Openfields was founded in 2014 with the vision of bringing the most creative, strategic tools for innovation from across sectors to bear on our most pressing, complex social challenges. Our name, Openfields, comes from the insight that these challenges cannot be addressed from a single field of work or discipline of learning, but demand leaders, organizations, and networks that are able to work within and beyond traditional boundaries. The fields of work are open and we need new ways to learn, think, and work together.
We've learned that to achieve different outcomes we have to embrace different ways of working. Like other consulting firms we bring proven processes and experienced experts to help clients solve complex problems and develop big ideas. Unlike other firms we operate primarily as a collaborative team, empowering your organization with a new level of learning, capacity, and creativity. We deliver immediate solutions, while helping your organization grow and adapt.
To help visionary leaders imagine and accelerate
a more creative and just future.
Our mission is inspired by a quote from James Boyd White's "Living Speech":
“If we cannot imagine the lives of others—the half of the world’s population who live on less than $2 a day, for example—we cannot be capable of justice towards them, for imagination is the root of justice. And if we cannot see others as they are, and understand our own role in systems of wealth and power, we certainly are incapable of love towards them too.”
Based on their talent, experience, and commitment, effective leaders generate deep knowledge about how systems work, but they also learn to be successful according to the rules of the system. As a result, leaders can have visionary ideas for remaking systems, but the community and incentives around them don't reward the short-term actions needed to advance those ideas. Openfields is committed to creating a space where systems can be reimagined and then, as Donella Meadows puts it, "brought lovingly into being."
People, not programs, change lives.
Bill Milliken, the founder of Communities in Schools, has been such an effective, inspiring leader because from the very beginning of his work he understood the power of genuine relationships to transcend every divide and overcome every doubt. The only "programs" or projects that will have lasting impact are the ones that cultivate meaningful relationships.
We believe that more is possible than we can imagine, so we push ourselves to always learn, challenge assumptions, and generate new ideas to build confidence in the future we want to make reality.
Elevate the work.
We create work and experiences that remind every person how valuable their time, attention, and commitment is, even if the market doesn't. The details matter.
We believe in abundance and creating time and space where people feel welcome and nourished. In these spaces we can ask better questions, share more honestly, and steadily face down hard realities with hope and purpose.
We are committed to advancing a culture of equity and respect for all people. Read more about our equity journey.