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OpenIDEO Chapters — Pre-Application Resource


We’re exploring how creative problem solvers can use design to create more positive impact in their local communities.


We are a network of creative communities in cities across the globe using design to act on social challenges.


1. We connect the creative community together in a city by rallying around a social challenge on the OpenIDEO platform.

2. We take action using human-centered design by conducting research field trips, brainstorming new ideas, and prototyping and testing solutions.

3. We build opportunities and drive positive impact through design by providing support to local innovators, launching new efforts, and connecting as a global network.


You want to connect and collaborate with like-minded people in your community and around the world.

You feel the difference they are making in your local community.

You resonate with the creative problem-solving methodology and want to help others see its relevance for work and life.

You want to create a space that's energizing and feels like you're spending time in a meaningful way.

You're excited to learn more through VIP access to our resources, people, training and stories.


We are so excited about your interest in starting an OpenIDEO Chapter. We'd love to explore starting one with you and the team you pull together

We have built an intentional, supportive process for building to a Chapter so that those interested in starting them can feel out if the commitment and opportunity is right for them. The recruitment process was designed by and for Chapter Organizers, and we have a dedicated team that will help you throughout.

First, you'll want to check out the online platform for OpenIDEO Chapters to make sure there isn't already a Chapter in your city.

Step 1: Build a Team

We're looking for teams of 2-5 people to lead a Chapter. The ideal team is well-versed in human-centered design, invested in social impact, tight-knit with the city and its various communities, and willing to invest in a Chapter for a year. Running a Chapter typically takes a commitment of 5 hours/week for a leadership team.

Resource: This toolkit describes the process of building a leadership team.

Step 2: Launching an Outpost event

In addition to building a team, a prospective Chapter must have produced at least one successful event in their city focused on an OpenIDEO Challenge prior to applying. An Outpost event helps prospective Chapter Organizers get a taste for the time and energy involved with building a strong local community. It's also a chance for you to see if there's excitement around the process and the development of a Chapter in the long run. Of those who start an Outpost, only a few go on to apply and start a Chapter.

Steps to launch an Outpost event 
All of the steps below must be followed for your application to be considered)

Step 2a: First, "Follow" the OpenIDEO Global Community Page
Step 2b: Then, plan your Outpost event with your team. We've included a resource below to help you with planning. Check out our active Challenges page and decide which phase and Challenge you'd like your event to focus on.
Step 2c: Once you've planned your event, use the Suggest the Event feature on the Global Community Page to make it official. You'll also be able to track RSVPs once your event is published (pending review from a moderator or administrator).
Step 2d: Produce a stellar event! Take photos and report your impact on the Global Community Page.
Step 2e: Come back together as a team to reflect on your Outpost. The application form (link below) includes questions about your event.

Resource: This toolkit describes the process for launching an Outpost event.

Step 3: Application Form and Post-Application Process

Once you complete Step 2, fill out the OpenIDEO Chapter application form with your team. Only a small percentage of applicants will advance to an interview.

With more than 50-60 cities applying per application class, we usually bring in about 4-6 new Chapters. We want to make sure new Chapters are set up for success and have a strong team and foundation before joining the global network.

Application Checklist

Before applying, be sure you have done the following below:

You have a firm understanding of OpenIDEO
You are following the Global Community Page
You have already launched an Outpost event
You have shared your event on the Global Community Page
You have venue(s) you could host future events at
You have a list of local partners you could work with
You have an existing network in the city to join events
You have a team of 2-5 people
Your team can commit a few hours each week for 12 months

Need more help or have additional questions? Feel free to reach out at and we'll get back to you!