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Business Development Associate - Play Lab

Business Development Associate- Play Lab

In a nutshell

Our Play Lab studio is passionate about applying the principles of Play not only to kids and toys, but also to today’s toughest challenges, from finance to health, mobility, education, and more. How might Play help build loyalty, increase understanding and deepen engagement? To continue delivering the most innovative and delightful products, we’re looking to add a talented Business Development Associate to our team. The ideal person demonstrates a combination of business savvy, design sensibility, and relationship-building skills with both internal stakeholders and clients. While our Play Lab studio is currently based in Palo Alto, this role will split time evenly between our San Francisco and Palo Alto locations.   

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

IDEO Play Lab believes there is untapped demand for our Design for Play services and wants to hire someone that can support our design and portfolio leads with client cultivation. We are looking for someone who has experience working in collaborative environments to meet business goals, build relationships, and craft stories that connect a company’s capabilities with client needs. We see this person as a Producer—someone who works closely with IDEO designers and teams to prioritize opportunities, design projects that drive impact for our clients, and help IDEO explore new industries, design challenges, and capabilities.

Once here you will

  • Enable dream design work. Be responsible for shaping the collaborations that allow us to have impact in the world. This includes fielding incoming inquiries, qualifying new potential clients and partners, and framing inspiring opportunities with clients. Throughout, you’ll collaborate with the leadership team and broader design community to develop scopes of work and inspiring proposals that communicate how IDEO adds value in relation to different markets, industries, and design challenges.
  • Build relationships, internally and externally. In this role, you will quickly build internal cross-discipline relationships in order to effectively help generate and capture written, verbal and visual input from IDEO leadership and design teams in a collaborative way. Partnership development at IDEO requires a nimble connector that gets people around you excited about and engaged in the process of turning an initial inquiry into a project. A high EQ is a must.
  • Be an ambassador: You will be the first touch for new potential clients, ensuring a positive initial experience with IDEO. You’ll need to excite and communicate clearly with clients in person, on the phone, and through electronic communications.
  • Tell inspiring stories: You will be engaged in curating a portfolio of stories and assets that demonstrate the impact of our work. Building, shaping and crafting these stories in a thoughtful and proactive way to continually push our external conversations will be a large part of your mandate.
  • Get stuff done: You will follow-up on all leads to identify the client’s needs and evaluate if the opportunity is a good fit with IDEO’s capabilities and focus. You efficiently and effectively steer this process and all of the dimensions of getting programs set up -- from coordinating research to working with designers to develop proposals, to managing legal agreement workflow. We expect that you have an off-the-charts bias toward action and following through.
  • Connect with our designers: This role means being a nimble connector who gets people excited to be involved from initial inquiry through project completion. You'll be deeply immersed in design culture. Scoping design projects requires being familiar with individual designers, their skill sets and disciplines, and their passions. Because of this, an openness and desire to understand all the various aspects of design – and specifically IDEO’s design thinking approach – are critical.
  • Drive our systems: You will be responsible for maintaining visibility and transparency in our pipeline and new business process, along with creating ways to continually improve our internal systems. This involves ensuring regular updates on in-process and emerging leads and accountability for moving the process forward.

Moderate domestic and occasional international travel will be required.

Relevant Experience

  • 3-5 years of experience in client relationship management and business development, preferably within a creative environment. Relevant experience could also include strategy consulting, business development, journalism, grant writing, fundraising.
  • A strategic mindset to identify, evaluate and frame client opportunities that are aligned with IDEO’s capabilities and focus.
  • Exceptional writing and communication skills to effectively and efficiently bridge between IDEO and its clients.
  • The ability to create and deliver presentations, proposals, and other assets that clearly communicate an understanding of our clients, and IDEO’s values.
  • Strong project management skills with proven ability to prioritize tasks, keep momentum and develop timelines, involve and engage stakeholders, and maintain empathy for both internal and client teams.
  • A passion for bringing play into the world in new and creative ways that can create positive impact across industries.
  • A commitment to building partnerships and nurturing relationships while supporting teams to do great work.
  • Familiarity with Google Suite, Keynote and a CRM are preferred and InDesign experience is a plus.

Our work environment appeals to self-directed, flexible team players that have great interpersonal skills, learn quickly, embrace ambiguity, prototype new thinking. This person relishes the opportunity to work closely with clients as well as project teams, requiring design sensibilities, business acumen, and client empathy.

What does IDEO offer you?

IDEO is a place unlike any other. It’s a place where you can solve diverse, complex challenges for our clients or the organization, alongside thoughtful, intelligent individuals who lead with curiosity, empathy, and optimism. Sure we work hard, but we also intentionally craft moments that allow our community to pause, create, and connect. We encourage our community to bring their whole selves to work, respect the need for work-life balance, and allow for autonomy in the design process and your career.

Check out some of our work

Application requirements and instructions

Please apply with a resume and cover letter (yes, we read cover letters), as well as writing samples. We will only consider applications with writing samples.  They can be submitted in the form of a link or attachment. In your cover letter, please highlight your experience in shaping partnerships. Be sure to call out if you have experience with proposal/fundraising/grant writing, design, consulting and/or client management.

Equal Opportunity Employer

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.

Apply now
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