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Software Designer

In a nutshell:

IDEO Palo Alto is in search of a Software Designer who will lead small multidisciplinary teams in designing innovative solutions that apply technology and systems to address core user needs.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

Software Design Leads scale their expertise in designing technology and systems by enabling others and enacting our mission of humanizing technology. Their skillset is critical to our work because they provide unorthodox ways to push design, and advocate the generative possibilities enabled by software, computing, and programmatic thinking. They have a knack for navigating great design through ambiguity, and delivering the intended impact.

Once here you will:

  • Lead teams of multidisciplinary designers through the design process to innovate new approaches that optimistically bridge technology-to-people and people-to-technology.
  • Build strong, collaborative team dynamics, and support designers to grow towards their goals in service of the team’s design challenge.
  • Serve as a trusted advisor to our clients, ensuring they are understood and empowered to champion the solutions we develop together.
  • Learn through first-hand immersions with extreme users and analogous experiences, like watching a surgical procedure or exploring the house of a hoarder.
  • Collaboratively synthesize research into meaningful design iterations and prototypes that we can qualitatively test and quantitatively measure.
  • Lead our designs through to limited pilot or market launch, in stewardship with our clients and development partners.
  • Play a key role in growing and nurturing our integrated software design teams through craft leadership, mentoring and external professional relationships.

As a Software Designer in Palo Alto, we provide the opportunity for you to:

  • Solve problems in a broad set of domains, including health, consumer technology, mobility, augmented intelligence, and social impact.
  • Explore, develop, and apply concepts with emerging technologies, such as new user interaction technologies, augmented reality, or ubiquitous computing.
  • Author your team’s approach to the latest design challenge. Prototype a new way of amplifying design research or engineer a new cross-discipline, software-enabled proof-of-concept.
  • Balance a role as both guide and contributor, where you can continue to grow in Software Design and technical skills.

Some of our work to check out:

Relevant experience and mindset:

The Basics

  • BS or MS in Computer Science, or equivalent professional experience
  • 7+ years designing and building experiences, products, services, or solutions that demonstrate a high level of empathy for the end user
  • Team leadership experience in project-based or Product context
  • A depth in software with engineering experience in production applications and a clear understanding of what it takes to bring a product to market
  • Ability to dive into new contexts, gain expertise, learn new tools, and inspire others
  • Excellent communication, collaboration, facilitation and project management skills

What gets us excited

We are particularly interested in candidates that have demonstrated fluency in one or more of the following focus areas:

Software Product

  • You can speak about designing and delivering software-based product – identifying how technology, business, and user needs interrelate – with non-technical team members and clients in a way that’s accessible, credible, and inspiring,.
  • You have a fluency in a common development platform, such as web or device-native, and understand the best practices associated with engineering and delivery for that platform.
  • When designing for a new platform, or researching options, you have a process for learning to understand how designs will scale, and how we can best position design for impact on that platform.

Perceptive Systems

  • In designing perceptive systems, you understand ethical incentive structures, and how to enable new empathy-rooted possibilities for human-and-system collaboration through choice, motivation, and feedback.
  • Your appetite to pursue the gnarliest, most complex human and technical challenges – which elude many forms of rational investigation – has led you into the heart of systems thinking. You’re known for nonlinear problem solving and strong intuition for the future future.
  • You carry a resourceful toolkit to examine existing systems, deciphering enigmas in order to design interventions. You architect new systems from the ground up, shaping their inputs, outputs, and pathways to situate them in their worldly context.

Emergent & Immersive Interactions

  • Software is your primary means of creative expression, and with masterful technical artistry you can communicate meaning and extend human behavior
  • You inventively apply and augment computer science principles in order to achieve desired outcomes. You characterize underlying patterns and deconstruct a problem into its basic building blocks, drawing oblique connections to form new potential.
  • You work with emergent technology to pioneer new interactions at the frontier of what’s possible. You guide people across the uncanny valley to create experiences that immerse, sculpting intangibles like “feeling” via code.


Application requirements and instructions:

Please share 2 projects that best represent your capabilities, interests, and leadership, and that demonstrate deep technical expertise in at least one platform, language, or domain. Please include links to your Github repos, blog and/or website.

We will begin screening applications from mid-July 2018. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be in touch immediately.

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.