Role summary:

IDEO helps companies innovate. We design products, services, environments, and digital experiences for organizations seeking new ways to provide value for their customers. IDEO creates visible and tangible strategies for innovation and executes all aspects of design and development, from conception through production.

IDEO Shanghai is seeking a design researcher to lead research efforts that uncover meaningful human-centered insights and interpret them for business and innovation opportunities. This is a senior role and the individual is expected to inspire, work with and guide multidisciplinary IDEO teams and clients through a journey of discovery across a broad spectrum of projects.

Once you are here you will: 

Work on projects and lead research processes

  • Design, scope and run research processes and contribute to every aspect of a project.
  • Lead project team and the client teams to ask better questions.
  • Identify the best research methods for these questions.
  • Lead the research synthesis process, and generate insights that can inspire and inform innovative design which could be in the form of products, services, strategies, processes, ventures or experiences.
  • Articulate to the client the insights and stories behind the strategy and concepts we design.
  • Manage multiple stakeholder needs, interests, priorities and expectations effectively and sensitively.

Push our boundaries

  • Help lift the awareness and basic capabilities in design research within the Shanghai location, beyond that of the immediate design research team.
  • Reflect upon our existing research tools and methods, build systems and experiment with new methods that differentiate us from other market research service.
  • Develop points of view through cross-project synthesis to inspire colleagues, clients and the market, deepening our position as thought leaders and respected practitioners, and adding value to the discourse of tackling systemic challenges through a human-centered approach.

Work in a fast-paced, dynamic, multicultural and multidisciplinary environment

  • Leverage the diverse skill sets of our colleagues, from business design, interaction design to product design, to deliver great insights, projects and thought leadership.
  • Contribute to colleagues’ understanding of the cultural context of design challenges in China.

Some previous projects to check out:

We are looking for someone who has:

  • A minimum of 8 years of experience in areas including design research, market research, consumer insight or user experience in either a corporate or consultancy environment.
  • We also welcome candidates who have worked in fields other than research, where understanding business needs; research expertise; critical and analytical thinking; synthesizing, insight-identification and storytelling skills are central to the work.
  • Proven record of using research to answer business strategy questions and needs.
  • Mastery of research techniques such as in-depth interview, observation, immersion, documentation and insight generation.
  • Experience in interpreting insights into potential design and innovation opportunities and solutions.
  • Strong storytelling and presentation skills, and a passion for creative expression: it can be anything from writing to photography to music to drawing.
  • Understanding of a broad range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, and their tradeoffs.
  • A deep interest in China's economic, social and cultural development, and enthusiasm for how design can make a difference.
  • Excellent written and spoken Chinese and English.. 

Pop quiz:

Please give us a case study in which more than one research method was used, and tell us how the methods were chosen and what the output looked like. When describing this case study, mention also a “good” consumer insight and tell us why and how you think that insight is good in the context of the objectives you were trying to achieve.


Please provide three observations of society and a short written (in English and Chinese) reflection on each of them. And follow this format: take a photo of a moment or an interaction or a thing that incites your curiosity, please describe it, and provide your ethnographic reflections on it.

Application instructions:

To be considered for this position, please submit your resume, cover letter, portfolio and response to the pop quiz.