Business Designer

Tokyo, Japan

In a nutshell: 

IDEO is currently seeking a Japanese/English Bilingual Business Designer to join our Tokyo studio. We want someone who has a unique blend of real-world experience and theory, someone who likes to blur the lines between strategy and creative, who has a passion for bringing market-leading offerings and new ventures to market. You will work as a core member of IDEO’s interdisciplinary teams and our expectation is that you would quickly grow into a project leader, responsible for orchestrating and delivering across all areas of a design challenge.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

Business Designers make the biggest impact by generating new design opportunities by thinking creatively about financial impacts, risks, experiments, and data. Their skillset is critical to our work because they are passionate about trying new things rather than focusing on the best practices and they explore how approaches commonly adopted by start-ups might inform value creation for corporate clients. We count on them to inspire designers through business and entrepreneurial thinking.

Why IDEO Tokyo?

IDEO Tokyo’s mission is to help enable change in Japan through design and creativity. As part of a small studio that is still growing, this person must demonstrate a collaborative working style, great communication skills, and the ability to thrive in a non-rules based environment of innovation.

Once you are here you will:

  • Generate new design opportunities by thinking creatively about financial impacts, risks, experiments, data,
  • Be passionate about trying new things rather than focusing on best practices.
  • Collaborate with other designers to hack together new approaches that live at the intersection of multiple disciplines.
  • Explore how approaches commonly adopted by start-ups might inform value creation for corporate clients
  • Inspire designers through business and entrepreneurial thinking, even without necessarily considering themselves ‘a designer.’

Relevant experience and mindset:

  • Native level in Japanese and fluency in English.
  • At least 3 years of working experience, primarily with businesses located in Japan.
  • Demonstrable experience taking an idea from theory and analysis into a market launch. For instance, this could be an entrepreneur, a core member of a startup, a venture capitalist, or a product or marketing manager at a multinational corporation.
  • Fluency in designing business models, carrying out market research, and performing financial modeling.
  • Ability to take individual ownership to support the collective and make others successful.
  • Ability to pull together multiple different, and sometimes conflicting, inputs (data, qualitative feedback, hypothesis, etc.) into a common point of view.


  • You can coach and teach other designers (independently of seniority) about business and energize the community with an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • You are able to combine human stories and needs with hard data to identify a compelling path forward for product, service and venture creation.
  • Successful candidates will combine rigorous business acumen across all of the following areas, along with world-class depth in one or two: Marketing (Product or Brand), Product Development, Organizational Behavior, Operations, Finance.
  • You can work across work cultures and be comfortable with non-hierarchical organizations.
  • You are comfortable with ambiguity and taking ownership. You are able to define your own role and responsibilities, without being told what to do. 
  • You can bridge Japanese and western business cultures and practices.
  • You can help clients make difficult and innovative decisions within Japanese organizations.
  • You can ask smart and thoughtful questions in addition to coming up with innovative solutions.
  • You can work with, learn from, and contribute to the global community of Business Designers at IDEO.
  • An MBA or a bachelor's degree in business is helpful but not a requirement.

Some previous projects to check out:

Application requirements:

Along with a cover letter and resume, please include a response to the following questions with your application. Please keep your solution to 300 words or less.

  • What business model inspires you?
  • To what industry could you apply the business model to disrupt the existing players?
  • How could you prototype the offering?


IDEO is an equal opportunity employer; applicants are considered for all roles without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, citizenship status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital, parental, veteran or military status, unfavorable military discharge, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law.


Check out Inside Scoop to get the low-down.

At IDEO, we are committed to the work of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and in the world.

Our purpose of having disproportionate, world-changing impact through design is directly connected to our ability to bring many different perspectives to the table. This applies to our candidates, the people we hire, the clients and customers we serve, and the communities we learn from in our research.

As a human-centered organization, we are committed to working with and designing for people of every race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, physical ability or attribute, religion, national origin, or political belief. We recognize that this commitment requires ongoing work and sustained attention, as well as adaptation to new insights and best practices.

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