Early Childhood Innovation

We are talking about the methods that are used during the workshops, our experience and challenge outputs.

Berkay Alkışel
Sep 2, 2018 · 11 min read

What is OpenIDEO?
OpenIDEO is an international community aimed at promoting Human Centered Design methods, where design projects are carried out to create social impact and awareness. OpenIDEO believes that the best solutions will emerge with working together in collaboration.

OpenIDEO Istanbul Chapter
OpenIDEO Istanbul Chapter was first established by Nazli Ceren Binyildirim in 2016. The Chapter’s first challenge was “Creating healthier living spaces in Istanbul”. In 2017 the second challenge of the organization was ‘Food Waste’ with mentors Gorkem Cetinkaya, Berkan Sahan, Korhan Eser. In 2018, we organized three different meetups for the challenge “Early Childhood Innovation”.

Early Childhood
The early childhood period includes the 0–6 age group. This period is the most critical period in the development of the children when they are most intense in learning, their cultural norms are developed and basic habits are acquired

Through the rapid development of the brain at an early age, the basis for learning skills and behavior of a person is laid. The cognitive abilities as well as the social, emotional and physical development of the child develop in this period.

I. Frame the Challenge

7 April 2018, @ Kadikoy TAK

We started our presentation with OpenIDEO and it is purpose to the participants. We talked about social innovation, human centered design and design thinking and discussed previous events and challenges that were held by OpenIDEO Istanbul Chapter.

As an icebreaker event, we asked the participants to wander around the room listening to the sounds we gave them from different spaces related to the childhood period and talk with each other about the things they are reminded of.

“Imagine you are a child in a children’s park. Talk to your friend about the problems that you may face in the future. What do you think may or may not happen, what would help you to succeed in living a better childhood? “

Themes and Forming Groups

After handing out post-its and pens to participants, we asked them to write what they know or experienced about early childhood. Later, we asked them to group their post-its under the 5 topics we had created related to Early Childhood Period.

After sorting out the post-its, we asked them to read each theme and select the one they feel more close. This way, the groups were formed.

Utopia / Dystopia

We continued with the method of mind mapping that we created by combining different methods.

Each group started by sorting and adding the post-its that are related to the Current State under their topic. In the next step, we asked them to fill the possible Utopia and Dystopia scenarios. We called this step “envisioning the the best and worst scenarios”. In the end, we asked them to create a path for the process. This way, although there is no connection with each other, scenarios of each group’s theme were formed.

Each group presented their own scenarios in order to make all the participants aware of each other’s process and to gain a perspective on the cause-and-effect relationships of different themes. After the group presentations, we had a lunch break.

During the break, as the OpenIDEO team, we walked and read all the scenarios that were created by the teams and selected one scenario for each team to develop further. The reason for doing this was to lead teams to develop a result-oriented scenario within a limited time frame.

Creative Concepts

In the second part of the event, we asked the groups to form 3 concepts by grouping their scenarios of Current State, Utopia and Dystopia, and to present them with a simple visual drawing. The goal was to gain different perspectives on the imaginary context while remaining bound to a single scenario item.

Example: From the concepts of dystopia, the concept of “the children that do not know how to play ball” were examined how this situation can turn into a dystopia, what is the present situation, and how might it get better and the best possible situation, the utopia.

As a result, each group ended up with 9 scenarios. Seeing those scenarios helped the teams to understand better their themes. Without having the urge to create concrete ideas, or thinking about the doability, they created scenarios that are focused mainly on solution and social benefits.

Fishbone Diagram and 5 Whys

In the final step of our event, the groups were asked to form a one sentence statement for each of their 3 concepts.

They continued with the Fishbone Diagram method, to define their problems and possible solutions. After completing the fish bone diagrams, they starting asking “Why?” 5 times for each of their solution statements to reach the core of their problem. The statements that were not possible to ask 5 whys were accepted either as solutions that are harder to solve or secondary issues to solve. If a statement can answer a lot of “Why?” Questions, then there are a lot of solutions that are waiting to be solved.

After eliminating and finalising their statements. Each group were asked to define their problem with only one final statement. The outputs of the events were important as they would be the starting points in the following event.

Each team presented their final phase and we got their feedback about the event. After the presentations, the teams took notes of the research subjects, the necessary people and institutions to get it contact with that are required for their projects until the next event. We ended the event by taking a group photo.

II. Shaping the Ideas

5 May 2018, @ Studio-X Istanbul

In order to inform the new participants, we talked briefly about OpenIDEO and what we have done in our previous event.

