Job: Design Research

Job Posting: Design Researcher at IDEO in New York

IDEO New York is looking for a Design Researcher to guide and inspire teams into uncovering meaningful human-centered insights that drive great design and innovation for our clients.

Why is this job important to IDEO?

Great design is born out of great research. Our Design Researchers lead clients and teams through a journey of human-centered research to discover insights and inspiration and contribute to all phases of the design process. We’re seeking an individual who is naturally empathetic and passionate about people. Design Researchers bring to life the voice of the people they’re designing for, connecting the internal design team and client organization to the human experience. With society and technology continuing to evolve at a breakneck speed, IDEO needs a Design Researcher to help us strengthen our digital fluency (through both using digital tools for research as well as doing research in the context of designing digital platforms and products) – to push the edges of how we search for insights and inspiration for both internal and client initiatives.

Relevant experience – what are we looking for?

The basics:

  • A minimum of 3 to 6 years of qualitative research experience culminating in a sound ability to scope a research process, lead fieldwork, conduct interviews and perform desk research. Design Researchers must be prepared to plan and lead fieldwork to discover insights first-hand. Candidates need a strong foundation in qualitative methods and contextual inquiry that has been further developed through the integration of digital methods.
  • Ability to synthesize research findings and to uncover and articulate insights that will inform and inspire design. Design Researchers must be able to lead the team (and often the client) through the analysis and synthesis processes – distilling down to focus on the most important insights, linking them together in frameworks or principles for design.
  • Ability to shape and lead strategic, systems thinking based upon insights gathered through research. Experience working within a variety of industries and/or background in organizational/business/brand/systems design is a plus.
  • Exceptional communication and storytelling skills; fluency and confidence in inspiring teammates and clients with user-driven rationale.
  • Ability to work flexibly and efficiently, exercising a balance between research rigor and inspiration. We are looking for people who can maintain a high degree of rigor throughout, but who also experiment in their approach and methodology.
  • High comfort level in working within a self-directed culture and navigating ambiguity.
  • Openness to critique from other disciplines and curiosity to learn from a spectrum of perspectives.

What gets us excited:

  • Strong dexterity and fluency with digital and all its pervasive ways to improve how we work at IDEO.
  • Experience using technology and digital methods to uncover needs (e.g.: experience conducting online ethnography, implementing remote user studies, using sensors or digital tracking tools, moderating/monitoring online communities, creating apps to track behavior, building web or digital prototypes to gather feedback, etc.).
  • An empathy and curiosity for how great brands and organizations navigate innovation and design.
  • An understanding of quantitative research methods and an ability to design and analyze surveys. Fluency in trend reporting is a plus.
  • Curiosity to experiment with new approaches to inspire teams and gather insights along the journey of a product, to discover the methods that best address the specific questions at hand.
  • A strong network in the creative and research community.
  • A passion for improving people’s life through design.

Once you’re here, you’ll…

  • Join a dynamic team of design researchers whose work is a key differentiator for IDEO in the design consulting world.
  • Work on projects within a multidisciplinary team often made up of designers, engineers, brand and business strategists, etc.
  • Be responsible for structuring human-centered research and leading the internal and client teams through fieldwork, analysis of findings and insight development.
  • Connect insights to design and collaborate with teammates to create innovative products, services, spaces, interactions and experiences.
  • Experience the process of great ideas emerging from a deep understanding of people, business and technology.
  • Travel to diverse regions inside or outside the U.S. to explore diverse human behavior and lifestyles.

Some previous projects to check out:

  • PingMD 2.0: PINGMD is a New York-based startup that offers a safe, easy way for healthcare providers, their colleagues, and their patients to communicate and collaborate via smartphone. The first version of PINGMD, which launched a few years ago, was based on the idea that many of these concerns could be addressed through quick, secure messages (text with photos or videos).  IDEO collaborated with PINGMD to optimize the app’s user interface, build new capabilities, and make the startup’s website work better on mobile devices.
  • Society of Grownups for MassMutual: MassMutual partnered with IDEO over a two-year engagement to design a service that might impart the wisdom of thinking long-term to those who don’t. Together we created a sort of master’s program for adulthood, where the curriculum covers everything from investing in a 401K to having that hard talk about a budget to how to pick good, cheap wine. IDEO helped build the new venture from the ground up—designing a brand identity, a digital platform with some of the most sophisticated financial planning tools in the industry, and a hip brick-and-mortar locale. Why “Society of Grownups?” Because we’re all here to help each other become a little smarter. And a little more grown-up.
  • The Royal Academy of Arts: As the Royal Academy of Arts approached its 250th anniversary, the institution came to IDEO to help create a digital strategy that would open new doors to its resources, reveal hidden avenues to new experiences, and offer broad vistas of its collection. The result is a website where an artist can learn more about RA schools; where the public can see a photo of the tidal creek that inspires painter Mali Morris; and the RA’s Collections Team can tell an unexpected story about David Hockney’s painting of the Grand Canyon. Organized around human needs rather than organizational structure, this new digital space allowed audiences to wander more freely in this immense storehouse of inspiration and awe. In April 2015, the Royal Academy of Arts received a Best-of-the-Web award by the Museums and Web Community in the “Long Lived” category.


Pop Quiz, Hot Shot:

How would you approach the research for designing a connected home device for a young family’s first apartment?

Application requirements and instructions:

If you identify with our values and would like to contribute to our studio, we would love to see your resume and cover letter (addressing the pop quiz above).