The last few years has seen quite a few companies build idea generation platforms. Some have gone the semi-open route, retaining a network of participant who will contribute to mostly private challenges. Others have gone radically open, Victor & Spoils and 99 Designs post the actual client briefs calling for entrants to do the work, rewarding a few with the winning ideas. There are some brave experiments going on in this space; itâ€™s a brave new world and no one really knows whatâ€™s going to happen here.
Today, IDEO threw itâ€™s hat in ring today launching OpenIDEO. Iâ€™m biased, but I think theyâ€™ve designed a new evolution for this space. Many sites serve as a platform to capture ideas, but most havenâ€™t truly involved â€˜the crowdâ€™ in the process past â€œhey give me your ideaâ€. OpenIDEO creates Challenges that are designed to lead the community through the design process. Participants contribute inspiration, then generate concepts, and finally help select the best idea in the end. The idea is that everyone can participate as the process diverges and converges toward the final selected solution.
Iâ€™m really inspired by the site because it realizes a very important point: ideas arenâ€™t scarce. Now itâ€™s not about gathering tons of those ideas just to collect them, itâ€™s about creating a framework where ideas can inspire each other. I think the smart cookies behind OpenIDEO have nailed this in the site design. The experience basically creates like the largest, most unorthodox design team in the world thinking, submitting, and churning on some really big problems. I have no idea how the site will play out and thatâ€™s exactly why I think the site is so important. Itâ€™s a big fat social experiment thatâ€™s daring, inspired and super smart.
Ok, donâ€™t take my word for it, join in the fun here. Thereâ€™s two hot challenges up at the moment; one hopes to help Jamie Oliver in his effort to help children improve their diet, the other is aimed at fostering educational tools for the developing world.