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When I was an OpenIDEO Community Prototyper…

5 take-aways from the volunteer experience & why you should try it too

It was a late Thursday night. Now and then, there would be a roar in the background as France and Peru were head to head in an intense football knockout. Amongst all this, I was in my pyjamas with a meal in a bowl, intently staring at my screen at seven Nike Grind experts talking to us straight from their headquarters. On their wall in the back was a conspicuously hanging banner that said ‘Recycle your shoe, please.’

There were around forty-five of us on the video call: a community of innovative people in the last leg of their Nike Grind Challenge, the amazing OpenIDEO crew and a handful of excited Community Prototypers, one of them being me. Excited by the challenge we were all there with this desire to collaborate and take some shoe waste off the surface of the earth.

The Community Prototypers(CP) is a global volunteer cohort who leverage their design thinking expertise to support OpenIDEO Challenge teams in taking their ideas to action. I dived into the challenge to support teams with my product design expertise but I came out having learnt so much more than I could offer, and still hungry for more.
Here are my five take-aways from the experience.

Becoming a ‘mutant’

A Community Prototyper doesn’t have a fixed role. She is like a ‘mutant’ who walks into a team and just fills in the gaps.

Sketching cuts across languages

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Sketching out the cohort as we talk about our interests.

Tricks for remote-bonding

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Posing with props at the end of our weekly calls.

You can always make time

Back to school

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Little nuggets that we left with from the experience.

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Let me know if you sign up for one of these challenges!
Would love to know your experience.

P.S. On a call towards the end of the challenge, Lauren asked me to reflect on How did we coordinate as a team and work remotely. That’s when these words started coming together. Thanks Lauren Ito, my remote-Insta friend, my team Convignton, Tammy & Mark, the amazing CP cohort and OpenIDEO for a remarkable experience.

Written by

a product designer occassionally found doodling conversations and stories. Scrambling here for words…

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