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Qualitative Design Researcher (Junior and Senior)

In a nutshell:

IDEO Chicago is looking for Design Researchers who can lead research across many different types of projects including generative “blue sky,” rapid and nimble iterative loops of prototyping and user feedback, and qualitative studies that bring confidence and move ideas closer to market launch. As an IDEO Design Researcher, you’ll travel domestically and globally to explore diverse human behaviors and lifestyles. You will work with multidisciplinary teams and use research findings to inform and inspire strategic decisions and design solutions. You’ll translate research insights into powerful stories that shift hearts and minds.

We are hiring for several different levels and flavors of research, if you see yourself described in any of them, or spread across some of them, we encourage you to submit an application.

The three types of people we are looking for are:

  • Someone who loves understanding why people behave the way they do and have the technical chops to dig deep into motivations.
  • Someone who has a proven track record of conducting research and translating it into design.
  • Someone who specializes in thinking about systems at scale and how larger societal contexts affect communities and populations.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

IDEO is a deeply human-centered creative consultancy. We seek inspiration from the people who are the intended users of the products, services, and experiences that we design. We strive to create emotional connections to people -- and we get our most compelling designs from this empathic connection. Design research is at the heart of IDEO’s work. We uncover insights by spending time with people, conducting thoughtful qualitative and quantitative research, and creating deep empathy within our design teams and with our clients.

Your primary role will be in both helping uncover and synthesize the diverse stories and insights that are the foundation for our designs, and keeping the team and client inspired by learning throughout the iterative design process.

Relevant experience:

  • You are mature enough in your background to bring with you a point of view, but also malleable enough to work with and learn from world class experts.
  • Familiarity with a wide variety of qualitative research methodologies, 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.
  • Experience applying research insights to creative design solutions.
  • Impactful and passionate communication skills.
  • Experience working in highly collaborative design teams, or other multidisciplinary teams.
  • (For senior role) experience working across a variety of sectors or industries.

Nice to have:

  • IDEO believes in and supports the philosophy of “T” shaped people. If you have some experiences in other talents, such as business design, communication design,  client management skills, fine art, photography, or other, that compliments your depth of research craft, please let us know.
  • Some experience with basic mixed methods research that includes quantitative data. In particular, it’s a bonus if you have experience designing simple surveys (with tools like Google Forms, Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey or Typeform) and then working with your results using basic descriptive analysis (like percentages, sums, and averages).
  • Experience working in international and multicultural settings.
  • Fluency in other languages such as Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and German.
  • (For senior role) experience working in consultancies or other professional services organizations, particularly supporting clients from large or Fortune 500 companies.
  • (For senior role) experience working with tech startups, particularly during the creative phase of start-up launch.
  • (For senior role) deep expertise in health, mobility, product, entrepreneurship, or marketing/branding.

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. Most of us feel that we get to do the best work of our lives at IDEO. 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, we respect the need for work-life balance, and we allow for autonomy in the design process and people’s career development.

Some previous projects to check out:

A New Way to Vote for the People of Los Angeles

Beyond Cars: Designing Smarter Mobility

Improving Quality of Life for Young Adults with Schizophrenia

Application requirements and instructions:

If you identify with our values, are excited about great design, and would like to contribute to our studio, we would love to see your resume, cover letter, and portfolio. Your portfolio should include 2-3 examples of projects you’ve worked on in a research capacity. We know that you are a researcher, and perhaps not a graphic artist, but use this portfolio as a way to showcase your communication skills, both visual and written. In your description of 2-3 example projects, focus on:

  • The challenge you were trying to solve
  • The industry you were working in
  • Your specific role on the project
  • The research approach and methods you used
  • Some of your key learnings, or insights
  • The impact of your research findings on design or business strategies.

We know that many of you are coming from fields outside of design. We think of design very broadly! So, include examples of products, services, programs, businesses or organizations, or experiences to which your research has contributed.

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.