IDEO Fellowship Program

Deadline: December 9, 2011 

The Fellowship Program enables future global leaders from the design, business, and social sectors to spend one year working with experienced IDEO designers to address poverty-related challenges using the tools of human-centered design.


Over a 12-month period, Fellows will deliver solutions for non-profits, social enterprises, and foundations on an array of topics, such as: agriculture, gender equity, financial services, health, water, and sanitation. Sample projects include: Working with a non-profit to improve sanitation in Ghana, partnering with an Indian low-cost health care provider to design an effective nurse/patient experience, and collaborating with a U.S. health care non-profit to bring birth control options to low-income women. Fellowships are based in California. Frequent travel in the field is required. The application process is highly competitive and open to applicants from around the world; preference is given to innovators with work experience in the developing world and/or with low-income communities. Candidates should have an openness to other cultures and lifestyles and will be expected to be self-reliant and thrive in a start-up environment.


The ideal candidate is:

  1. You are open-minded, self-reliant, and excited about being part of a diverse, fast-paced, non-profit, start-up environment.
  2. You are comfortable working collaboratively within multidisciplinary teams.
  3. You have a demonstrated passion for improving low-income communities and sharing human-centered design.
  4. You have examples of work grounded in insights about people. You’ve applied your skills to real-world human problems (not just artistic or academic exercises).
  5. You demonstrate “depth and breadth” in many different ways. For example, you may have considerable experience in mobile application development, but you’ve also performed consumer research in India. Or launched a non-profit related to maternal health. Or started making documentaries about your neighborhood, or, or, or [insert your personal story here].
  6. You can easily switch from macro to micro: from understanding the strategic value and business dynamics of an organization’s product or service, to caring about visual designs at a pixel or message level.
  7. You’re able to demonstrate key components of the human-centered design process: empathy, synthesis, prototyping, storytelling.
  8. You’re an excellent written and verbal communicator. You have a knack for succinctly capturing thoughts and expressing them to others.
  9. You contribute to the larger dialogue of social innovation. You may be attending conferences, contributing to publications (blogs, Twitter, online printed, etc.) or designing new programs for this community.
  10. You have great instincts: How to tell a captivating story; how to give honest feedback; how to establish a deeper rapport.



  1. Minimum 5 years of professional full-time work experience, or a graduate degree plus 3 years of work experience.
  2. English fluency (written and spoken). Additional language capabilities are preferred.
  3. Ability to legally work in the U.S. for one year. ( can help with visa application process.)

For more information: click here

To apply: click here


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