The Process of Becoming a Chapter

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’ve built an intentional, supportive process for building a Chapter so that those interested in starting them can feel out if the commitment and opportunity is right for them. Throughout the recruitment process—which was designed by and for Chapter Organizers—we’ll have a dedicated team to help guide you through the steps. 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. Now you’ll want to read through our Chapters Community Guidelines to make sure OpenIDEO is the right fit for you.

After a successful recruitment season, the Chapters application process for 2020 has concluded. We will dedicate what is left of 2020 to support our existing Chapters in meaningful ways. In the meantime, we recommend you take a look at our Pre-Application resources and make sure you have completed all the steps before submitting the application form. All recruitment activities will be resumed in February 2021.

Step 01

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 minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 2 years. Running a Chapter typically takes a commitment of 5 hours/week for a leadership team which is why it is important that you have a group of champions that can help the Chapter be active and keep consistency.

Successful Chapters have diverse and collaborative teams of leaders. It’s more fun, creative and innovative to have a group of people building a Chapter. You’re better set up for success and impact. You’re able to learn from each other and are more resilient through challenges and failures. This work is hard and that’s why building a team is important—together is better. We strongly encourage each Chapter to build a team of Organizers to ensure the sustainability of the community.

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

Step 02

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 active OpenIDEO Challenge. If there are no active Challenges at the time you are planning to apply, you can focus on any of the Challenges hosted in the past 6 months. 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.

Here is how you launch an Outpost event (All of the steps below must be followed for your application to be considered):

— 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. Our Community team will be ready to guide you through the process.

— Produce a stellar event! Take photos and come back together as a team to reflect on your Outpost and share the learnings with the OpenIDEO team.

Prioritizing safety: Given the current global pandemic, Outposts events can be hosted virtually to ensure physical distancing. Though we are currently managing events online and designing digital experiences, please bear in mind that OpenIDEO Chapters exist to foster in-person collaboration and engagement.    
‍Resource: This toolkit describes the process for launching an Outpost event.

Step 03

Share About Your Outpost Event with the OpenIDEO Community Team

All your efforts are worth being shared! Once you have launched an Outpost event, report your impact with our team via email. If the Outpost event qualifies, we will move forward with the next steps and reach out to you to schedule a first interview session.

Step 04

Fill Out the Application Form 

Once you complete Step 1, fill out the OpenIDEO Chapter application form with your team. These questions will help us learn more about you and your expectations. We want to make sure new Chapters are set up for success and have a strong team and foundation before joining the global network.

Step 05

Let's Meet!

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 Cohorts of 3 to 4 new Chapters per month. We are eager to meet you, so we’ll have a video interview where we will learn about your team and your experience hosting an Outpost event. We will also answer any questions you might have!

Step 07

A Second Conversation

During this final 45-minute interview, we will talk about your expectations of becoming a Chapter Organizer and review your final task. We will also answer any questions you may have and drink a warm cup of tea while we are on it!

Step 06

A Final Task

After our first conversation, you will have the opportunity to get together with your team and complete one final task. It's fun and it’s going to help your team reflect on the future of the community. Tasks are assigned to each team depending on the skillsets we’d like to learn more about. They will also support your roadmap to building a journey to impact.

Step 08

Notification of Acceptance

After your team has gone through the application process we will let you know the results and lead you through the next steps!

Why People Participate


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

Playful And Creative
Outlet Outside Of Work

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

Work on OPENIDEO CHALLENGES with a Local Lens

You feel the difference they are making in your local community and the impact solutions can have when shared and scaled globally.

Develop A Closer Relationship To Openideo & Ideo

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

Meet an OpenIDEO Chapter Organizer: Dive into this Q&A to hear from some of the Chapter Organizers—both new and veteran—about what it's like to be part of this wide-reaching community.

Learn And Practice Human-centered Design

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


You want to guide and lead your community into creating spaces for dialogue and collaboration.

Application Checklist

Need more help or have additional questions? Reach out at

‍Before applying, be sure you have read our Community Guidelines and that the following is true:

  • You have a firm understanding of OpenIDEO.
  • You have venue(s) you could host future events at.
  • You have a platform where you could host a virtual Outpost event e.i: Zoom, Meet, Teams or other software.
  • 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 20 hours each month for a period of 2 years.