Forums/IDEO Make-a-thon

IDEO Make-a-thon Thanks & Recap!

Haiyan Zhang
posted this on February 20, 2012, 19:38

Thanks to everyone who attended the IDEO Make-a-thon this weekend!

Your enthusiasm, passion, creativity and skills helped make the prototype of this event spectacular and generated some truly original ideas.

We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

If you want to continue work on the 8 OpenIDEO open-source projects from the IDEO Make-a-thon, please use the project brief links below. Please add your relevant links / files / images / photos, or videos from your projects. If you would like to leave comments and feedback about the event, please leave comments on this post.

Over the next few weeks we will be documenting our learnings from the prototype IDEO Make-a-thon on OpenIDEO Field Notes and IDEO Labs. Keep an eye out!

The photos of the Make-a-thon are up! Check them out here...

In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of all the IDEO Make-a-thon teams and projects:

Village People

Brief: The Future of the Village Fête

Starting with the question ‘What is the urban fête?’ The Village People team created a new grassroots movement where London locals can plan and stage their own fête interventions. Prototypes included a fantastic brand, video testimonials from locals and a concrete ‘deaddrop’ where locals can share digital fête music.



Team: @brendandawes, @neilchurcher, Charlene Lam, Emilie Sheehan, Nazia Parvez, @robinhowie, Lawrence Willmott, Ivo Vos, Chris Grantham.


Team Xtreme

Brief: Boris Bikes for Tourists

Team Xtreme were tasked with improving the Boris Bike scheme for London visitors. They created a number of innovative prototypes including a receipt docket that gives you a sightseeing cycle route and a custom clip that can be used to mount cameras, maps, flowers to your Boris Bike.

Look out for the soon-to-be-released 3D product on!


Team: @basil, @james_croft, @falkowate, @ithinkihaveacat, @bedford2, @hadleybeeman, @jude.pullen


Karma Comedians

Brief: Postcode Gangs

The Karma Comedians team sought to bring locals together through a skills sharing interactive phone booth. They created a seamless experience prototype by joining up technologies such as Twillio, Skype and the iPad.

Check out the open source version of the code here:

Team: @andypiper, @dnw1710, Haley Stopford, @tburrellsaward, @vbrooksy, Steve O'Connor.



Brief: Cycle Safety 3.0

The Bikewell team looked at cycle safety on London streets and created a service to teach people about cycle safety as well as a series of smart bike lights that react to cars when they’re too close, or post messages to drivers in traffic.

Checkout the video of the working bike light prototype here:

Team: @roseofwinter, Josah Emsley, Larissa Seilern, @cactuslouise, Oliver Poyntz, @jeremy_ih 

Amnesty International

As part of the Make-a-thon, we also worked with 4 briefs for Amnesty in tackling unlawful detention.
Thanks to @amy_bonsall and @AmnestyInternational

Protect Yourself

Brief: Amnesty Advice Platform and Amnesty Action on Google

Protect Yourself created a live prototype of an Amnesty Checklist platform where activists, family and friends can seek advice about unlawful detention. The team worked with Amnesty subject matter experts to create the content for these checklists as well as building the platform to host them.

Take a look at the live prototype!

Team: @bengmorgan, @tezzutezzu, @sabrinatucci, @hisposyrian, @danieltownsend


Don’t Panic

The team built an alert app and platform for signaling at risk situations using Google Maps and HTML5 technologies. Accessible via mobile browsers by those at risk, individuals can hit the alert button to register when they’re in danger of being taken, sending their location and details. A group of volunteers monitor the platform and in turn alert the relevant organizations.

Check out the live panic button:
And the monitoring interface:



Team: Zaynab Leeya, @biancaUXD, Jill Irving



Brief: Amnesty Observer App

The team built an app to help people record and upload human rights violations. Using HTML5 and Phonegap, they were able to create a working app for the iPhone that allows users to record video or photos and upload details about the imagery to a secure server.

Team: @iliasbartolini, @gridinoc, Ralf Rebmann, @tristamsparks



A web service for determining if an `at risk` activist has gone offline and may need help. The service monitors a user’s social media usage and alerts those in their network if they haven’t registered any activity for a period of time. This is a subtle way of detecting when someone may be missing, without relying on the person to be proactive.

