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Business Development Associate

In a nutshell

IDEO San Francisco is in search of a Business Development Associate who will partner with teams to design opportunities that connect IDEO’s offering with client needs. The ideal person demonstrates a combination of business savvy, design expertise, and relationship-building skills with both internal stakeholders and clients.

Please note that we ask applicants to submit 2-3 writing samples in addition to a resume and cover letter.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

IDEO San Francisco believes there is untapped demand for our products and services and want 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

  • Collaborate with Design and Portfolio Directors to help realize IDEO’s vision by attracting clients and project engagements that reinforce our creative and business narrative.
  • Shape client engagements, managing the proposal process from developing the brief through signature and kickoff.
  • Serve as a trusted advisor to our clients and project teams by asking the right questions, being empathetic to our clients’ business, and help us deliver world-class design
  • Work with a leadership team to experiment with new ways of creating and building client relationships, and delivering value to clients.

Relevant Experience

  • 3-5 years of experience in client relationship management and business development, preferably within a creative environment and/or design consultancy.
  • Comfort with and excitement for engaging with design teams and clients.
  • 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.
  • Strong critical thinking skills, including the passion for asking good questions, gathering insights, and interpreting information into meaningful and relevant internal and client communications.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills both internally and externally including experience telling compelling stories. Strong presentation skills are a plus.
  • The ability to create and deliver presentations, proposals, and other assets that clearly communicate an understanding of our clients, and IDEO’s values.
  • Experience and willingness to help colleagues see the potential in projects and encourage creativity.
  • Facility and comfort with developing connections with people inside and outside of an organization


  • Experience with creative tools like InDesign and Keynote is a plus, as it will be a part of your daily activities.
  • Empathy for design, and interest in finding creative ways for design thinking to solve complex business challenges.
  • Experience working in a company with a focus on Industrial Design projects.

Our work environment appeals to self-directed, flexible team players that have great interpersonal skills, learn quickly, embrace ambiguity, prototype new thinking and relish the opportunity to guide potential clients and project teams in translating challenges and questions into opportunities for innovation. This role requires design sensibilities, business acumen, and client empathy.

What does IDEO offer you?

IDEO is a place unlike any other.  It is a place where you can solve diverse challenges for our clients and the organization, alongside thoughtful individuals who lead with curiosity, empathy, and optimism. Sure we work hard, but we also craft moments that allow our community to pause, create, and connect. We encourage our community to 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 2) cover letter (yes, we read cover letters), as well as writing samples. We ask that you please share 2-3 writing samples.

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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