job posting: OpenIDEO Storytelling Fellow (Contract)

OpenIDEO Storytelling Fellow (Contract)San Francisco, CA

Role summary:

OpenIDEO is searching for a Storyteller with a passion for leveraging the power of story to drive positive change alongside an inspiring global community. This person will be a strong writer and have a knack for visual and/or audio storytelling as well!

Wanted: Total Unicorn to roam in our Open(IDEO) Space of Possibilities

Maybe you’ve spent time in advertising or have worked as a journalist. Maybe you’ve been stuck writing corporate communications, but you feel like your voice and gifts can be used for the forces of good: to make the world a better place.

You love interviewing diverse community members and sharing their story in compelling ways. You are confident writing and visualizing stories about the communities and projects that are making a difference in the world.

You can cut straight to the heart of the matter, and love making complex stuff feel simple and intuitive. You know how to persuade diverse crowds (for whom English may be a second language) and fluidly crafting a lively, authentic and optimistic tone that inspires action.

You’re nimble, easily able to shift from punchy headlines, to long form stories, to storyboarding complex narratives, or whatever the situation calls for. You’re always pushing your craft, experimenting with new and better ways to convey a message.

What will your role at OpenIDEO look like?

IDEO is a human-centered design and innovation consultancy – and our design process starts and ends with storytelling. The right words can make learning engaging, help ideas stick, move people to action, and even create movements.

OpenIDEO is a global community focused on designing real solutions for our world’s biggest social and environmental problems. The OpenIDEO community, representing more than 200 countries and territories, has launched 39 global design challenges on diverse topics, from improving maternal health to revitalizing cities in decline to supporting renewable energy in communities. OpenIDEO guides our community through a collaborative process based upon IDEO’s human-centered design methodology. We spark engaged discussion, new connections, innovative ideas and drive impact by supporting new and existing collaborations, projects, organizations and movements.

This Storytelling Fellow won’t just put the punch or polish in communications, they are designers who architect ideas alongside a multidisciplinary team of creative thinkers. You’ll shape the big-picture narrative of OpenIDEO and also create a drumbeat of stories that celebrate our community and impact.

What you will help us creatively address:

  • How might we tell compelling stories of our community and impact that inspire others to join our effort as participants and partnering organizations?
  • How might we create and share the story of OpenIDEO in a visual way to someone who has never heard of us before?
  • How might we leverage the power of story to support our growing social movement?
  • How might we support our community with storytelling education, and help them craft and share their own stories?

What you will do:

  • Every week you’ll interview and craft stories about our community members and their impact on their local community and the world. We’re open to the way the story is told: short write-ups, feature stories, comics, audio podcasts, visual or a transmedia approach.
  • Inspire creative thought into how our team and community can continue to share the narrative of our work, our community and our impact.
  • Support, copyedit and guide our community members who are crafting and sharing their own stories.

Check out:

The tangibles:

  • You have 2-3 years of experience in copywriting, journalism, marketing, advertising, PR or a related craft

The intangibles:

  • You are empathetic. At the heart of your work lies a nugget of deep human insight, and an understanding about how to apply this to your writing for the audience
  • You’re comfortable working across mediums: from digital to environmental to print to film—whatever delivers the message best
  • You are a radical simplifier. You take complicated ideas and challenges and help a global audience understand it with clarity and purpose.


  • We’d like to see your portfolio demonstrate your experience crafting compelling, narrative-driven stories about communities or social impact
  • This position can be done remotely

Here are a few questions that will really make your application stand out:

  • Tell us about a story or narrative you created. What was the process like? How did you tell that story?
  • Tell us about how you’ve creatively crafted and shared a story about an organization, community or social impact initiative.
  • Why OpenIDEO? Why storytelling? Why you? Why now?

Contract details

  • 6 months
  • Part-time: 20 hours a week
  • June-November

Application instructions:

A cover letter, resume and portfolio are required for this position. For the portfolio, please upload a PDF or include a link to your website.


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