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Partnerships & Development, OpenIDEO

In a nutshell:

OpenIDEO is in search of a Partnerships & Development Associate who will help expand our studio’s social impact by supporting new business opportunities and helping to keep our operations running smoothly so that we can help unleash the innovative potential of the social sector. This role is based in San Francisco, CA. 

Role summary:

Partnerships & Development Associates fuel the growth of our studio by serving as ambassadors, storytellers, and nurturers. As the first point of contact for new potential partners- government agencies, corporate innovators, philanthropic leaders- you will serve as a translator and shepherd of the client open innovation journey (this requires a good dose of empathy and creativity as this is an unfamiliar journey for most partners). This includes crafting compelling content and proposals, keeping your ears up for opportunities, and providing regular updates to the wider OpenIDEO team to keep our team informed and engaged. The role is about listening and wading through plenty of ambiguity in order to uncover opportunity areas for open innovation- Business Development Associates are great at fostering conversations and turning them into actionable insights. Because our team moves quickly and experiments often Business Development Associates need to consider the of an individual partner while zooming out to think cohesively on a wide portfolio and potential new business models.

As we work toward a vision of developing transformative partnerships with partners that can help us scale our support for diverse communities around the world you’ll be counted on to think big and help us architect the roadmap. Your nuanced understanding of the social landscape will help us build solutions to the world’s toughest societal challenges. This is an exciting time to join as we expand our Partnerships Team for the first time in an effort to deepen the support we can provide for our partners, and to our internal team.

Once here you will:

  • Manage new client relationships by serving as the first point of contact for many new potential partners, shepherding the process from qualification to proposal and kickoff. You’ll identify opportunity areas and serve as the frontline ambassador for open innovation and Human Centered Design, fluently mapping connections between insights and our strengths. The journey involves all touchpoints from phones calls to negotiating contracts. This journey starts with a lot of ambiguity- we will count on you to lead with lots of empathy.
  • Be responsible for improving and maintaining visibility and transparency in our pipeline and new business process. This involves ensuring regular updates on in-process and emerging opportunities. You’ll keep our systems humming smoothly by helping to maintain our business operations systems and contributing to regular team meetings/reports.
  • Develop compelling content. You will craft engaging content to clarify and build excitement around our offer, in the form of proposals, storytelling material or web assets. In this role, you curate a portfolio of stories and assets that showcase OpenIDEO’s impact and evolution - externally, and to our colleagues within IDEO.
  • Support the success of the wider OpenIDEO team. As we work at the fast-paced clip of a startup, the team will count on you for transparency and regular updates. Building understanding and engagement around what’s coming up is part of the day-to-day. You should be a nimble connector that gets people around you excited and engaged- this leads to new connections and opportunities within the walls of IDEO.
  • Contribute to business strategy and growth by putting your head together with key members of the team to reflect on opportunities for experimentation and refinement. As we look to increase our impact and better serve our community, you will need to think creatively about how we can work with partners to drive exponential change. This is about constantly redefining our working definition for open innovation in order to better support changemakers. Part of this involves developing opportunities to connect with every member of our team, as well as community leaders.

What does OpenIDEO offer you?

OpenIDEO is a place unlike any other. It’s a place that offers you the opportunity to deepen your design thinking and community management skill sets while addressing some of the world’s most urgent problems. Receive mentorship and work alongside thoughtful, intelligent individuals who lead with curiosity, empathy, and optimism. Our community of 150k people from all over the world will keep you inspired with stories of real impact. Depending on programmatic goals, this role may sometimes include travel domestically and internationally to connect with challenge partners and participants.

Learn more about OpenIDEO:

OpenIDEO is IDEO’s open innovation practice. We enable people worldwide to come together and build solutions for today's toughest societal problems. Check out our website to learn about our work, team, and network.

Relevant experience:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of and passion for the social innovation landscape and design thinking. You have an in-depth understanding of the social sector and international development space- the actors, how a partnership works, and what innovation looks like.
  • Bachelor’s degree (MBA or Master’s Degree a plus). Experience with business modeling and design
  • 3-5 years of experience working in business development/partnerships or in an analogous role (i.e. grant writing/development, government affairs and contracting, social investing/acceleration, nonprofit fundraising). Preferably with a deep understanding of the social innovation space.
  • Excitement around leveraging your network and building opportunities. Experience working with government partners or funder in the international development space a big plus.
  • Savvy with business operations systems and reporting. Ability to translate data into accessible presentations, and a high degree of general organization.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills for diverse audiences. The ability to create and deliver presentations, proposals, and other assets that clearly communicate an understanding of our clients, and OpenIDEO’s values.
  • Unfaltering and exemplary time and project management skills.
  • Excellent presentation, workshop, and meeting facilitation skills.
  • Ability to work and collaborate with cross-cutting teams across multiple organizations (i.e., OpenIDEO, IDEO, sponsor organizations and more).
  • Design sensitivities and working knowledge of human-centered design, particularly as applied in international development contexts.
  • Experience with creative tools like Keynote is a plus, as it will be a part of your daily activities.

Our work environment appeals best to self-directed, flexible and deeply curious team players that share our deep purpose around community-led social impact. The day-to-day here includes brainstorms around ways to tackle complex societal challenges.

Application instructions:

Please submit a resume and cover letter (yes, we read cover letters).

You are also encouraged to create a profile on OpenIDEO.com and participate in one or more of our open Challenges.


Equal Opportunity Employer

IDEO is an equal opportunity employer; applicants are considered for all roles without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, citizenship status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital, parental, veteran or military status, unfavorable military discharge, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law.