More than 58,000 people worldwide have got involved in openIDEO since the innovation platform was launched in 2010 to help the public apply design to bring about social good.
Now a Seoul chapter has been set up to allow people here to get involved.
Group organizer Siannie Dita Putri, who goes by the Internet handle Cyan, has been involved in projects with the Seoul Global Center and Seoul International Students’ Forum, and was a member of online platform openIDEO.com. This is her first offline openIDEO project.
“There are communities such as volunteering or cultural exchanges to tackle some social issues in Korea, but I thought that there could be a different approach to generate solutions and give good impact to the community,” she said.
“But there wasn’t such a community yet. Design thinking might sound unfamiliar, kind of exclusive to those who work in design.”
But after Tim Brown of British design company IDEO came to Herald Design Forum to give a talk on openIDEO, Cyan found other people there who were interested in the concept, which involves using design approaches to solve social problems.
“The number of attendees from design and non-design backgrounds showed a huge interest in design thinking as a new problem-solving approach,” she said.
After meeting other like-minded people at the forum, she set up the collaboration group with regular meetings in the Hongdae area.
She said the global openIDEO groups had come up with various challenges and solutions, such as a traveling science lab to increase the availability of education in developing countries, or an “(un)internship library,” which is an online library that shows video clips of jobs being done to give young people more information about employment options.
“We are looking at a broad range of issues, from school bullying and better public facilities for the disabled to trivial things like how we could reduce food waste such as banchan (Korean side dishes),” she said.
“At the moment, we have people with design, engineering, psychology and business backgrounds. No design skills or experience are needed. We welcome everyone regardless their nationality or background,” she said.
“Any individual, profit or nonprofit groups who want to create a good impact on society is welcome to collaborate. To quote Hellen Keller, ‘Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.’”
The group is free to join via www.meetup.com/openideoseoul and weekly meetings are held in Hongdae every Sunday.
By Paul Kerry (firstname.lastname@example.org)