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

Make it together - get surprised

Remember drawing together on a folded paper? 1 draws the head, 1 the middle and 1 the feet: always a guarantee for success. It inspired us to think of a new way to get connected and to build relationships. Just in an unexpected moment, you can work on something you like to create, building on somebody's work. Boundaries of young, old, poor, rich are not important, just your input counts. You can find new partners to work with.

Photo of Christa van Gessel
2 4

Written by

How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Being creative, after each other, inspired by each other, finding new ways of communicating.
This can be created in middle age technology: just a painting in a clubhouse, a music song in pub, a book in a library. When you're there, you can look at what previous people has created and add something. 

Or it can be in modern technology: an online platform where you can select your favorite way of expression and add something. 
On a dull moment, you can see what other people had created and get inspired.

Extra idea: to make a "Make" Cafe, or "Repair Cafe" where people come together, be creative together, learn of eachother or where people repair products of others. 

Scenario - personas
Meet Alice (69), Wil (65), Maaike (36), Margreet (33) and Jan (75).
They all live close in Utrecht, The Netherlands, but they don't know eachother. Alice' legs are not that good anymore, so she doesn't go that far anymore, but she loves to take a cup of coffee in de cafe around the corner. Wil was always working very hard as nurse, but she is just retired. She is a little confused, what to do with her spare time? She loves to gardening and she studied philosophy 10 years ago. Jan is a real handy man, always active and searching for new adventures. His wife loves quite sitting at home, but Jan is going out, always helping people.
Maaike is au pair, she takes care of 2 children: Julia and Olivier. Margreet is a independent graphic designer, she works for clients or just in her cafe in the neighbourhood.
They all are creative and share a love for making things, and they all share the same neighbourhood.

Scenario version 1: offline
Alice in drinking a cup of coffee in the cafe. She sees the sign of "Making it together." She loves drawing, so she starts to draw in the book. She is drawing some children, playing ball games in the neighboorhood. She adds a story about her youth, her lovely memories about playing with her sister on the streets of Utrecht. She fills in her name and when it's time to go, she leaves it in the box with a smile.
Next day, Margreet is working in the cafe. Suddenly she sees the box: "Wow, a drawing of somebody: beautiful! And what a special story of Alice. I don't know her, but I love to learn about this neighboorhood. Lovely to know that this was a lovely courtyard in earlier days! I add to the drawing, and I add my lovely memory: meeting my big love, eating icecream together."
Anotherday, Maaike is taking care of Julia and Olivier, playing in the garden of the cafe. With some lemonade, Olivier sees the drawings of Margreet and Alice: "What is that? I want to draw aswell!!." Also Jan is sitting there, he is repairing a radio. Olivier loves to learn that, he wants to be an inventor when he is grown up. They all start a conversation ...
A few days later, Alice is drinking some coffee in the cafe, she remembers the book, gets it and is surprised, what a lovely stories! Margreet had called her yesterday, she wants to make a documentary about the neighboorhood, so she can tell her story. And Jan is repairing her radio, wow, how lovely contact in this neighboorhood.

Scenario version 2: online
Wil is sitting at home, wondering what to do. After working so hard as a nurse, she loves to do something for the community, but doesn't know what to do. She just heard about the "Make it together" pinboard, somebody told her about it at the supermarket. She goes to the website. She reads some stories, one of Alice, about her youth in this neighboorhood. And one of Margreet, the designer, who is making a documentary about the neighboorhood. Suddenly she see a request of the local cafe: they have a garden, but they don't know what to do with it. Wil loves to join to make something of the garden. A plus is, at coffee break, she can talk with the young ones, working there. She loves to hear their stories about today's life and the questions they have. Sometimes she can help them with her knowledge of life. And she loves to stay up to date!
She places pictures of the garden and tips on the website.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

Just try it with middd age technology: start a drawing, a book or a music song and put it somewhere with some nice signs: welcome to contribute. Put an extra paper with the questions: what do you like to add, change etc.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Paul Reader

Hi Christa et al.
Love the idea and the cool artwork for this and the Treasure Searching concept.
Will be interested to see what grows out of this suggestion.

Photo of Christa van Gessel

Thank you Paul, love to hear all suggestions.