A global community working together to design solutions for the world’s biggest challenges

IDEO wanted to share its innovation process to fuel solutions to pressing global social and environmental challenges. Building on their values of collaboration, inclusion and human-centredness – they created an open innovation platform that anyone could join from anywhere. The OpenIDEO community has tackled many issues from the need to enhance women’s safety in the developing world to restoring vibrancy in cities facing economic decline and establishing better recycling habits at home.


OpenIDEO has attracted over 100, 000 users from all over the planet. More than 6000 ideas have been collaboratively generated and 300 are currently under development – creating social impact in the real world. Close to a thousand teams of globally dispersed users have been formed and over 500 local meetup groups activated. Impact has included a panic button app to protect human rights, a range of pop events in New York which utilise unused storefronts, significantly boosting the US bone marrow register and much more. OpenIDEO has also partnered with Indiegogo to crowdfund promising ideas. Additionally, OpenIDEO has won numerous accolades, including a prestigious Webby award.


IDEO learnt that innovation emerges from the connections made between diverse participants. OpenIDEO provided a way for a university group in New York to connect with an NGO in Nepal to create impact on women’s safety. A 16 year old student connected with global professionals to devise a solution addressing youth unemployment. Health workers in Colombia used the ideas of people far away to address local health needs in innovative ways. They also learnt how to encourage local prototyping to test ideas with real communities. IDEO continues to build upon insights from OpenIDEO to increase social impact while also informing OI Engine’s consultancy on open innovation for other clients.

What's next?

In 2014, OpenIDEO was engaged by the British Department for International Development (DFID) for a series of 10 challenges to be run over 5 years which address social issues in the developing world. The implementation of promising ideas is being funded by DFID, with design support from OpenIDEO continues to run global challenges focused on social impact and is always interested in hearing from potential sponsors.

Community Innovation
5 years +
100,000 + change-makers

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