OpenIDEO Challenge

Elizabeth Duffy

For the past five years, Lawrenceville School Head Master Liz Duffy has co-taught a course each year on design thinking, called “Design for Social Impact.” This summer as she was preparing for the course, she learned of OpenIDEO, an online forum that poses design challenges for people around the world to solve collaboratively. “I originally read about the site when I was doing background reading for our class,” said Duffy. “I started participating so that I could learn new tools for our class. I never imagined that I would be one of the challenge winners.”

But win she did. A few weeks ago, Head Master Duffy was named one of seven winners of the youth employment design challenge co-sponsored by OpenIDEO and the Clinton Global Initiative. In answer to the challenge “How might we build better employment opportunities and pathways for young people around the world?” Duffy proposed the Millennial TechCorps. Modeled after Americorps, her initiative would place young adults in one-year paid internships with non-profit organizations in need of technical expertise. “Millennials are both tech savvy and purpose driven. Many nonprofits need help with social media, Web 2.0 tools, basic programming and other technology initiatives. It seemed like a natural match,” explained Duffy.

Duffy’s idea was celebrated at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City on Sept. 23, and she is hopeful that her idea will be piloted by a youth employment organization in the future.

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