Open IDEO maternal health challenge – Inspired to innovate

Last week I met with the cool people at OpenIDEO and Nokia. We were preparing for stage 2 of our online collaborative challenge, "How might we improve maternal health with mobile technologies for low-income countries?" Click here to get involved with this vibrant global community.

I’m new to IDEO but I’m excited about the possibilities that this type of collaboration offers. Already I’ve been really impressed with the community, which is 9,000 strong and has people from over 100 countries around the world. As well as being open, creative and supportive of each other’s ideas, in just 2 weeks they posted 285 'inspirations'.

The inspirations are really varied but a couple of my favourites are 'Text4Baby' - a really simple way of passing on info to pregnant women and mothers - and 'Communication boards'. Both of these are very simple and have the potential to have a big impact.

The task at hand on Friday was to group the ideas around major themes. This was to help focus minds as we being the second phase, 'the concept phase'. It was great fun looking at the range of ideas that the community had highlighted and we had some good discussion. Our aim was to encourage creativity but make sure that we get some final ideas that will help to change lives around the world.

The six themes are:


  • Mum-2-Mum
  • Local Healthcare
  • Dad Outreach
  • Lifelines Knowledge
  • Hubs & Education
  • Personal Tracking & Diagnostics

I’ll let Haiyan from IDEO explain more about the themes:

"Themes are thought-starters to brainstorming. We use themes in our design work to identify areas where innovation can happen and conduct brainstorms around these." Read her full blog.

Visit the Concepting phase to read about the six themes in detail. Each one also comes with a few provocative questions to get your creative juices flowing. As the next stage begins, head over and share your concepts. As the digital brainstorm develops, who knows where your idea will end up.

Read more about the OpenIDEO challenge. You never know, in a few months time you might see it turned into a reality.

Share this page: