Cardboard chair from Flickr user BeastFace (Nick Michelin)

Cartoneros is my social business concept for an openIDEO challenge to improve health in low-income communities. Put simply, it involves taking discarded cardboard and manufacturing low-cost, but high-design furniture from it. This recycled, recyclable furniture can then be sold to domestic and international customers. The concept is not a health solution itself, but it does provide for a healthy working environment that generates income that can be used for healthcare.  And, of course, there is the added benefit of cleaning up cardboard refuse. I hope that this idea would spur new thinking in the community about recycling possibilities that would maximize the use of locally available and often overlooked resources.

OpenIDEO is a community of creative, compassionate people who take on challenges like “How might we increase the number of registered bone marrow donors to help save more lives?” and “How might we improve maternal health with mobile technologies for low-income countries?” in partnership with NGOs. The members of the openIDEO community then collaborate to produce fresh approaches to the challenge, first by sharing inspiration from related ideas, then coming up with concepts, a few of which go on to an evaluation round and then a selection round with the input of the partner organizations. All the while the community is sharing ideas, commenting on one another’s concepts and combining their ideas into remarkable concepts that are actually realized.

As they put it:

OpenIDEO is a place where people design better, together for social good. It’s an online platform for creative thinkers: the veteran designer and the new guy who just signed on, the critic and the MBA, the active participant and the curious lurker. Together, this makes up the creative guts of OpenIDEO.