A DQ high flyer who's been active on OpenIDEO since day one, Vincent Cheng has continued to command our attention with his enthusiasm and collaborative approach. So much so that we recently gave him a job – inviting him to join the OpenIDEO Team – and taking the number of people hired by IDEO via their participation on OpenIDEO to five switched-on folks to date! Armed with university training in Organisational Behavior & Management, Vincent has worked in social enterprise, nonprofit advisory, corporate social responsibility, strategic consulting and brand management with a strong focus on creativity, community and positive impact. He's a global citizen, having moved frequently throughout his life – more recently including Shanghai, New York and now, California.
What first drew you to get involved in OpenIDEO?
I heard about it from an acquaintance at Harvard Business School, who had worked at IDEO and knew I was passionate about innovation for social impact. At first I was a bit hesitant to participate, as I don't have a traditional design background. But as I dipped my toe in the water, what really drew me further into OpenIDEO was the diversity & collaboration of the community. You have so many different types of people from all over the world with an impressive range of expertise & experiences. And, we're able to work together, learn from each other, & build on everyone's perspectives to create social impact ideas that are way beyond what we could come up with individually.
And how's the ride been so far?
Inspirational! These days, I've been really inspired by how the great ideas created and surfaced on OpenIDEO are translating into action & impact by challenge sponsors, IDEO & community members. From a 100-household toilet pilot in Ghana with plans to significantly scale, to 100,000+ people added to the US bone marrow registry, to the development of innovative enterprises to reclaim unused space – with this kind of momentum, I'm excited about our future and delighted that we can play a part in creating it together!
Can you share some socially innovative projects you've been involved with?
I've been fortunate to work on a variety of social impact projects including helping a hospital network develop new satellite locations & models to reach underserved populations, persuading National Public Radio programs to expand into online streaming, designing educational software for kids to visualise and explore scientific concepts and evolving the mission & program design of a violence prevention nonprofit to increase effectiveness through stronger partnerships.
What skills do you bring to the OpenIDEO Team?
Now that I've had a chance to peek behind the curtain, I'm astounded by how much deep thought & work goes into supporting the community, running challenges for successful outcomes and continuing to improve OpenIDEO. The OpenIDEO Team is such a talented, agile and passionate group – I feel fortunate to be joining them. I'm really excited to draw upon my experience and focus my efforts on catalysing even more positive impact – particularly around further enabling & empowering our community, challenge partners and others to take action on promising ideas.
Can you share with us initial insights from your first couple of weeks at IDEO? Since arriving at IDEO a short time back it's been intense, inspiring and highly active. With a mixture of the non-conventional and conventional, so far it's entailed brainstorming, post-its, strategising, exercise class participant observation, beat poetry manifestos and homemade soup. Yes – IDEOers are crazy creative!
Cheers Vincent. We hope to enjoy more of your collaborative action in future!