Design Lead

IDEO.org, Nairobi, New York, OR San Francisco

See jobs at IDEO.org


We are always actively looking to connect with candidates that meet these qualifications, though we do not currently have an active opening for this position. Therefore, it may be a few weeks or months before you are contacted about next steps.

We’re a tight-knit group of designers, strategists, builders, writers, and connectors fueled by curiosity, optimism, and a passion for social change. Our work tackling some of the world’s toughest design challenges takes us all over the world—from communities across Asia and Africa to neighborhoods in our own backyards.

Position Summary

Design Leads lead multidisciplinary design teams to turn human insights into tangible products and services that improve the lives of low-income people. You may have started your career as an interaction, industrial or communications designer, but by now you’re fluent in the full design process—from research to strategy to implementation—and comfortable leading teams through it.

Craft is a given. Leadership experience is a must. Passion for fighting global poverty is absolutely critical.

You will:

Inspire great design (and get your hands dirty)

  • Champion design excellence within teams, illuminating the difference between “good” and “great” work, and inspire teams to get there
  • Set the creative and strategic direction across a variety of design challenges: interaction, product, space and service design.
  • Conduct design research in low-income communities across Asia, Africa and the United States, and move quickly into prototyping solutions at various levels of fidelity

Lead relationships with key partners

  • Instill confidence in the design process among our partner organizations
  • Support partners to steward the solutions we design to market
  • Communicate the story of IDEO.org’s work with partners, funders, and other stakeholders.
  • Develop and deliver progress reports, requirements, documentation and presentations.
  • Be the point person in collecting data that shows the impact of our solutions once launched

Guide and mentor other designers

  • Instill project teams with the confidence and discipline to explore innovative design solutions
  • Support designers to infuse their passions into projects and learn new skills
  • Be collaborative and contribute to healthy team motivation and morale, offering emotional and logistical support.
  • Contribute to IDEO.org studio culture


You have:

  • 5+ years of professional experience in a design consultancy or equivalent position leading multidisciplinary design teams
  • An obsession with what design and technology can do for people.
  • Experience managing clients and partners—from early stage companies to mature organizations.
  • Solution-focused and medium-agnostic, willing to step out of your core skill set or discipline to find the correct solution to a challenge.
  • Fluency in the human-centered design process from qualitative research and synthesis to ideation, prototyping, and implementation.
  • Willing and able to travel internationally ~30% of the time.
  • Cultural sensitivity, creativity, and resourcefulness—as comfortable finding your way through a bustling market in Uganda as you are in a design studio workshop

About IDEO.org

About us IDEO.org is a non-profit design and innovation organization focused on solving challenges in poverty and spreading human-centered design through the social sector. Human-centered design enables organizations to create and deliver innovative solutions to pressing challenges that are rooted in the needs of people. IDEO.org works directly with organizations on projects using the human-centered design process across a wide range of focus areas related to poverty, including health, financial services, gender equity, water and sanitation.

Want to learn more about IDEO.org? Visit IDEO.org's website.