Mentor Talks

After presenting the speakers that would speak on the related topics about Early Childhood, Neslihan Ozturk from Bernard van Leer Foundation started her presentation. Neslihan shared information about Istanbul95 project and the researches that the foundation has been doing with children between ages 0 to 6 and their families.

Later, Clinical Psychology Specialist Seyma Cetin talked about child development and parents’ relationship with their children. The speech turned into an interactive conversation with the contribution of participants, allowing us to reveal useful details.

As an icebreaker exercise, we asked everyone to draw one of their secrets on paper and share it with other participants. After warming up, group members told their researches and findings to each other. This way, the new participants chose the groups that they want to join in.

Ecosystem Mapping

Groups started thinking by defining the surrounding actors in children’s life. They analyzed and mapped all the people, organizations and places that they interact with. After mapping the ecosystem, they chose the space and people that they want to focus on.

Persona Cards

Each team were asked to create persona cards taking into consideration the previous practice they have done in determining the ecosystem. With these persona cards, the target group were identified more clearly with their personal details.

Ex. Ayse Zilbudar, 42 years old, married, has 1 child, works in a bank, control freak, loves chocolate.

Empathy Map

Among the persona cards that each team has created, they were asked to choose the one that defines the best the problem they want to focus on. To form the empathy map, they put the selected persona in the center to define better what they think, how they feel and so on.

User Journey Map

With the pain points that were defined after creating empathy maps, we continued with our ideation method. By asking “How might we turn these pain points into opportunities?”, teams started ideating different solutions. After selecting the one they want to continue with, they started mapping the user journey.

The purpose of creating a user journey map, was to understand each action better during the process and to see if there are other ways to improve the journey.

In the end, the project areas and necessities of each team were identified. They were asked to make necessary researches and preparations in order to make the next step of prototyping more fun and efficient. After the event, we also sent them several links and research topics that could help their process.

III. Let’s MVP

2 June 2018, @ Kadikoy TAK

After the opening presentation, we talked about what we have done in the previous events. Teams explained about the process and progress to the new participants. In the end, due to the changing interest of team members and new participants, it was decided to continue to the event with 2 topics which were Technology and Society. We started the workshop after an ice breaker exercise.

Round Robin

We started the workshop with Round Robin exercise. In this exercise, each person were distributed a paper with 4 different sections, which they had to answer and pass on to another teammate in certain amount of time. First section in the paper was the definition of the problem, second was solution proposal, third box was criticizing of the solution proposal and the fourth box was the possible outcome.

Team members filled the boxes taking into consideration the user journey map that was prepared in the previous event. This way, the teams came up with different solution proposals.


In order to create a storyboard, teams selected the best solution proposal that they would like to go on with. By creating storyboards, they turned the written material into something more visible and tangible.

Business Model Canvas

Teams were asked to create a business model canvas to identify the sources, risks, stakeholders and necessary partners.

Complexity & Effort Diagram

The teams were asked to define 4 different solutions to prototype their ideas. After this, they were given 2 different stickers. One of them was representing the complexity of the solution and the other was representing the effort to realize it.

Each team member voted the 4 solutions of their team on the diagram they drew. This helped them determine the idea that they were going to prototype.

Society team decided on prototyping “Story design with VR Experience” while the Technology team determined “Digital Game Design in Physical Spaces”.


Teams created their first wireframes depending on the steps they determined on their storyboards.

Rapid Prototyping

They prototyped those wireframes with the most easiest and effortless ways with the materials they wanted.

Role Playing

Participants acted out their prototypes with role playing method to present their ideas.


Technology project; is a new generation educational game that positions the technology in an interactive and instructive manner, redefines the relationships of children aged between 3–6 make with open spaces, and the process of spending time with their parents.

Society project; is a simulated game aimed at adults to remind their childhood experiences they have forgotten, how children see and feel the world, allowing them to experience empathy with real-world interactions (mix-reality).

OpenIDEO Istanbul Chapter — What is Next?

What do you think about circular design? Are you interested in taking steps toward a better environment? Do you compost your own waste? Do you realize that we can do much more by thinking and acting together to solve environmental problems that affect our society?

Circular Design for Starbucks and Mc Donald’s!

OpenIDEO is organizing a Cup Challenge which will be held globally in collaboration with Starbucks and Mc Donald’s. As OpenIDEO Istanbul Chapter, we are interested in gathering designers, organizations and other people who are related in circular design to create amazing solutions for this challenge. You can register to this event that will start on September from here.

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