Design Researcher

In a nutshell:

IDEO San Francisco is in search of a Design Researcher who is inspired by people and culture, gathers great insights, and uses both inspiration and insights to fuel design teams.

In particular we are looking for applicants who have background in either of the following roles:

  • Design research in the context of creating digital products and services
  • Design research related to planning and strategy for brand/marketing

Why is this role critical for IDEO’s work?

Human-centered insights are critical to how we do our best work. Design Researchers at IDEO help our teams understand people and culture to inspire and inform design. They guide clients and teams through this research to discover, interpret, and communicate insights & opportunities in an inspiring way, while contributing to all phases of the design process.

Once here you will:

  • Lead all aspects of design research on a project
  • Create research plans and tools that are unique to client needs and constraints of projects
  • Plan and lead: interviews, observations sessions, remote studies, concept feedback, participatory design or any other methods you feel will help a team move forward
  • Lead teams through synthesis of insights necessary to fuel design and strategy
  • Help craft stories that bring insights to life in emotionally compelling ways (i.e. video, audio, engaging decks, or other formats)
  • Actively participate in the design of concepts and strategy fueled by insights
  • Help teams and clients engage with design research, teaching along the way

About you:

You have either a Digital Product or a Planning/Strategy Focus.  And by that we mean... 

  • Digital Product Focus:
    • Have experience conducting design research while working on digital products and with digital product teams. You understand the entire development life cycle–how products are designed, built, and iterated in today’s market.
    • Are comfortable with digital technology and conversant about the pieces of the product development life cycle.
  • Planning/Strategy Focus:
    • Have experience creating imaginative, unique and inspirational design briefs for brand campaigns, marketing and communication, or similar outcomes
    • Have personally conducted research and elicited feedback, whether from customers or stakeholders, for brand concepts in novel and compelling ways beyond traditional marketing approaches

 And in addition to having either a Digital Product or Planning/Strategy focus, we'd love:

  • 3-5 years of design research experience with depth in ethnographic and other qualitative research methods including: interviews, observation, diary studies, prototyping
  • Are able to apply these methods at different stages of the design process including: inspiring early design exploration, inform the initial opportunity, collect formative feedback to support iteration, and validate a go-to-market solution.
  • Are comfortable and conversant in best practices for surveys, analytics, A/B, multivariate testing, and are eager to learn more.
  • Have played a hands on role in helping turn your insights into tangible products other designed outcomes (we’re looking for more than decks and research reports). 
  • Have exceptional communication and storytelling skills, especially to clients unfamiliar with design research. Fluency in multiple media for storytelling–while grounding storytelling in research–a bonus.
  • Are comfortable in a self-directed culture and navigating ambiguity.
  • Bi-lingual strongly preferred.

What does IDEO offer you?

IDEO is 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.

Some relevant projects to check out:

Application requirements and instructions:

Please apply with a resume, cover letter, and a portfolio.

A design research portfolio should consist of a highly curated set of projects that demonstrates: (a) a variety of approaches and projects, (b) how you help turn insights into actionable design opportunities, products, services, or experiences, and (c) your ability to communicate in a clear, concise way. For team-based work, please indicate your role. A portfolio can be web-based, a PDF, or whatever you feel best communicates your work.

Please note: if you just send us a link to a website of projects that don’t answer (a), (b), and (c) we are not likely to really understand your story.

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.