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Design Director

In a nutshell:

IDEO London is in search of a Design Director to be part of a senior leadership team with shared responsibility for a creative community of over 40 multidisciplinary designers in London.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

We think this is an extraordinary opportunity for you as a creative leader. You will be able to create impact on many levels; on our team, on our design content, on the way we work with clients, as well as in the world around you.

You will be tackling some of our clients' toughest systemic challenges; from building the future of manufacturing to evolving financial services, from designing health, retail and lifestyle experiences to building digital and physical products. We are interested in helping organisations make change, but always from a human-centred perspective. 

Once here you will:

There are three key areas of responsibility for this role:


One of IDEO’s superpowers is human-centred design. Two core tenets to this approach is being human-centred in the way we research and design outcomes (including end users, customers, our client’s employees, and the world around the solutions), as well as our ability to ‘build to think’ (making ideas tangible quickly to test and iterate). We apply these approaches to everything, from designing new education systems to exploring the role of emergent technologies in the world.  

As a Design Director at IDEO, you will be an exemplar of design excellence. You will lead multidisciplinary teams, often using the design thinking process, to create world-class design solutions, that will have an impact both inside and outside of IDEO.

A key part of this role is about working through others and making them successful. You are leading, coaching and inspiring teams (where a team might also include IDEO partners, external collaborators and clients) to design solutions that go to market through existing and exciting new ways.

You will already have a strong point of view on how design can better shape the world and would be encouraged to use that to contribute to IDEO Europe’s strategy - unlocking the creative potential of organisations so they can use design to create a positive impact in the world.


IDEO creates an impact in the world through our deep relationships with clients. Over the years, IDEO has evolved from a project by project culture, to a more programmatic client relationship strategy, in a bid to achieve the greatest impact with our clients in the world at large.

As Design Director you will play a key role in inspiring our clients to consider how design can add further value to their business, within projects already scoped and beyond. You will build strong relationships with client stakeholders and contributors to ensure we are partnering with the right people within their organisation to drive their strategy forward.

Within a client relationship, IDEO will collaborate to help design everything from purpose to new business opportunities and ventures, associated products and services, to the scaling of propositions through their business. You will have an opportunity to contribute and partner with other directors in the delivery of all of these.

You will have accountability across the lifecycle of a client relationship - from new and ongoing conversations, through business development, right up to delivery and following up with next steps.

As a leader you and your fellow Directors will provide consistent guidance, mentorship and support to IDEO teams of all levels of seniority, sharing knowledge as well as progress against our strategic plan.


One of the reasons we think IDEO is able to attract and retain exceptional talent, as well as a reason that clients often quote as to why they enjoy working with us, is our creative culture.

IDEO’s culture is a sum of its parts. We all have the opportunity to contribute and lead the creative community in exciting ways, however as a design director you are able to help build, develop and inspire that community - from hiring new and existing capabilities, through to celebrating great work. You will be a role model of IDEO values, to help foster a growing culture of creative excellence and leadership development.

You will actively connect with networks in and outside of IDEO, to share our point of view, as well as to gain inspiration from the amazing global communities around us. You will be able to help grow our network of inspiring people and connections for future collaborations, freelancing and recruiting opportunities.

What does IDEO offer you?

Ask anyone in IDEO London why they like working here and they will say it’s our people and the diversity of challenges. It’s a place where you can use design thinking to solve complex problems for our clients, alongside thoughtful, intelligent individuals who lead with curiosity, empathy, and optimism.

We certainly work hard, but we also intentionally focus on our culture to design events where we pause, create, and connect. We encourage our community to bring their whole selves to work and respect the need for work-life balance.

IDEO provides you with support and development throughout your time here, while allowing for autonomy in the design process and in your career.

IDEO has had a studio in London for over 30 years. Over that time, we have grown in the scale of our influence and impact. Although we still work across every industry and sector, our consistent purpose to deliver positive impact through design has meant that we have enabled companies all over the world to be creatively competitive.

Relevant experience and mindset:

  • Extensive work experience in various creative consultancy or agency environments.
  • A proven track record of designing products and services with clients that have gone to market.
  • Experience developing and leading client relationships, building lasting and impactful partnerships.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and expertise guiding teams and supporting the learning and development of individuals.
  • A proactive, creative problem solver that thrives in a highly collaborative, fast-paced environment. You will be familiar with design thinking but also have worked with other types of problem-solving processes and practices.
  • A passionate and inspiring champion of design as a craft.  You will have a developed point of view, with experience sharing this inside and outside of the organisations you have worked for.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, in internal and externally-facing capacity.

Some previous projects to check out:

Question for you:

Please give a brief description of a moment in your career that highlights your experience of leading in Creative Excellence, a Meaningful Relationship and an Inspired Culture.

You can submit images or text, but please keep the word count to less than 500 words.  Please include your description as part of your cover letter.

Application instructions:

To apply, please submit your CV, cover letter (with your submission of response).

Applications will not be reviewed without submission of response. Just to say in advance, we appreciate you taking the time and consideration.

Deadline is Friday 29th March 2019.

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