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Impact Stories

At OpenIDEO we design better, together for social good. This means collaborating as a global community to generate ideas which speak to big global challenges. Transforming this ideas into action and impact is an important part of our journey – check out more on the various avenues this might take on our  Types of Impact .
Our challenges don't stop when the winning concepts are announced – in fact our community members, challenge sponsors and IDEO partners strive to bring concepts to life in a variety of different ways. The best place to keep track of these updates is the Realisation phase of each completed challenge. In the meantime – check out the highlights below to see how our community has helped create positive change in the real world, or check out our Impact Book of stories we collected and shared in early 2014.

LAUNCHED: A Social Business Improving the Health of Low Income Communities in Colombia

In 2011 we ran a challenge sponsored by the Government and Grameen Caldas, Colombia with the aim of creating social businesses that would improve the health of low-income communities in places like Caldas, Colombia, where 26% of the population lives in extreme poverty. A local team of doctors and entrepreneurs have taken the winning ideas and has begun implementing them. Bive is now a successful social business delivering healthcare services to thousands of people in Caldas and surrounding region.

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FIELD-TESTED: Amnesty International Develops SOS App & Holds Trails in Nairobi

Amnesty International sponsored a challenge focussed on helping those who have been unlawfully detained. Following the challenge the IDEO London office ran a Makeathon and invited developers and designers to help prototype the ideas. One of the most successful ideas was  further developed by Thoughworks University and trialed in Nairobi with 25 highly experienced human rights workers from Amnesty.

Devised as a tool for political activists, Panic Button encrypts a message on their mobile phone which is sent to select individuals in their support network to alert them of their detention. The Panic Button app will be launched by Amnesty International on the Google Play Market later this this year. 

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LAUNCHED: Pop-ups for Urban Vibrancy in NYC

The Vibrant Cities Challenge focused on revitalising struggling cities and regions, including Detroit, Michigan. Evolving from this challenge, the Made in Lower East Side (miLES) initiative has pursued its mission of opening underused storefronts to fresh possibilities with zeal. Embracing the challenge of storefront vacancy in downtown New York, miLES takes a bottom up approach and involves the communities which it seeks to serve.

By mid-2013, they'd launched a storefront for 3 months which has hosted 13 pop-up shops, more than 20 classes, workshops and panels, 1 pop-up film festival alongside providing workspace for more than 20 co-workers. Thousands of people visited the miLES storefront. Next up they've expanded from one to multiple storefronts in the Lower East Side – triggering creativity, co-working and community connections across four locations.


LAUNCHED: Student Venture Develops OpenIDEO Ideas, Leading to 115k New Potential Donors & One Life Saved

Our Bone Marrow Donation Challenge focused on increasing the number of South Asians signed up on the U.S. bone marrow registry. In this challenge our community collaborated its way to winning concepts that raised awareness, outlined toolkits for social media campaigns, and even planned cheek-swabbing parties. 

Since the challenge ended, 100K Cheeks has helped register over 100,000 new potential bone marrow donors, thanks in large part to a website they developed based on the OpenIDEO community’s concepts. And for our community, impact was achieved simply by learning more about bone marrow donation and for many of us, actually swabbing our cheeks and signing up for the bone marrow registry.


LAUNCHED: Innovative Low-Cost Sanitation Business Launched by Unilever & WSUP in Ghana Based on OpenIDEO Ideas

The purpose of our Sanitation Challenge was to focus on sanitation and waste solutions for low-income, urban areas like Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana. Together our community surfaced a wealth of inspirations and posted a variety of ideas that played a big role in shaping the design and rollout of Clean Team, a sanitation service that is currently being piloted with 80 families in Ghana by Unilever and WSUP. Phase two of this pilot – now a design project being led by – is currently underway.


PROTOTYPE: Students Trial Ultrasound Outreach Service in Argentina

Our Maternal Health Challenge asked about the potential to use mobile technology to improve maternal health in low-income countries. From text-based pregnancy journals and mom-to-be mentor networks, to mobile flip-books and pharmacy stock-out alerts, our community's winning concepts focused on high- and low-tech interventions to improve women's health during pregnancy and childbirth. A group of community members (design students from Colombia) decided to take their concept one step further by developing an ultrasound experience prototype for expectant parents in a low-income community in Argentina.


LAUNCHED: Sustainable Local Food Guide Released in Australia

In our Local Food Challenge we sought to tackle to the issue of how to better connect food production with food consumption. Collaborative concepts from across our challenge shortlist helped inform the resulting Locavore Edition, a field guide and web platform that forms a comprehensive and evolving reference to sustainable and accessible local produce in Victoria, Australia (and other locations in the future). It aims to share fresh ideas and perspectives, reinvigorate old ones, inspire new approaches – and provide an avenue to connect over the future food systems we want to create.