Business Development Associate (contract)

Shanghai, China

In a nutshell:

IDEO Shanghai is searching for a Business Development Associate, who will work closely with our infrastructure, design teams, and studio leadership to enable great project work and client experiences by supporting our thoughtful and fast-paced business development efforts.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

Business Development Associate help set the stage for our client engagements by seamlessly orchestrating the resources and processes that enable our studio to identify, articulate and execute on client opportunities. This individual will work with our teams to generate and coordinate compelling project proposals, presentations, and client touch points. 

Once here you will:

  • Act as a “producer” for the overall business development process (i.e. take ownership to get work done, set timelines, coordinate efforts and the contribution of others, track progress against target).
    • Track and support the overall business development process and follow up on potential client leads.  
    • Coordinate and drive teams to respond to business development needs based on the client / studio strategy to keep up momentum.
    • Navigate internal pricing tools to provide fee quotations appropriate for the scope of work.
    • Lias with procurement and legal teams, provide necessary information, and lead contract negotiation to finish the “last mile” of the business development cycle.
  • Develop an understanding of the client's needs and how IDEO’s work could support their goals.
    • Qualify the fit and viability of new client conversations, both in partnership with others and on your own.
    • Help undertake secondary research and client / industry analysis to support our understanding of client briefs to enable more effective and compelling project proposals.
    • Coordinate proposal writing and supporting assets to relay our project approach to clients in a meaningful, clear way.
    • Be responsible for business development data collection, maintenance, analysis and reporting. 
  • Collaborate with global and local teams to maintain and optimize a set of tools, processes, and systems that supports and governs our business development cycle.
  • Act as a point of “connection” between portfolio directors and the design community around pipeline and opportunities

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. 

As a Business Development Specialist in Shanghai, we provide the opportunity for you to:

  • Collaborate with people from different backgrounds such as interaction designers, business designers, communications designers, and design researchers.
  • Exposure and opportunity to work alongside senior leaders at IDEO facing executive level clients solving complex business and design challenges.
  • Be connected and exposed to both the client facing interactions and the ins and outs of what running a studio entails.
  • Become part of a culture that lets you both learn and teach while working with people outside of your immediate area of expertise.
  • Be challenged to think more holistically.

Relevant experience and mindset:

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

You will be ideal for this role if:

  • You have strong business acumen
    • 1-2 years of professional work experience in a fast-paced environment.
    • Has a strategic mindset and has experience with identifying, evaluating and framing business opportunities to different stakeholders.
    • Experienced with desktop research and analysis
  • You’re entrepreneurial, curious, creative, willing to try out new things. 
    • Get energized by a good challenge, no matter how ambiguous or complex, and not afraid to get his/her hands dirty.
    • Ability to act with nimbleness and flexibility.
    • Self-directed and able to anticipate needs and plan ahead. 
    • Never satisfied with the status quo and always proactively looking for opportunities to make your mark and make improvements for the good of all.
    • Strong time management and organizational skills. Is excellent at multitasking.
  • You have strong people orientation and enjoys collaboration
    • Enjoy and comfortable building relationships with individuals across all levels of an organization – both within IDEO and the client organization.
    • Have great interpersonal skills and experience managing multiple stakeholders dealing with different people dynamics
    • Finds reward through enabling and supporting others. Excellent and confident written and verbal communicator, both in Chinese and English
  • Other
    • Familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel, Keynote is a must... G-suite experience is a plus.
    • Experience in business development or account servicing
    • Passion for design and innovation is a plus

Question for you:

Tell us about a time when you were in charge of something and it all went horribly wrong. What did you do to get it back on track?

What superpower do you have to contribute that would help support IDEO’s Shanghai studio?

Application instructions:

Please apply online by uploading your resume and cover letter including your answer to the questions above.


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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