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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate on OpenIDEO?
OpenIDEO welcomes all creative thinkers. The seasoned designer and the aspiring designer, the dreamer and the analyst, the MBA and the social entrepreneur, the hacker and the strategist, the big ideas guy and the details-oriented girl, the active participant and the curious lurker. No matter what field you work in, what level of experience you have, what country you’re from – if you’re keen to collaborate on solutions to challenges facing the world today – you’re welcome to join us. We’ve got creative thinkers from many disciplines outside of the design world in our community – from police officers to doctors to social entrepreneurs to high school students and beyond. We believe that diversity is a cornerstone of effective collaboration.

How much time and effort does it take to be a part of a challenge?
OpenIDEO participants can contribute on a variety of levels, ranging from commenting to contributing and collaborating on complex concepts and making them happen. Being a part of a challenge requires anywhere from a few minutes to many hours. It’s totally up to you.

What is Design Quotient?
The Design Quotient (DQ) is a measure of your contributions to OpenIDEO. It corresponds to how active you are across various phases of our challenges. It also measures your collaboration, increasing every time you comment or build on other people’s research and concepts. DQ can help to publicly identify your design expertise and strengths. Maybe you’re excellent at providing research that shapes the conversation – or you’re great at building off of others’ ideas. Share your DQ with friends, colleagues, teachers and even potential employers to give them some insight into what you’re best at.

I’m looking to update my skills on OpenIDEO. Any tips?
Check out this compilation of OpenIDEO Tips and Tricks.

Is this a competition or a collaboration?
It’s a collaboration. While a few ideas may be identified at the end of each challenge to supported by challenge sponsors, generally it is up to our OpenIDEO community to collaborate towards transforming their ideas into impact. Prototyping, partnerships, funding and other avenues to implementation are all things we encourage you to explore, together.

Who owns the ideas submitted on OpenIDEO – and who can act on those ideas to bring them to life?
All concepts contributed to OpenIDEO become shareable, remix-able and reusable by anyone – in a similar way to Creative Commons. We operate under a mindset of open collaboration focused on social impact. We encourage anyone to act on submitted ideas and do something awesome with them to bring positive change to the world. Though of course, we’d love it if attribution is given to the original OpenIDEO idea wherever possible – to acknowledge the team work which has supported it creating impact. It’s also a good idea to drop by the idea you’ve been inspired by to take action on and leave a comment there to let folks know.

Have you taken an OpenIDEO idea out into the world? Share your story with our community by creating an Impact story on OpenIDEO or emailing us at oi-impact [at]

Keen to dig deeper on the details? Check out the full text of our Terms of Service.

What do I do if I think someone else used my contribution but did not attribute it to me?
Many times someone may mean to attribute your contribution but simply forget.  Other times, attribution of a particular concept may be impractical. And also keep in mind that similar ideas are often developed independently of each other. In any case, the best next step is to reach out to the other person and suggest why attribution might be relevant while investigating whether there is a potential to collaborate towards enhancing impact together. 

What are winning ideas and what do they mean?
Think of the winners selection as ‘idea highlights’ – chosen by our challenge sponsor and the OpenIDEO Team according to the challenge brief and specific criteria relating to the challenge topic. Sometimes a sponsor may decide to pursue implementation of a winning idea – though generally we’re creating a set of highlights which are most poised for implementation by our OpenIDEO community and their networks. That’s not to say that others' ideas submitted to the challenge are not worthy of continuing to collaborate on – we welcome all strides to impact from any ideas submitted to our challenges. Bring it on!

What does the Heart button mean?
Clicking the heart button for contributions and comments is a way of showing your support and encouragement. There’s so much awesome-ness going on at OpenIDEO, we wanted you to be able to high-five stuff you’re keen on. However challenge shortlists and winners are not selected by the amount of applause they receive. (see the question above about ‘winning’ for more clarification)

Why is IDEO doing this?
IDEO passionately believes that innovation requires collaboration and that technology can facilitate teamwork across great distances. We couldn’t find a platform that accommodated all of our core needs (which included being able to split up the innovation process into phases and to build on the ideas of others), so we created our own. Now, we’re sharing it.

What is IDEO’s involvement in the challenges?
Think of the OpenIDEO Team and IDEO associates as facilitators. We’re here to encourage you to collaborate and help you focus on what’s important across our various challenge phases. While we don’t aim to comment on every post nor control conversations – we do hope to spark discussion, reflection and action and help our OpenIDEO community thrive.

How are OpenIDEO challenges selected?
We’re constantly seeking new challenges for We’re looking to work with organizations that would like to pursue impact for social good around a variety of global issues. All OpenIDEO challenges require financial sponsorship to help underwrite our own costs associated with managing the challenge and providing tech and community support. If you're interested in sponsoring a challenge, get in touch with us at oi-sponsor [at]

How can I keep up to date on new OpenIDEO challenges?
We always announce the launch of new challenges to our community. If you haven't already, Sign Up and create a profile to learn about new challenges. We often also list challenges that are soon to be launched on our New Challenges Page.  

My confirmation email to register on OpenIDEO hasn’t arrived.
First, please check your spam folder. If you still can't find it, try the sign up process again and let us know if you still have problems by emailing us at hello [at]

Help! I forgot my password.
It happens to the best of us. Click here to get a new one.

Will OpenIDEO ever share my email address?
No, we will not share your email address, except in the case that a challenge sponsor wants to get in touch with you about creating further impact with your idea.

I want to suggest a new feature or tell you about something that’s broken.
Thanks for helping out! Please email us at oi-tech [at]

How can I report abuse?
If you see a contribution or comment that you think crosses a line, please hit the red Report button next to the entry. If you’re concerned about something more significant, please email us at hello [@}

How do I deactivate my OpenIDEO profile?
We hope that you enjoyed being part of the community while you were here. You can delete your OpenIDEO profile by hitting the Edit Profile button there and then clicking the Delete button. Please note that your previous comments and contributions will still appear anonymously, under our An Old Friend profile.

What if my question isn’t answered here?
Just send an email to hello [@} and we’ll be happy to help.