About Me

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 researching belonging, powerful questions and what it's like to live on the outskirts. I'm going to now stop making this sound like an online dating ad.


I work at IDEO, a global design firm.

I'm a storyteller and community designer for OpenIDEO. I think about the ways people connect and collaborate to drive positive impact through design.

I lead our on-the-ground efforts, such as OpenIDEO Chapters, a network of communities driving change through design in more than 25 cities around the world.


I design experiences that foster connection and spark action.

For the past decade, I've founded community experiences around the world, including: 

  • A summit in a repurposed fish factory for business, social, political and creative leaders
  • An international residency committed to social impact through the arts
  • A festival in Iceland featuring artists, musicians and workshop leaders from 14 countries


I believe creativity is imperative to social change work.

In 2014, I was awarded a fellowship with Fulbright and MTV Networks to do research in Iceland. I interviewed musicians, creatives, activists and political leaders about the role of music in the country's modern environmental movement. The conclusion of my research? Using the arts and music to cultivate the creativity of leaders will better equip them to solve tough social issues.


Put me in front of a crowd.

I've facilitated for universities like University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, University of California—Berkeley, Georgetown University, Minerva Schools, American University, University of San Diego and University of Pristina in Kosovo...and many others. 

I have done keynotes and workshops for C2 Montreal, CMX Summit, SxSW, SOCAP, European Arts & Audiences, Startup Iceland and Social Media Week London...and many others.


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 introduced community radio in the most remote areas of the country, carrying all of the necessary equipment in a handmade 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