ikedoo institute

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ikedoo institute: Open innovation applied to experiential learning.

Bucharest, RumaniaBucharest, Rumania
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

IKEDOO is a research institute which innovates in the field of educational programs for children. We truly believe that abstract concepts can be easily accumulated and assimilated if the user is exposed to a relevant experience. We offer children an educational solution based on experimentation.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

learning was playing
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Kids aged 3 to 6 need to develop their cognitive and motor skills. Kids aged 6 to 12 are constantly challenged to perform in school and develop the skills needed to adapt to real life: critical thinking, collaboration, social skills, etc. Underprivileged children are lacking options to pursue their dreams and aspirations and are drown away from education and/ or vocational education because they think "it doesn't pay up"

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

- design awesome courses using large scale materials to develop motor skills and various challenges and experiments to enhance cognitive skills. - build a full range of awesome courses from Hands-on Geometry which teaches math using real life problems and practical exercises to summer activities where kids build a real house using DIY skills. - build a mobile laboratory Digital Outside / Analog Inside which aims to ignite children towards a tinkering culture and develop specific production skills followed by creation of a network of small production workshops where they can continue to produce and develop a healthy behavior after that ignition phase.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Mara is 9 years old. She studies in a public school and she is now in third grade. She had problems with her colleagues because she didn't know how to act inside a team. Mara always wanted to be the leader. She also had difficulties communicating with her teachers and parents. She was too stubborn to accept rules. After attending all the Ikedoo courses during 1 year, she managed to bypass these problems and more. She worked on her social skills; she played educational games and learned about rules and intrinsic rewards learning offers. Also Mara discovered things she can do she never believed she could, like building a real house. Now she is more courageous and has a better understanding about the world around her.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

NUMBERS: - 3 years of developing and validating of our social business concept; - Over 200 hours of unique educational content and 400+ different educational materials produced; - 1700+ paying customers with 0 promotion actions; - 500+ children participating in our pro-bono activities; - activities can range up to 6 hours; - more than 5000 hours spent with kids in our activities; - more than 1000 hours spent with kids in DIY activities; - 300 sqm activities center and design offices; - our own production workshop. Parents came and thanked us for the changes they saw in their kids – better communication, courage to act, to express their ideas, tell their story and listen to others and even solving psychological problems.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In the future, we plan to expand our educational solution in other communities from Romania and abroad. Ikedoo Mobile will bring starter kits to the schools to establish new Ikedoo centers that can continue to carry on both paid and free activities. We see the project in 3 phases: 1 Ikedoo Mobile - learning caravan to ignite children towards tinkering aimed at 7-14 yrs old 2 mini production workshops to develop real production and entrepreneurial skills aimed at 7-14 years old 3 dual vocational schools to target employability aimed at 14-18 years old

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Ikedoo is already self sustaining from parents, schools and kindergartens which pay for our courses and other products. The Ikedoo Mobile project is currently financed by Erste Foundation Austria to build the bus (mobile lab). To continue the project we plan to raise money from sponsors directly interested in employability and vocational education. A whole portfolio of commercial courses and events have been designed to bring revenue.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We design courses and transform old disciplines using the experiential method. We address these courses to high income parents which have a deep concern about their children’s education. We keep expanding our knowledge about children's learning, motivators, psychology, behavior and we use it to create products in adjacent industries. Applications into various markets: courses for schools and kindergartens, mobile vocational school, playgrounds and loyalty programs for large retails spaces, educational materials, adult learning products like training and team buildings and more.

Founding Story

Early 2011 we designed a kit of a house to be used as learning material. We successfully tested 2 hypotheses: children aged 6-10 can stay focused on the same subject up to 6 hours if the topic under study is delivered in a fun, action based way and using material with embedded information; abstract information can be easily memorized if acquired during an emotional experience. After this we thought to use open innovation to see how we can apply the knowledge we acquire across various markets.


Ikedoo is a multidisciplinary team formed from entrepreneurs, architects, psychologists, engineers, marketers, pedagogues: 5 founders, 4 full-time, 17 part-time, 1 CEO, 6 people in R&D, 4 people in Sales&CC, 10 people in Educational and Implementation Department Every project we start has his own team: 1 project manager, 1 member of R&D, 1 member of Sales&Customer Care, 1 member of the Educational and Implementation department
About You
About You
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About Your Project
Organization Name


How long has your organization been operating?

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Organization Country

, Bucharest

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Bucharest

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, Businesses, Customers.


- Nomination - Anual Architecture Awards, Bucharest, Romania, July 2013 - for best educational approach in architecture
- I Prize - Grow Talents, Bucharest, Romania, December 2013 - for Best Creative Start-up in Romania

Primary Target Age Group

3 - 5, 6 - 12, 13 - 17.

Your role in Education


Please specify which of the following best applies:


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free), Private (tuition-based), Home-School, Other.

