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Frequently Asked Questions


What is OpenIDEO?

OpenIDEO builds communities that design solutions for the world’s biggest challenges.

How do OpenIDEO Challenges work?

OpenIDEO invites people from around the world to collaborate to solve social challenges by sharing inspiration and ideas in our online innovation challenges.

What is an OpenIDEO Chapter?

OpenIDEO Chapters activate people in more than 20 cities around the world to design solutions that impact their communities. Connect and collaborate with others in your city, and bring a local lens to the global challenges we work on every day.


How do I participate?

OpenIDEO participants can contribute on a variety of levels, ranging from sharing inspiration, giving feedback or contributing ideas and collaborating with others to make them real in the world. Being a part of a challenge requires anywhere from a few minutes to many hours. It’s totally up to you.

If you’d like to be part of a local community focused on using human centered design to solve local challenges, you should also check out our Chapters around the world.

Who can participate on OpenIDEO?

You! OpenIDEO welcomes all creative thinkers. No matter what field you work in, what level of experience you have, or what country you’re from – if you’re curious about collaborating on solutions to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world today –  join us! You’ll connect with people passionate about making their communities better places to live, work and play.

How do I submit a research post or idea to an OpenIDEO challenge?

Submitting an idea to a challenge can be done from within the challenge. Let us know if you have trouble at


What makes a challenge Top Idea?

Top Ideas are the ideas that best answer our challenge question and that we believe have the most potential for impact and implementation in the world.

Top Ideas are chosen by our challenge sponsor and the OpenIDEO Team according to the challenge brief and specific criteria relating to the challenge topic. If there is criteria for a specific challenge, you can find in the challenge brief. 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 aren’t worthy of continuing to collaborate on – they are! We welcome everyone to continue working towards impact in their communities.

What do challenge winners receive?

While a few ideas may be identified at the end of each challenge to supported by challenge sponsors for funding or design support, generally it is up to our OpenIDEO community to work toward manifesting their ideas into action. Prototyping, partnerships, funding and other avenues to implementation are all things we encourage you to explore, together.

An exception to this is our Amplify Program, which is focused on international development and awards grants of between $50,000 - $150,000 to up to five winners per challenge.


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 great stuff going on at OpenIDEO, we wanted you to be able to high-five the ideas you love. We don’t select challenge shortlists and winners by the amount of applause they receive, but your encouragement means a lot!

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. 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 – who knows, it could be an opportunity to work together!

Looking for the fine print?

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.

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 members of the OpenIDEO Team  as facilitators. We’re here to encourage you to collaborate and help you focus on what’s important across our various challenge phases and give you human-centered design tools to get the most out of your experience. While we don’t aim to comment on every post or join every conversation – 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


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

Help! I forgot my password.

It happens to the best of us. Click here to get a new one.

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.


I’ve taken an OpenIDEO idea out into the world, where can I share it?

Share your story with on Facebook or Twitter, shoot us an email at, or if you’re in the mood to write, create an Impact story in the challenge it relates to.

How can I keep up to date on what’s new on OpenIDEO?

We always announce the launch of new challenges and initiatives to our community. If you haven't already, Sign Up and create a profile to learn about new challenges.


Will OpenIDEO ever share my email address?

No, we will not share your email address without your permission, for instance, in the case that a challenge sponsor wants to get in touch with you about creating further impact with your idea.


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


What if my question isn’t answered here?

Just send an email to and we’ll be happy to help.