I am curiously and joyfully creating at the intersection of communitystorytelling and design.

Hi, I’m Scott.

I grew up in Hawaii, where I picked mangoes and crushed old soda cans for recycling money. Now, I am falling in love, living, working and playing in Oakland, California. I value presence, relationships, stories, nature and empathy. I am a believer of belonging and an asker of questions.

 

I work at IDEO, a global design firm.

I'm the storyteller and community designer for OpenIDEO. We support purposeful communities with solving our world's toughest social and environmental challenges through design.

I lead on-the-ground efforts like OpenIDEO Chapters, a network of grassroots communities in 20+ cities around the world.

 

I design experiences that foster connection and spark action.

For the past decade, I've designed and facilitated experiences around the world, including: 

  • A summit in a repurposed fish factory for a group of business, social, political and creative leaders.
  • A gathering in Costa Rica for social entrepreneurs designed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania's "rebellious" Center for Social Impact Strategy
  • An immersive and collaborative artist residency where final pieces are co-created with people living in Eyrarbakki, a small village in southern Iceland.

 

I started a music festival in Iceland.

In 2014, I traveled to Iceland to live and work as a fellow for Fulbright and MTV Networks. There, I researched the role of music in the country's modern environmental movement. What surfaced from these interviews was a desire for a space that cultivated connections and collaborations among the country's creative leaders. In response to this insight, I founded a transformative festival called Saga Fest, co-produced by a group of dreamers and doers. The festival promotes sustainable living and community building through art, music and storytelling. The next festival is scheduled for Summer 2017. 

 

Put me in front of a crowd.

I've facilitated workshops around the world, including at many universities like University of Virginia, University of California—Berkeley, Iceland Academy of the Arts, Georgetown University, Minerva Schools, American University, University of San Diego and University of Pristina in Kosovo. 

I have also keynoted and led workshops at CMX Summit, SxSW Eco, SOCAP, Europe's Arts & Audiences, Startup Iceland and Social Media Week London.

 

I write a lot.

My writing and photography is in publications like The Washington PostThe Huffington Post, Grist and Reykjavík Grapevine. While studying journalism in college, I earned awards for online and in-depth reporting at The Spokesman-Review and The Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

In 2013, I produced a multimedia project where I interviewed and wrote about youth activists worldwide, including:

  • A young man who escaped a political prison camp in North Korea, defected from the country and is now a human rights defender for the 80,000+ people still imprisoned.
  • A young woman elected into political office in a Taliban-stronghold in Afghanistan. She is a fierce advocate for women's rights and was honored by TIME Magazine as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People.
  • A young Nepalese man who has introduced community radio in the most remote areas of the country, carrying all the necessary equipment in a doko (basket).
  • A young woman and elected politician of the opposition party ("Our City") in Russia, who showed up to a meeting with the U.S. national security advisor in peach-colored knee-high socks.

I'm working on a book focused on the stories of people who are living on the edges of society—and what we can learn from them. Aiming to publish it in late 2018.

I earned a journalism degree from Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow College of Communication in 2011.

 

My Twitter Feed @scottshigeoka