Open IDEO launches international aid challenges

IDEO’s benevolent open innovation platform Open IDEO has teamed up with the Department for International Development to set up the Amplify programme, which is aiming to transform international aid through collaboration and human-centred design.

Still from Open IDEO video
Still from Open IDEO video

The Amplify programme plans to meet ten global challenges over five years starting with the launch project, ‘How might we make low-income urban areas safer and more empowering for women and girls?’

Speaking to Design Week from Design Indaba, IDEO creative director Tom Hulme says, ‘They’ll all be challenges for good, and we’re still at the ideas phase, but teams will coalesce around solutions, and then we’ll look to implement stuff, which could be a product, a brand, or a service, or it could be shining a light on existing solutions.’

The brief highlights dangers posed in low-income urban communities as ‘gender-based violence, social isolation or a lack of basic social services.’ Hulme is hoping to find a solution that will be ‘delivered in a low friction way,’ he says.  

Open IDEO is encouraging designers to think about leveraging population density so it can become an advantage, making the best use of connection points like schools bus stops and market places, getting boys and men engaged with solutions, and using existing infrastructure to enhance safety and security.

The challenge has been launched online at, which Hulme says currently networks 58,000 people. It has begun with a research stage, which will give way to an ideas stage – proposing possible solutions – before the Open IDEO community shortlists ideas by voting on its favourite scheme.

A refinement stage will see ideas strengthened by the open design community prior to an evaluation stage that looks at variables including viability and potential for impact.

In May there will be a final shortlisting phase and in July Amplify will provide design support and funding to selected ideas.    

The Open IDEO platform is described as a ‘collaboration’, and IDEO says all ideas generated are ‘shareable, remix-able and reusable’.

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