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Design Researcher

Come create impact with us

IDEO is always looking for Design Researchers at our Individual and Lead levels to help inspire design solutions and inspire our clients to create human-centered impact. We have multiple North American openings throughout the year, with the option to work in one of our US locations (San Francisco, Chicago, or Cambridge) or remote - anywhere in the US or Canada.  Please apply to be considered for opportunities. 

Design Research is the heart of IDEO’s work, as Design Thinking begins with deep empathy and the understanding of people’s and community’s needs and motivations. Design Researchers create impact on our work by translating research insights into powerful stories that shift hearts and minds and directly influence the final design. Human-centered insights and a deep understanding of people and culture are critical to how we do our best work. Design Researchers at IDEO help our teams use design as a way of understanding people and culture while at the same time using what we learn to inspire and inform design.

A successful Design Researcher at IDEO is someone who’s curious and inspired by people; who’s able to surface, crystallize, and communicate great insights; and who can collaborate with design teams to create world-class human-centered products, services, experiences, and more. 

We’ve found that great Design Researchers can come from many different backgrounds. Innumerable paths can lead here, and we’re open to—and excited about—candidates with a wide array of past roles and experiences. You might be a journalist or an anthropologist; a community organizer or a user experience researcher; a brand strategist, an analyst or an activist; a musician or a psychologist. The most important qualification is that you’ve had professional experience connecting with people deeply; surfacing and articulating insights that can fuel design, and creating action plans and strategies based on your learnings.

What it Takes

A curious person who has the ability and desire to connect and learn with people through inclusive approaches. You have the ability to synthesize, recognize patterns, and make sense of complex inputs. You often seek relevant perspectives that are not usually heard, and like to experiment and explore new ways of doing research. 

The ability to craft research plans, research questions, and discussion guides are essential to your role, as well as strong organizational skills. You are someone who embodies research ethics, and thrives in a collaborative, ambiguous, and principle-driven (non-rules based) environment. Familiarity with qualitative and/or quantitative research is preferred. 

In This Role, You Will

You’ll use your proven track record in research or a similar role to:  

  • Conduct a wide variety of research, suited to the question or design challenge at hand. This means you’d have deep experience with qualitative research methods, such as: conducting one-on-one interviews and ethnographic-style fieldwork; moderating group conversations, running live prototyping sessions, conducting co-design workshops, and engaging users remotely. You’d also have some experience with quantitative methods, such as surveys, experiments, or secondary data analysis.
  • Discover, synthesize, and communicate the diverse stories and insights to inform both creative design solutions and strategic decision making.
  • Collaborate with others in the design research processes and build alignment with others who may have different perspectives, needs for research, and information processing styles. Insights and stories are most valuable when they are produced collaboratively; our design teams work together to make research output actionable.
  • Bring teams and clients along with you on the journey. Your job is about bringing your specific research expertise, but also being a guide for others.

What does IDEO offer you?

IDEO is a place where you can solve diverse, complex challenges 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.

Commitment to Diversity

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. We keep our diversity data public for the sake of accountability and transparency. These commitments will also be part of your journey at IDEO, so please feel free to read more about them here.

How to Apply

Not sure about your level of experience or area of expertise? Please err on the side of applying — what is important to us is how your work experiences have shaped you as a professional. 

Please apply with the following:

  • Resume (suggested 1 page max): Please highlight experiences related to the ‘What It Takes’ section of this job description.
  • Cover letter (suggested 1 page max): Please share why you are interested in this role and how it aligns with how you are looking to grow in your career.
  • Portfolio: Your portfolio can be web-based, a PDF, or whatever you feel best communicates your work. A portfolio should consist of a highly curated set of projects that demonstrates: 
    • A variety of approaches and projects
    • How you help turn insights into actionable design opportunities, products, services, or experiences
    • Your ability to communicate in a clear, concise way. For team-based work, please indicate your role 

We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Please note, if you are interested in Internship opportunities, those will be separate openings on our career site. This post is for opportunities at our Design and Design Lead levels. 



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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