Sarah Fathallah

"Fail Early. Fail Often."

My name is Sarah Fathallah, otherwise known as سارة فتح الله.

Based in Washington DC, I am a financial inclusion and financial consumer protection analyst by day, and a service designer, UX design student, and karaoke league competitor by night.

I am passionate about languages and the intersection between design, technology and development. In my spare time, I enjoy bottle-feeding baby elephants.

I am glad to be a Community Champion for the Recycling Habits Challenge, and I am very much looking forward to the ideas, insights, and collaboration ahead. Je parle français et serai également ravie d'aider nos utilisateurs francophones et anglophones à communiquer et collaborer ensemble!

Recent Contributions View all contributions

Thumbnail : This is a calendar that I bought for 2014.

What if objects were designed to have...

Some of the things that we buy are already designed to have a second life, after they have...
Thumbnail : This is the recycling chart that we have in our office...

When labels don't work...

I am not very educated around recycling issues. And I realized that when waste recycling labels...
Thumbnail : The text of this mural reads, “Más Mujeres en las calles, ciudades seguras para todos/as sin miedo ni violencia” (`More Women in the Street; Safe Cities for Everyone without Fear and without Violence’).

Re-Appropration of Public Spaces

What if communities identified unsafe public spaces to re-appropriate them and transform them...

My Recommendations

Join the conversation and post a comment.

Pierce Gordon

April 07, 2014, 05:18AM

My name is Pierce Gordon, a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley. As a member of a group in a course at the Information School, we're running a study upon the innovative OpenIDEO community about the user experience.

We found you're a select designer of the OpenIDEO system that has been highly active in the system in many ways. We have selected you because of your active involvement, and expert opinion upon the use of the OpenIDEO website.

Would you like to participate in an online focus group of the website? If so, we would love to participate in a Google Hangout discussion with you, and a collection of up to five other active designers, upon the user experience of the OpenIDEO website.

All of our information will be disemminated to OpenIDEO engineers for the sake of bettering the community you have worked so hard to contribute

Please contact me at, or the OpenIDEO profile, if you are interested. Hope to hear from you soon!

Mathieu Chevalier

March 31, 2014, 09:31AM
Hey Sarah, glad to have a french-speaking person here :) a bientôt

Kailin Rutherford

November 21, 2013, 03:05AM

Your concepts are truly inspiring. I can tell you tap into an incredible wealth of resources and insights (for example, by emulating Gotham City's use of a "bat-signal" in times of crisis to similarly signal to violence against diasporas). Brilliant, brilliant work. Even if only a pipe-dream, it would be fantastic to collaborate with you on a project!


Kailin Rutherford

Sarah Fathallah

November 26, 2013, 20:08PM
Hi Kailin,

Thanks so much! Hopefully we'll get to collaborate on future challenges here on OpenIDEO, that we can then turn into a real life project :)

Cheng Zhang

August 05, 2013, 18:46PM
Dear Sarah

It was a pleasure of reading your post.
I am Cheng Zhang, a master student from London School of Economics (LSE).

As I am writing a dissertation on OpenIDEO, can I send you a questionnaire for you to answer in about 10 days time?
I can see that you are an active participant, and I am really interested in finding out more about people like you.
If you do not have time it is totally understandable too! If you are interested, could you please send me an email to ? Or you can tell me your email here;).
Best regards and many thanks
Cheng Zhang

Niklas Jansen

July 28, 2013, 13:45PM
Amazing concepts and work. Really inspiring me to create more concepts here. Hope to team up with you one day in a virtual team :)

Sarah Fathallah

November 26, 2013, 20:08PM
Thanks Niklas. Looking forward to the possibility of collaborating on future challenges here!

Maggie Che

April 23, 2013, 14:45PM
I was really inspired and amazed by your design! I work as a management consultant for my full time job and also run a social enterprise as my part time job. However, I want to squeeze my time to contribute to open IDEO. Could I ask for your advice on how to do this efficiently? Thanks a lot!
  A note explaining why Priyanka added Sarah to their Team for this idea:
Include/prototype an emergency SMS feature.


April 30, 2012, 00:40AM
Sarah was selected for our monthly Featured Ideator series. Check it out:


January 24, 2012, 01:11AM
There she goes again – being an awesome collaborator & ideator! Sarah landed 2 concepts amongst winners on the Vibrant Cities Challenge: Vibrancy in a Box and Attracing Start-Ups. Congrats Sarah!

