We’re on a mission to design a more equitable world. And we want your help.

IDEO.org has an opportunity for a Design Research Lead to join our Nairobi studio. As a seasoned researcher, you’ll be responsible for two domains of expertise: 

  • Ethnographic Research: Planning and conducting qualitative research with diverse communities and synthesizing what you learn into crisp insights that set the direction for the design of new products and services that improve people’s lives. 
  • Data-Augmented Design: Incorporating data science methods into a hybrid research process that considers micro and macro insights in synthesis and decision-making.

As a senior member of our design community, you’ll also lead projects—guiding a multidisciplinary team through the human-centered design process—from research through ideation, and ultimately, bringing new solutions to life.

 Design Researchers come from diverse backgrounds. There are many paths that lead here, and we’re excited about candidates with a wide array of past roles and experiences. You might be a journalist or an anthropologist, an analyst or an activist, or just about anything else. The most important qualification is that you’ve had professional experience connecting deeply with people, surfacing and articulating insights, and creating action plans and strategies based on your learnings. 

You will:

Demonstrate excellence in design research

  • Design and structure the research portion of projects, lead teams through fieldwork, findings analysis, and insights synthesis, and translate insight into action.
  • Identify the most powerful, interesting, and relevant questions to ask research participants, and collaborate with other designers to create new tools and methods to help answer them
  • Plan and design for quantitative studies that inform decision-making on teams
  • Go regularly to the field to build empathy for users' needs first-hand—conducting interviews in people’s homes, shadowing someone through their day, and interviewing experts
  • Inspire the team with analogous inspiration—finding creative ways to unlock new solutions
  • Share stories from the field to unlock teams and partners and provoke great design design

Lead design engagements with our partners

  • Set the creative and strategic direction across a variety of design challenges: interaction, product, space, and service design
  • Co-design measurement, learning, and optimization strategies with partners that will enable them to optimise solutions for scale and cost-effectiveness beyond our design engagements. 
  • Instill confidence in the design process among our partner organizations
  • Work with teams to prototype solutions at various levels of fidelity
  • Support partners to steward the solutions we design to market
  • Work closely with Impact Leads and Business Designers to strengthen the frameworks and tools that ensure our designed solutions can achieve impact at scale.  

Guide and mentor other designers

  • Champion design excellence within teams, illuminating the difference between “good” and “great” work, and helping teams to get there
  • Guide other designers across the Nairobi studio to plan, execute, and incorporate best practices in design research into their projects, including coaching individual designers looking to grow their own skills 
  • Help teams understand customer needs, attitudes, and behaviors through thoughtful & actionable research.
  • Bring your own unique perspective to our design team
  • You work without close supervision but you seek out and welcome feedback from senior design leaders and managers

You are:

  • An experienced design researcher with 6-10 years of relevant work experience including planning and leading research activities such as interviews, group sessions, observations, and synthesis sessions
  • An absolute professional who leads by example, treats peers and partners with respect, and seeks and gives constructive feedback
  • A top-notch communicator, able to convey research insights and complex concepts to a wide diversity of audiences in simple, human terms
  • Comfortable switching seamlessly between self-directed independent work and highly collaborative teamwork
  • Highly collaborative. You use your knowledge of the design process in collaboration with other researchers, designers,  strategists and project leads to help transform complex problems into easy-to-use solutions. 
  • Deeply curious and highly attuned to human behavior and emotion
  • A lifelong learner, passionate about experimenting with new research methods and pushing your own craft in new ways
  • Experienced in or passionate about working with poor and marginalized communities both domestically and internationally and tackling challenges related to poverty and inequity 
  • Experience with field studies, participatory design, heuristic evaluations, and competitive testing is also preferred.
  • Excited to travel nearly anywhere in the world

Equal Opportunity Employer:

IDEO.org 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.

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