IDEO.org is a nonprofit design studio on a mission to design a more just and equitable world
We partner with nonprofit organizations, foundations, and governments to design programs, products, and services focused on improving health, economic mobility, and wellbeing.
Over the past 10 years, our work has expanded beyond traditional service and product design in the social sector, and we are now regularly working hand-in-hand with communities and local organizations to design interventions in service of more equitable outcomes. Some examples include launching an incubator in Kenya for girl-led solutions to reproductive health, working with communities in Southern Dallas to improve access to social benefits, and building a collective of leaders to advance health equity in the U.S.. We’re currently looking for an Executive Design Director to join our team who can grow, lead, and mentor our design teams. You will report directly to the CEO and serve on IDEO.org’s executive leadership team.
This role would be a fit for you if you are passionate about growing and nurturing creative talent and teams and have the ability to advance our practice of design, through a lens of equity, systems change, and co-design methodologies. You're excited to demonstrate, inspire, and model creativity, inclusivity, and rigor in order to build impactful solutions. Your love and experience of mentoring designers, building community, and identifying opportunities to support people's growth and development, are all in service of your ability to build an inclusive culture that fosters a strong sense of belonging for all.
Your role will focus on defining creative excellence in the work IDEO.org does out of its New York and San Francisco studios and you will work with the Executive Design Director in Nairobi and the Chief Marketing Officer to define and communicate creative excellence across IDEO.org. You will do this by leading a team of Design Directors, building the design community in the U.S., and rolling up your sleeves to work alongside designers on projects.
- You have a background in design (likely communications design, interaction design, or product design)
- You have led creative teams in complex organizations or systems (this could be a large company, a government agency, or a nonprofit)
- You have a demonstrated commitment to IDEO.org’s mission of designing a more just and inclusive world and want to dedicate the next chapter of your career to equity-centered social impact design
- You are naturally a systems thinker—you can navigate complexity and bring tangibility to design solutions
- You are a strong leader of people and builder of creative culture
- You are an outstanding manager, mentor, and coach to people of all backgrounds
Leading the design community (⅓ of your time)
- Bring diverse inspiration and perspectives into the design community, fostering a creative, pluralistic, culture that emphasizes learning, playfulness, and making things together
- Work closely with the HR/DEI Director to spotlight opportunities to ensure the all members of the design community has the right support mechanisms and conditions to thrive
- Convene, connect, and build a community that fosters strong relationships and cross-pollinates work across our design community.
- Partner with the COO and the talent team to shape IDEO.org’s overall talent strategy, including areas such as recruiting, onboarding, teaming, learning and development, performance management, career development, and employee value proposition
Strengthening our design work (⅓ of your time)
- Ensure program and project teams are producing high quality work aligned with IDEO.org’s strategy, through fostering a strong team of Design Directors and by working directly with design teams as a guide.
- Partner with our Managing Directors to ensure that the projects and programs we scope are design-led, create the conditions for us to deliver design excellence, and reflect the skills and interests of IDEO.org’s design community
- Support the partnership team on high value opportunities that align well with our design community’s capabilities to infuse the partnership development process with design, inspire our potential partners, and ultimately, win and deliver great work
- Work closely with the Design Director of Equity and the Managing Director of Impact to reflect on equity and impact in our work and identify opportunities to strengthen our processes and methodologies
Advancing the organization (⅓ of your time)
- Partner with the CEO, other members of the leadership team, and the board to craft and execute IDEO.org’s strategy, priorities, and goals in a way that positions IDEO.org for transformative and sustainable impact
- Craft, communicate, and execute on a vision for what design excellence means at IDEO.org - prioritizing systems change, community co-design, and design for equity
- Work with the communications team to create presentations and perspective pieces that showcase social impact design for the social sector and for designers.
- Create and share content and craft POVs that demonstrate the value of design to the social sector and the value of the social sector to designers
- 12+ years of experience in design
- Mastery of the human-centered design process
- Experience working collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams
- Experience building and leading teams of creatives
- Experience building and managing relationships with external partners
- Adept at synthesizing data, distilling complexity, and storytelling
- Cultural sensitivity, creativity, and resourcefulness
- A passion for inclusive leadership and creative collaboration
- Willing and able to travel domestically and internationally up to ~25% of the time (once we’ve determined as a community that it’s safe to travel again).
What You Can Expect from Us
- Direct support from and collaboration with IDEO.org’s CEO and Executive Team.
- A diverse and multidisciplinary team that is passionate about advancing our mission to design a more just and inclusive world. Currently 63% of IDEO.org’s staff identify as BIPOC.
- A team of collaborators focused on advancing systems design, community co-design, and design for equity.
- A talent team committed to supporting the development of the design community.
- A community of creative thought partners across San Francisco, New York, and Nairobi.
- Generous benefits including medical, dental, vision, 4% 401k match, commuter benefits, phone plan coverage, and parental leave.
- Endless Summer Fridays—ending the workday at 1:30pm on Fridays, in recognition of the emotional labor of the work we do.
- An unlimited vacation policy which generally equates to approximately 4 weeks per year plus 9 paid holidays. In addition, we are closed globally Dec 24-Jan 1 inclusive every year.
- Employees who have been with the organization for five years are eligible for a five week paid sabbatical.
- Relocation reimbursement is available for this role as needed
IDEO.org’s Commitment to Diversity
At IDEO.org, we are committed to the work of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within our organization and in the world. Our mission to design a more just and inclusive world is directly connected to our ability to bring many different perspectives to the table. This applies to our candidates, the people we hire, and the partners and communities we work with.
As a human-centered organization, we are committed to working with and designing for people of every race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, physical ability or attribute, religion, national origin, or political belief. We recognize that this commitment requires ongoing work and sustained attention, as well as adaptation to new insights and best practices.