Intervention Focus

Extracurricular, Professional Development, Products or Services.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Whole child development is undervalued: Essential parts of development get left behind as children get older, such as healthy habits, executive function, and social and emotional learning.


information about the international market of experiential education from different perspectives: maker, user, client


bridging the gap between computer/online learning and practical learning

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

- engagement in the learning process
- real-life problem solving
- understanding the role of education
- improving social skills
- teaching them how to teach themselves
We are constantly improving our way of mixing fun &hands-on experiences to convey abstract information in a way that naturally fits children’s learning instinct in parallel with developing a total solution for vocational education.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

a)building real houses, operating electric tools, designing and manufacturing toys from wood and metal etc.; b)our own center of activities, private and underprivileged schools and kindergartens, exterior public and private places, companies headquarters and other; c)daily; d)2-8 hours; e)Ikedoo Trainers

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

An important part of our inspiration is in the activities kids do in our workshops. We encourage them to express themselves in what they want to do, what they think, how they play. We change our way of doing things according to their needs and desires. We get a lot of ideas from our sessions of co-creation with them. Involving kids in creating their own learning tools is something to explore. We believe in experiential learning and all its implications.We think that Virtual learning is not the only solution. They need to play and learn in real life in order to develop a complete set of skills.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

Playing is the fundamental mechanism of learning. We find this behavior in all the species on the Earth. We build most of our activities as games, with codes that children follow, change, interfere with. We alternate free play with structured play in order to follow a system of objectives, but also to give them the freedom to explore.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

- center of activities- paying customers : 50 %
- external activities - paying customers: 25%
- ERSTE- grant: 8%
- sponsors: 7%
- own funds: 9%
- competitions: 1%

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

This year we have started a new project, Ikedoo Mobile, for underpriviledged communities. This project started with a grant from ERSTE Foundation and other sponsors and it will become in phase 2 self-sustained by mixing income from sponsor, paying customers to sustain non-paying activities.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

improve our facilities in terms of man power and tools. Every week we have new projects and ideas we want to do and our resources are no longer enough.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

MARKS-Trout & Partners - We have worked together on the gamefication processes in our courses, for kids and their parents; we developed together the starting strategies and positioning on the market; we developed together concepts for some of our programs
ERSTE Foundation - Funds and help in promoting our project, Ikedoo Mobile
BOSCH- facilitated access to equipment for our workshop and for our courses
PARENTIME- parenting organization

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

We have received a lot of feedback from many interesting people. We are now in discussions with some of them, but we haven't yet started a collaboration.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

Our goal is to create as many research centers as possible all over the world. We believe that a constant improvement and exploration of new ideas in education is mandatory for an ever changing world. New technologies, new professions and jobs appear every year and children need to be prepared for these changes. A rigid educational system is no longer a solution for the future. An innovative, flexible system is needed and we intend to create it.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

More and more people from Romania and other countries know about Ikedoo and ask for centers in their own regions. key metrics:
- Short term: new kids – 50- 100 a month; returning kids- 90%, school/kindergartens demands- 8 this year
- medium term: the need to open new centers; kids results in school comparing to the average- 1 year
- long term: school and professional success of kids attending Ikedoo courses, demand on Ikedoo Schools-5-10 years

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

1,001 to 10,000

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?


Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:


Number of Volunteers:

Fewer than 10

APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Physical Play, Play with Objects, Symbolic Play, Games with Rules, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.



Alexandr Iscenco's picture

Best wishes with your awesome initiative, Team ikedoo!

The descriptions of your project seem to touch on all the right elements when it comes to the needs children have for healthy learning and development. I encourage you to view the "Computer Clubhouse" model to get a sense of a tangible working example of a similar environment, with perhaps slightly more concrete goals and design.

Jim Salmons's picture

Hello Adina, Vlad, and Ion,

Noor's comment above is a good one. Although I think the distinction and challenge you folks have is that creative play in a "made space" is not so "curricular" as programming around something specific like computers, coding, etc. Anyway, they do have a good, established model.

But that's not why I'm dropping you this comment. I'm Jim Salmons (of FactMiners.org) and my partner/soulmate Timlynn Babitsky (of The Softalk Apple Project). We actually participate equally in both projects, but have entered them one each under our Changemakers' user accounts.

Rather, Timlynn and I agree that IKEDOO and you folks seem to be very much Kindred Spirits to what we are up to for our Pacesetters Round "action agenda"... that is, we're doing a self-help experiment in "bundled crowdfunding" on Kickstarter in September.

We're doing this as an self-organizing collaboration of #Play2Learn Pacesetters and you can find out more about it at www.DIYPlanetWalk.com.

Participation requirements are modest with each Partner project having the potential to achieve non-trivial funding if we are successful at generating a "network effect" with our collective, compelling stories.

We'll send each of you a private copy of this message, including an email address where you can contact us directly.

We love the multi-discipline approach that you are taking. It add a definite challenge of "herding cats" to get the mix to work. But it will be worth it... and we can see where doing an occasional #DIYPlanetWalk social play event would fit right in with what you do.

Happy-Healthy Vibes from Cedar Rapids, Iowa USA,
--Jim & Timlynn--