Team: @ideesabsurdes, @joelanman, @junkafarian



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Haiyan, thank *you* for all your hard work and vision in making the Make-a-Thon happen! Much thanks to the entire IDEO team for putting together such a welcoming, well-organized and well-received event. If you need an extra hand with documenting the event or planning for the next one, including researching potential sponsors, I'm happy to pitch in. 
I hope to develop some of the ideas from the Village Fête brainstorm (and the ideas that continue to come!) into events and interventions for Clerkenwell Design Week at the end of May. WIll post more on the brief page in the next couple of days!
February 21, 2012, 09:49
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Haiyan Zhang

Hi Charlene, Thanks for your kind words!

Keep us updated on your progress with the Village Fête ideas. We'd love to hear if anything gets implemented at Clerkenwell Design Week.

February 21, 2012, 15:13
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Louise Wilson

Thanks for the recap of all the challenges, Haiyan. There was so much going on during the Make-A-Thon that I'm enjoying having time to read back over each project and reflecting! Can we have an 'OpenIDEO' style page for each project for people to build/comment on?

February 22, 2012, 15:47
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Andy Piper

More detailed write-up for Karma Phone -

February 23, 2012, 21:57
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Ashley Jablow

Hi Louise, glad to hear that you're enjoying the recap! We're in the process of figuring out the best way to keep telling stories and updates now that the Make-a-thon has ended. We'll keep everyone posted – and we may even ask for community help too! Stay tuned, and thanks again for your enthusiasm and efforts at the event.

February 23, 2012, 22:03
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Nice write-up, Andy! I finally posted my recap of the make-a-thon and a bit on the future of the village fete brief:

Will add more links and resources to the brief page.

Do you know the folks at Good for Nothing? More smart people doing good things. They're having a social at The Artisan in Clerkenwell Wednesday night. Potential partners for future make-a-thons?

February 28, 2012, 00:39
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Owen Pringle

Meanwhile at Amnesty International... Lots and lots of internal presentations on the great work produced at the hackathon, this end. Much excitement within the organisation in terms of what is possible and which campaign we focus on, next. We've also appointed someone to help us take one or more of these prototypes to launch-ready status - more on that soon. In addition to internal developments, an increasing number of organisations outside of Amnesty have expressed a desire to get on board, which is fantastic news. We'll be meeting up with Thoughtworks, later today, to discuss how we can continue working alongside them and, funnily enough, also have a coffee lined up with Good For Nothing, as a result of a tip-off from someone at the Make-a-thon.

March 1, 2012, 14:31
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Meena Kadri

Great to hear, Owen! Looking forward to hearing next steps... good luck with onwards developments.

March 1, 2012, 14:53
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David Arnedo

As part of the community that came up with these ideas, I thank you so much for making such awesome prototypes!! It makes our work so much more rewarding!

April 17, 2012, 08:45
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Ana Cecilia Santos

Very inspiring to see that the community's hard work on the platform is valued and taken into consideration in one step further, as in this make-a-thon, congrats!

I am wondering as a passionate OpenIDEO'er, how can we participate in a make-a-thon like this one? Is it open to take part or strictly for the OpenIDEO + IDEO employees?

Would love to know as I'd be really excited in participating in a future make-a-thon and learn from all of you first hand!


April 17, 2012, 17:18
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Ashley Jablow

Hi Ana Cecilia, great questions! This first Make-a-thon was a very early prototype for us, one that we hope to refine and work on again in the future. With limited time and resources for planning this time around, we weren't able to involve the community as much as we would have liked. So stay tuned, and thanks again for your enthusiasm and interest. We'll keep everyone posted as plans for our next one take shape.

April 17, 2012, 17:35
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Ana Cecilia Santos

Thanks for answering so quickly Ashley!

That would be great, thanks - I would love to know more on your future plans for these events. Especially because I see this as an important parallel and complementary activity to participating on OpenIDEO online. 


April 17, 2012, 17:41
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Andrea Fineman

The Karma Comedians idea is such a neat one! It could really be helpful in cities that have a lot of population turnover--towns full of students and young professionals, like Boston for instance.

April 17, 2012, 23:13
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Wojciech Karcz

Hi everyone! My name is Wojtek and I'm from Warsaw, Poland. We are organizing a similar event to IDEO make-a-thon, but we called it a hackathon. It will take place on 21-22 April. Our main goal is to design ideal exhibit for Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw ( Of course, we will use design thinking tools as well. In this event three different groups take part: animators from Copernicus Science Centre, members of Hackerspace Warsaw, and members of Design Thinking Warsaw group. You can follow us on twitter #HackKopernik.



April 18, 2012, 14:43