On OpenIDEO, our global community tackles a variety of big challenge topics, from improving maternal health using mobile technology, to providing accessible voting for citizens with mobility or language restrictions. Each challenge topic brings with it the chance to explore, learn about and design for social and environmental impact in a new and different way.
As I gear up to attend the 2012 Net Impact conference, I can’t help but connect the dots between our current OpenIDEO challenge and the 3,000 or so passionate, driven and connected MBAs and professionals who’ll be gathering in Baltimore, MD for this year’s event.
OpenIDEO’s Business Impact Challenge focuses on designing tools, resources, incentives and other solutions to help for-profit companies innovate for world benefit. At its core, this challenge centers around a topic that was (and still remains) very near to my own heart while I was in business school: doing good and doing well.
The sponsor for our challenge, the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at Case Western Reserve University, has set its sights on creating a Nobel-like prize to not only recognize current business innovations that have made our society and environment better, but also to spur and catalyze future innovations that drive our world forward. Their intention for this OpenIDEO challenge is to collect inspirations and ideas from around the world that they can incorporate into their own effort toward a vision they call “Business as an Agent of World Benefit.”
Our challenge has opened its Concepting phase, where everyone is invited to collaboratively design ideas to inspire, recognize and enable businesses to innovate with world benefit in mind.
For many of the folks attending Net Impact (or following along at #ni12), this concept – business innovating for world benefit – is already integral to your thinking, approach and outlook at school or at work.
So from your own experience, what do you need to help you do this work better? How could you collaborate with the OpenIDEO community to design concepts that enable your organization to develop these kinds of world changing innovations? To help guide everyone’s efforts in the Concepting, we’ve put together a few tools – Challenge Themes and a Brainstorm in a Box toolkit.
If ever there were a conversation meant specifically for Net Impacters, this is it.
At conferences, it can be so easy to keep the conversation up in the clouds, to speak in what if’s and theories, rather than in the practical and the tangible. This week, why not balance out the theories with some real-world designing? Join our Business Impact Challenge and create concepts to support each of us as we move the needle toward businesses that innovate not just for financial return, but to change the world for the better.
See you on OpenIDEO!
And PS - this Saturday I'm speaking on a panel at the Net Impact conference about breaking into the impact sector and finding a job with purpose. I hope to see you there!