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Program Manager, OpenIDEO

In a nutshell:

OpenIDEO is in search of a Program Manager to support the strategy, planning, client management and execution of OpenIDEO’s Open Innovation Programs. This role is based in San Francisco, CA.  

Why this role is important for OpenIDEO:

Program Managers at OpenIDEO have a unique vantage point in a fast-paced innovation journey. Their key role is to translate insights into strategy. They listen, synthesize and facilitate the creation of the program strategy with sponsors, broader OpenIDEO team members, and the OpenIDEO community. They are able to make an impact by navigating the delicate balance between developing a community management strategy that provides value to all Program participants and helping clients meet their strategic goals. They are absolutely amazing communicators, facilitators, and guides for all the groups that touch a Challenge. They have the ability to build empathy for multiple different stakeholders at once, with grace and an eye towards driving impact. We count on them to uncover the most promising innovators by leading the evaluation process, organizing the review of all contributions, and distilling insights about our innovation community. As our programs close, they work to to frame the narrative and capture learnings strategically.

This role is for you if you’re excited to explore opportunities for innovation in big social impact challenges and thrive when guiding teams towards a common goal. You will succeed if you embrace ambiguity and know we work better together rather than alone.

Once here, you will:

  • Manage Clients: You will be the first point of contact for the client team. You will steward any program partners through the often complex and fast-paced engagement. You will collaborate closely with client-led marketing and strategy teams to leverage their promotional networks and coordinate outreach.
  • Manage Projects: You will manage all aspects of a program, including managing program timelines, overseeing and participating in online community management, and coordinating the integration of offline/in-person challenge activities and promotions into online platform activities. You are a self-starter, who can drive projects forward, but also someone who nurtures collaborative and creative teams.
  • Manage Outreach: You will work closely with the Outreach Manager to broaden participation of individuals and organizations not currently represented in the OpenIDEO community through targeted network outreach and coordinated media/promotions
  • Handle Communications:  You will work closely with the Community Manager and communications team to ensure timely and relevant communications are shared with the OpenIDEO community via social media, email, the OpenIDEO website and with clients.
  • Lead in-person workshops: You will plan and facilitate workshops to help consensus building during key points in the program life cycle such as challenge topic, narrowing to a shortlist and aligning on Top Ideas. 


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
  • 3+ years of project management and client relationship experience
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills across diverse audiences and cultures. Ability to translate and communicate a single idea across a variety of different audiences.
  • Extensive experience with online platforms; background in journalism or new media is a plus.
  • Unfaltering and exemplary time and project management skills
  • Excellent ability to craft and deliver content  for in-person and virtual presentations, workshops, and meetings with various audiences
  • Ability to work and collaborate with cross-cutting teams across multiple organizations (i.e., OpenIDEO, IDEO, client team and more)
  • Appetite for both quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Design sensitivities and working knowledge of human-centered design

Individuals who will flourish in this role are intrapreneurs possessing deep skills in project management, communications and writing, and client relationship management. We also seek a candidate with a particular emphasis on listening and learning from a broad global community, both online and offline. We are an entrepreneurial team and seek someone who is comfortable with ambiguity and learning through experimentation.

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.