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Senior Writer / Design Lead

In a nutshell:

IDEO Chicago is looking for a Senior Writer / Design Lead with a strong focus on Writing. The role is, in essence, that of a narrative designer. You’ll be finding, creating, and honing narratives all over the place, from uncovering insights during research and synthesis to crafting project deliverables that anchor and inspire our clients, as well as building and maintaining the narrative arcs of entire projects and relationships.

You’ll also act as a translator, working across multidisciplinary teams to establish a common language: From insight to concept, concept to reality, team to client, strategy to action, and from the language of design thinking to business and back.

You’ll also need to display leadership on client projects and within teams, whether acting as the sole project lead or advocating for your craft with team members and clients alike. You will embody the power of story with everything you do, and empower your colleagues to be clear, strong, and strategic communicators in a variety of media.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

The output of every IDEO project is — in one way or another — a vision of a future that does not yet exist. The narrative instincts and strategic clarity essential to this role will ensure that the vision delivered through our work is clear, compelling, and aligned with genuine human needs as well as our clients’ goals.

Once here you will:

  • Participate in user research with a particular focus on the stories people tell each other and themselves
  • Help synthesize insights from analogous and user research
  • Create design concepts and develop prototypes
  • Craft deliverables (e.g., design concepts, scripts, storyboards, briefs, handbooks, guidance documents, etc.) that inspire change and deepen the impact of our engagements
  • Lead multidisciplinary project teams

What does IDEO offer you?

IDEO is a place where you can take on diverse, complex challenges for our clients and the world, alongside thoughtful, intelligent individuals who lead with curiosity, empathy, and optimism. We work hard, but we also intentionally craft moments that allow our community to pause, create, and connect. We encourage everyone at IDEO to bring their whole selves to work, respect the need for work-life balance, and allow for autonomy in the design process our careers at large.

Writing at IDEO:

At IDEO, Writers work on dedicated multidisciplinary design teams. Writing, narrative discovery, and storytelling are not surface or superficial elements but rather core components of the design process, which show up in the course of developing initial concepts, building discussion guides for research, synthesizing insights, framing opportunities and creating project deliverables that bring a new vision to life.

Relevant experience and mindset:

Essential skills & mindset:

  • Strong primary and secondary qualitative research skills
  • Fluid multi-disciplinary collaboration
  • Ability to synthesize, recognize patterns, and make sense of complex inputs
  • Ability to understand and articulate business problems and business strategy
  • Ability to tell stories that inspire action 
  • Empathy for users and clients alike
  • Curiosity about people and their needs

Past experience in one or more of the following areas is essential:

  • Design thinking
  • Brand strategy
  • Journalistic writing
  • Fiction writing
  • Writing for radio, television or film
  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Academia

Some sectors of work to check out:

Application requirements and instructions:

To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter, and 3-5 writing samples that demonstrate the depth and breadth of your craft.

This application will close on Friday, August 30th at 12:00pm CDT.

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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