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Content + Resources

Applying to IDEO

See an open role that fits your experience and passion? Fantastic! As you apply, keep in mind that we really want to know how you think. We’re looking for collaborative people who love solving complex problems. If you have a portfolio, lead with it. If not, consider crafting a nontraditional cover letter that will help us understand your values. Be sure to let us know how you approach projects, work with others, and communicate. In short, help us understand how your expertise can make an impact at IDEO.

Once you submit your application, someone from our recruiting team will review it and reach out to you directly if they’d like to schedule an interview. Whether or not we contact you your application will remain on file for future openings.

Looking for more guidance on how to apply? Check out this interview with our global head of talent, Duane Bray, for some heartfelt advice.

Our Values

IDEO has seven core values, and we live them every day we come to work. They serve as the foundation of our culture, and they drive the way we work with each other and with our clients. Part of our interview process is trying to assess if you share these seven values:

Be Optimistic
Make Others Successful
Take Ownership
Embrace Ambiguity
Learn from Failure
Talk Less, Do More

To learn more, check out The Little Book of IDEO. You can read about how the book came to life here.

Our Interview Process

The first round

To start, we typically reach out to set up a call or video chat. This conversation is meant to get everyone on the same page in terms of role expectations, salary, and your capabilities.

The second round

We dive deeper into your skills, assess how well you align with IDEO’s values, and, depending on the role, assign homework or design exercises. During this round, we take the time to get thoroughly acquainted with each candidate.

The final round

Finally, we schedule an extended session on-site so you can meet several IDEOers and studio leaders. This session is tailored to each candidate, but activities may include sitting in with a project team, participating in a brainstorm, or presenting a completed exercise. We want to get to know you while you learn about us.

How We Work

“Years ago, when we started, we were just engineers and designers working together. But today, we have social scientists and business designers and journalists and people we never would have dreamed would be in our camp. And we’re going places that are new to the world because those disciplines have never worked together before in this effective way.” David Kelley, IDEO Founder

The way we work is deeply collaborative from start to finish. We work shoulder-to-shoulder in multidisciplinary project teams and always make key decisions together, whether we’re out in the field conducting research, working on rapid prototyping in our project spaces, or presenting to our clients in their boardrooms.

If you’re someone who needs heads-down time to concentrate, don’t fret. We structure the day so that each team member can take ownership of his or her workflow. Regular sharing and feedback cycles help teams push the design process forward.

Outside of the design process, we try to make each other successful by sharing our skills, which is why we host events like Nerd Night, IDEO Stories, and Kraftwerks, where IDEOers teach each other about the latest in tech, flex their storytelling muscles, and connect with colleagues inside and outside their disciplines to advance their craft.

Setting You Up for Success

Everyone at IDEO has one thing in common: We were all newbies once. Our onboarding process may look a little different at each location, but we always make a concerted effort to guide new IDEOers through their first few weeks. These early days include informal meetings, lunches, and coffee chats with experience and content experts to build one-on-one relationships and help new employees get the lay of the land.

In addition to local welcomes, all employees attend a global onboarding event in San Francisco called IDEO 101, which takes place twice a year. IDEO 101 is an immersive, three-day curriculum of storytelling challenges, design talks, organizational wayfinding, and fun, relationship-building activities.

Check out this short video for a sneak peek of IDEO 101.

Leading for Creativity

At IDEO, leadership comes from everywhere, and everyone learns how to be a better leader. We lead by building credibility and influence, inspiring our colleagues, and becoming proficient at teaching others. Leadership skills like these are essential inside IDEO, and are increasingly in high demand elsewhere, as creative organizations strive to shape the world we live in.

Once here, you’ll build your chops by solving complex, intersectional problems alongside clients and colleagues, participating in all phases of the design process, and constantly engaging with diverse points of view.

Our career development program, IDEO Journeys, will support your personal and professional growth every step of the way. The system is designed to empower each employee to align his or her purpose and passion with IDEO’s business needs and co-create development objectives with leadership to define a path forward.

Parental Leave

Starting and growing a family is a very exciting thing. IDEO recognizes that this is one of the biggest milestones of a person’s life and has designed Parental Leave policies that provide benefits to both primary and secondary caregivers. See here for our US policy. For details relating to our parental leave policies in Shanghai, Tokyo, Munich and London please reach out to your local recruiter by getting in touch at feedback@ideo.com.


Throughout the year, we bring in dozens of interns from a variety of academic backgrounds to work alongside our full-time designers. Together, they tackle real-world design challenges—and some interns have even gone on to become full-time IDEOers. Invariably, our interns make a significant impact on IDEO’s work and culture, and share inspiration with our design community.

We post internships—all of which are paid—on our Jobs page as they open. We strongly prefer students who are currently pursuing a degree—including international students on visas.

Freelancers and Contractors

Contractors, freelancers, fellows, and creative residents, as well as the IDEO + network in New York, make up an integral part of our design community. Check out our Jobs page, where we post contract and residency roles alongside full-time positions.