeletedUser


I'd love to see both - The digital version on a mobile app and the moleskin version - "hell yeah" :)

Photo of James McBennett

Berg (London) Mag+

Photo of Avi Solomon

Syed, the digital version would work well as a tool to capture inspirations/concepts and provide structure (synchronised online with the challenge phases?) to the design process. Some people prefer working with the high-bandwidth technology that is paper and a filled-out OI Moleskine is a cool thing to show off to your friends! To each his own:)

Photo of Ben Morgan

It feels as though this could be used as a tool within a couple of the other concepts. I agree with Sina, it's definitely a "do-it-anyway" concept, and seems like it would be a great tool for Chloe's OpenIDEO ambassadors and Anjelika's Local Chapters. There's something very non-threatening about having this physical gateway to the challenges, which means that those who don't necessarily feel inclined to join the community can still have valuable input through ambassadors and other OpenIDEATORS.

Photo of Avi Solomon

We could provide this in two formats - Card and Moleskine:
There's something more intentional in working with a dedicated Moleskine. Also the Moleskine version could be sold to raise money for the challenge implementation while providing a physical souvenir of the design experience.

Photo of James McBennett

Flatland, A romance of many dimensions uses the accordion book format, it's quite cool how pages interact with each other.


Photo of Avi Solomon

That's wonderful James!

Photo of Meena Kadri

Just re-reading this little rockstar of a concept again as I come to the Evaluation phase. Also made me think that the simplicity of this holds inspiration for what might be included in an OpenIDEO mobile app.

Photo of Avi Solomon

Yes, this would be a easy way to start prototyping the OpenIDEO mobile app!

Photo of Meena Kadri

Loving the non-digital goodness on this one – and huge cheer for accessibility! Way to go Avi.

Photo of Kara Pecknold

Love it. So accessible!