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The Challenge

Shape the future of an international disaster-relief team of former military veterans.


Team Rubicon Global’s first deployment in April 2015, during an earthquake in Nepal, sent US and UK teams to double down on the rescue effort.

The Outcome

A global plan for Team Rubicon, including an anchor network and two supporting platforms.

Designing A Global Plan For Disaster Response 2013 11 12 Seabird Jackson 121 Soft

The first wave of Team Rubicon volunteers arrives in Tacloban three days after Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Philippines.

Team Rubicon, formed in 2010 as a response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, is made up of former military veterans who swoop into help in times of disaster. The organization started with six vets in the US who were eager to transfer their battlefield readiness in to frontline relief efforts, and has grown to more than 28,000 volunteers across the world.

To explore its growing global effort and to shape the future of the organization’s venture, Team Rubicon approached IDEO for help. After an eleven-week collaboration with government, military, and veteran groups, a vision for Team Rubicon Global emerged. Inspired by sources as diverse as TED and The Hell’s Angels, the three-tier model consisted of an anchor network to share best practices across the organization and two supporting platforms designed to help countries with varying capacity and needs.

Team Rubicon Global coordinated its first deployment in April 2015, when a quake struck Nepal, sending US and UK teams to double down on the rescue effort. According to Vince Moffit, Team Rubicon USA Incident Commander, that incident alone validated the network effect of IDEO’s work. “We couldn’t have done this without Team Rubicon UK,” he said.

And for the veterans who are part of Team Rubicon, the shared desire to serve—applying skills ideally suited for disaster response—creates a renewed sense of purpose, community, and leadership that helps reintegration to civilian life.