Ideator is all about community, and community is all about the individuals who make it work. If you’re looking to understand the power this platform has to bring out the best in people, look no further than Bodo Hoenen, founder of Dev4X. His future-forward education startup is just the kind of disruptive project Ideator encourages its innovators to pursue: a game-changer founded on a truly progressive idea.Ideator Profile: Bodo Hoenen
“Dev4X, much like Ideator, is harnessing the power of community, we are democratizing education just like you are democratizing entrepreneurship.” Hoenen said.
What’s the Problem?
Dev4X begins with the recognition of two simple facts: first, that education can mean all the difference for a community’s ability to grow into something better; and second, that millions of children around the world – especially in areas of severe poverty or active conflict – are outside the reach of even the most fundamental education programs. The dark irony is that these are precisely the places that need it the most. For ailing communities to overcome the deep challenges they’re facing, they’re going to need a new generation of leaders who understand how to move forward.
“It was founded as a passion project, one that focuses on an audacious goal that is orders of magnitude bigger than others are thinking about,” Hoenen said. “When you start thinking about problems that way, you force yourself to think of radically innovative solutions as opposed to solutions that simply provide an optimization on current methods.”
Although there are a number of organizations seeking to improve educational opportunities in disadvantaged areas, the process is slow-moving, and even the most optimistic forecasts leave generations of children in the dust. As a father and as an educator, Hoenen challenged himself to find a better way.
What’s the Big Idea?
Hoenen approached the problem from a radically new angle. What if instead of laboriously trying to bring decades-old education tools like highly trained teachers and expensive classroom materials to remote areas, they instead applied new technologies to empower communities to lead the charge themselves? Instead of textbooks and chalk, why not smartphones and apps?
Dev4X has committed itself to developing the kind of practical hardware and software people can use to mainline the information they need, instead of relying on barely adequate osmosis. That means hardy, low-cost, solar-powered tablet computers children can use to explore engaging materials that matter to them – on their own terms. It’s a self-guided approach that nonetheless provides an overarching through line. Children can ask questions and get answers from the automated assistant, skip ahead to the parts that interest them most, and collaborate with their peers through social media channels. It gives them agency over their own education through an exciting, literally hands-on approach.
Where Is It Headed?
With a constantly evolving platform that’s striving to meet the needs of the children it’s seeking to help, Hoenen’s program is blossoming into a real force in community development. Hoenen credits Dev4X’s success to a new way of thinking: the progressive spirit of innovation platforms like Ideator are helping to shape.
“The interesting thing here,” says Hoenen, “is that in many cases, building a solution that provides a 10X improvement often requires the same amount of effort as a solution that provides a 10% improvement. That’s been my favorite part of founding Dev4X: we are taking on a wildly audacious goal, bucking the trend, and making the world a better place – together.”
‘Dev4X: Our Approach’
‘Bodo Hoenen: Interview’