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Vibrant Cities Concepting Tips

OpenIDEO's Nathan gets inspired during the recent  meeting with our challenge sponsor, Steelcase.
Since we started our Vibrant Cities Challenge in early November, our collaborative and engaged community has shared  almost 900 inspirations to revitalise cities and regions facing economic decline – that's an OpenIDEO record! As we head into the ever-spirited and engaging  Concepting phase, we thought we’d take a couple of minutes to talk through some tips.

Keep Low-Cost and Grassroots Solutions in Mind

It's easy to assume that any solutions for city revitalisation will require coordinated efforts by citizens, governments, nonprofits and other organizations to achieve large-scale vibrancy – and in many cases, they do. But, as we saw in the Inspiration phase,  there are plenty of low-cost, grassroots and easy-to-implement ideas that create moments of vibrancy as well. 
While we know it's exciting to think about what could be achieved with unlimited funding or large partnerships,  we're especially eager to see ideas in this challenge that any one of us could go out and implement ourselves. After all, efforts that we can begin today will start generating impact right away. 

Thinking about Themes

Did you know you can use Themes to spark your challenge concepts? Themes serve two important roles in our challenges:
  • To reflect the common community trends, conversations & insights that came up during the Inspiration phase.
  • To serve as a jumping-off point to guide the solutions we will be generating in the Concepting phase.
At the end of the Inspiration phase the OpenIDEO team sat down with our partners from Steelcase to develop seven Themes to offer helpful springboards for your concepts:
Create Connections
Empower Youth
Design for Well-being
Amplify Citizen Voices
Re-purpose Spaces
Foster Local Identity
Enable Entrepreneurship
Be sure to check out the Theme descriptions to learn more about them. You can find them by clicking on each Theme located on the  Concepting page. How might you design solutions that address the questions posted in each Theme?

Early Evaluation Tips

As you design your concepts to restore vibrancy to cities, it’s important to consider how your concepts will be evaluated later in the challenge – by OpenIDEO, Steelcase and your fellow community members. Here are some early pointers on the kind of evaluation criteria we’ll be using:
  • How will the idea revitalise cities facing economic decline?
  • What kinds of resources – whether time, money, people, partnerships, technology or otherwise – will be needed to get the idea off the ground? (Think innovatively about funding sources – they might be bottom-up, top-down or side-to-side.)
  • How might the idea be scaled and replicated across multiple cities worldwide?
  • How quickly can the idea be implemented?
We’ve been bowled over by your enthusiasm, energy and efforts so far and we can’t wait to see what the Concepting phase brings. So with that – head over to Concepting, check out our Themes and  add your solutions to restore vibrancy to your local area and communities around the world.
And don’t forget that the Concepting phase is a perfect time to round up some friends and brainstorm! Check out our handy  Brainstorm in a Box toolkit to get started.