Simon Morfit

January 23, 2012, 17:20PM
congrats Sarah on your recent round of winning concepts. I always enjoy reading your thought-provoking and inspiration-provoking contributions!

Sarah Fathallah

January 24, 2012, 14:00PM
Thanks Simon! I am really looking forward to collaborating on future challenges here :)

Gabriela Flores

December 06, 2011, 20:48PM
Hello Sarah!
Just a quick line to express the inspiration your talents and ideas bring to this community member :)

Sarah Fathallah

January 05, 2012, 17:55PM
Thanks Gabriela! Welcome on board and looking forward to collaborating on future challenges!


September 13, 2011, 00:11AM
Sarah seems to make us see double! Once again she has a double feature in the winners hitlist – this time on our Anniversary Impact Challenge – for both her OpenREALISATION and OpenTRANSLATE concepts. We were in awe of her active prototyping and the collaborative energy she sparked during the challenge


August 03, 2011, 20:57PM
Sarah was a double winner on our Grameen Social Business Challenge. Not only has she devised comprehensive and innovative social solutions (across a number of challenges) but she is also a keen collaborator and feeds each challenge she participates in with inspiration and creative rigor. Way to go, Sarah!

Krassimira Iordanova

July 27, 2011, 09:54AM
Sarah, congratulations! Well deserved!!! Not one, but TWO winning concepts! Great job!

Sarah Fathallah

July 27, 2011, 12:06PM
Thanks Krassimira! Congratulations to you too, well done!

Vincent Cheng

July 26, 2011, 19:20PM
Congratulations on your selected winning concepts for the health social business challenge Sarah! Very well deserved for your great contributions on this challenge, previous challenges, & I'm sure on future challenges to come =).

Sarah Fathallah

July 26, 2011, 19:22PM
Thank you very much Vincent, it means a lot coming from you!


May 02, 2011, 04:20AM
Sarah's participation across the Maternal Health + Mobile Technology Challenge was legendary. It was only fitting that her comprehensively concepted Healthcare Workers Salary idea featured amongst the challenge winners. And we're loving seeing Sarah's continued collaboration across challenges!

Sarah Fathallah

May 02, 2011, 05:19AM
Thanks OpenIDEO :)

James McBennett

April 22, 2011, 13:00PM
Thanks for your comment. I noticed "Fail Early, Fail Often" is the front page and main article of this months WIRED UK.

Sarah Fathallah

April 26, 2011, 20:38PM
Your welcome James! It's also a little mantra I try to live by (whenever I can afford to). I love to build stuff and rapidly prototype concepts :)

Kirk Soderstrom

April 14, 2011, 01:33AM
Hey Sarah, I echo the thoughts below. Your ideas and feedback have a clarity and depth that elevate the discussion, and spark other ideas. I look forward to your future contributions!

Sarah Fathallah

April 14, 2011, 13:33PM
Right back at you Kirk! Since you joined OpenIDEO, I've been in awe of your contributions and your awesome visualizations. I'm really looking forward to discovering what tricks you still have up your sleeve!

Arjan Tupan

April 13, 2011, 19:32PM
Hey Sarah, you're contributions have been amazingly inspiring, divers and collaborative, and very well thought through. And I really liked your status-message-mini-meme joke! In short: great to have you around! Thanks!

Sarah Fathallah

April 13, 2011, 23:04PM
Thank you so much Arjan. Coming from you, that means a lot!

anjelika deogirikar

February 09, 2011, 00:12AM
i too second meena's and vincent's praise - great contributions to the current challenge! such a diverse mix of inspirations - can't wait to see what other inspirations you know of...!

Sarah Fathallah

April 13, 2011, 09:51AM
Thanks Anjelika!

Vincent Cheng

February 01, 2011, 06:59AM
I second Meena's praise. In addition to your thoughtful and encouraging builds on others' posts, you've also shared some amazing inspirations for the maternal healthcare challenge, all in a structured way that concisely brings forth the salient information. I'm really looking forward to your future contributions Sarah!

Sarah Fathallah

April 13, 2011, 09:51AM
Thank YOU for your inspiring contributions and your continuous encouragements!

Meena Kadri

January 25, 2011, 12:51PM
What a roaring start you've made on OpenIDEO! Loving your inspiring and encouraging attitude. Great to have you onboard.

Sarah Fathallah

April 13, 2011, 09:50AM
Thanks Meena! Feels great being onboard as well, I'm learning so much here!

Meena Kadri

April 14, 2011, 07:24AM
Alongside teaching us a thing or too, I'm noting!
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