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Senior Design Researcher

In a nutshell:

Design Thinking begins with deep empathy and understanding of the needs and motivations of people. IDEO Cambridge is in search of a Design Researcher who is passionately curious, radically inspired by people, surfaces great insights, and collaborates with design teams to create human-centered products and services.

We find that there is no one background that begets a great Design Researcher. Instead, we’re open to a diverse array of past experiences–from journalists to anthropologists, analysts to activists, musicians to psychologists, and beyond. The most important qualification is that you’ve had professional experience connecting with people deeply, surfacing crisp insights, and creating action plans and strategies based on your learnings.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

Great design connects deeply to human needs, and design researchers craft the expedition to uncover them. Design Researchers lead clients and teams through a journey of human-centered research and inspiration to discover, interpret, and communicate insights and opportunities in an inspiring way. They bring to life the voice of the people we’re designing for.

Once here you will:

  • Work on projects within a multidisciplinary team often made up of designers, engineers, brand and business strategists, and other hybrid experts.
  • Design and structure the human-centered research portion of a project by planning for and then leading internal and client teams through fieldwork, findings analysis and insights synthesis.
  • Collaborate with teammates to translate insights into powerful stories and strategic designs for innovative products, services, spaces, interactions and experiences.
  • Travel to diverse regions inside or outside the U.S. to explore diverse human behavior and develop a deep understanding of the intersection between people, business and technology.
  • Bring your own unique perspective to our design team.

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, 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.

Relevant experience and mindset:

  • 4+ years of qualitative research experience in all stages of the process (scoping a research process, leading fieldwork, conducting in-context interviews, performing desk research, etc.)
  • Experience in leading design research for digital products is a plus.
  • Strong curiosity with new tools, technologies and methods that push learning in new directions, reach users in new ways, inspire the design team and content, or compliment depth of insight with scale
  • Exceptional communication and storytelling skills: fluency and confidence in inspiring teammates and clients with user-driven rationale; experience in not only telling stories but also translating insights into actionable ideas/design. Comfort in using data to find and/or support a story is a plus.
  • Ability to work flexibly and efficiently; exercising a balance between research rigor, extreme organizational skills, and leaving space for intuition and inspiration.
  • High comfort level in working within a self-directed culture and navigating ambiguity.
  • Openness to critique from other disciplines, curiosity to learn from a spectrum of perspectives, and experience or strong interest in collaborating closely with creative designers
  • Experience working within a variety of industries and/or background in organizational design, startups, and/or brand strategy a plus.

Pop Quiz:

A pharmaceutical company, Gulatex, has made significant advances towards preventing and treating childhood obesity. They believe their new product could help many young lives, but they’ve seen countless drug trials fail because the company didn’t understand the cultural nuances of launching with their target audience in Togu, a little-known island in the Atlantic. In Togu culture, childhood obesity is something to be celebrated. Complications of widespread childhood obesity, however, are contributing to an unsustainably expensive Togian healthcare system and early mortality rates. Gulatex has come to IDEO to get a better understanding of the cultural nuances of childhood obesity in Togu, and for recommendations on how to launch a culturally sensitive and successful drug trial. They want IDEO to consider everything from messaging campaigns to structuring trial participant commitments, to best practices for administering the medication and beyond. You’re the researcher on the project and need to lead your team of multidisciplinary designers through the research. Tell us your approach in 300 words or less. Go wide here- consider a wide range of methods, inspiration, and beyond.

Application instructions:

If you identify with our values and would like to contribute to our studio, we’d love to hear from you. Please apply with a resume, cover letter (addressing the pop quiz above), and a portfolio or relevant work samples. When submitting your work samples/portfolio, please indicate your specific role(s) and contributions for each project presented.

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.