Senior Design Researcher

IDEO, Palo Alto

A global design company creating positive impact through design

Role summary:

IDEO’s Palo Alto studio is looking for a senior design researcher who can lead research across many different types of projects.  This role is perfect for you if you love observing people to uncover their deep needs and values, enjoy designing clear survey questions that engage respondents, and can integrate stories from interviews with patterns from data analysis to understand people’s lives and uncover their needs. You should have a curious mind and naturally make connections between diverse fields and industries. You use this diverse input to illuminate new insights about people that reveal opportunities for the future, and naturally come up with new ideas to address these opportunities… and you love leveraging stories and data to inspire people and help them take action – whether that’s in the form of presentations, photos, articles, films, or interactive sites.

And now, after 3 or more years of professional experience in research, you’re ready to join a firm that cares about helping to create positive impact in the world, and you’re keen to leverage your research skills as part of a multi-disciplinary team to help envision new solutions in the world.

Why is this job important to IDEO?

IDEO focuses on the human element, seeking inspiration from the user and striving to create emotional connections that lead to compelling experiences. Design research is at the heart of IDEO’s work. Uncovering insights by spending time with people, conducting thoughtful qualitative and quantitative research, and creating deep empathy within our design teams ensures that our design work is underpinned by a strong human-centered foundation.

Once you are here:

You will lead research across industries, including mobility, health & wellness, consumer products and organizational change. You will have the opportunity to shape new research methods that might include ethnography, IDEO’s unique approach of integrating qualitative and quantitative research to inform design, behavioral science, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and more. You will travel domestically and globally to explore diverse human behavior and lifestyles. You will work with multidisciplinary teams and use research findings to inspire design and strategic decisions. You will translate research insights into powerful stories that shift hearts and minds.

Some previous projects to check out:

  • A New Way to Vote for the People of Los Angeles: Working closely with LA County staff, IDEO designers created a voting system that addresses the complexities unique to that voter base, including its vastly diverse population and its myriad election laws and policies. It was imperative for designers to build a system that would be useful and accessible to all types of voters: those who are vision and hearing impaired, in wheelchairs, have learning disabilities, are unfamiliar with technology, speak languages other than English—voters of all ages and backgrounds.

  • Beyond Cars: Designing Smarter Mobility: While the owner of the very first commercially available Model A—Chicagoan dentist, Ernest Pfennig—couldn’t see more than a century ago how cars would change the world, Ford is squinting into its future by prototyping it now. Building on a longstanding relationship with IDEO, the carmaker approached us, along with a number of other partners, to undertake two of 25 experiments exploring a car company’s place in the changing world of mobility.

  • Planned Parenthood’s New Way Forward: As the healthcare landscape continues to shift, Planned Parenthood is evolving to lead the progress. For the past year, the organization worked side by side with IDEO to rethink and prototype a patient and employee experience that elevates individuals and their health and well-being. Together, the teams designed a number of patient and employee interactions and corresponding prototypes that address different patient needs: education, personalization, connection, and support for any decision.

Relevant experience: 

  • You have a degree in behavioral science, cognitive science, organizational behavior/ industrial psychology, statistics or similar
  • You have 3+ years of research experience
  • You have experience with quantitative research and a genuine passion for data, and you designed surveys or analyzed data. Experience using SPSS and running segmentation studies is a plus
  • You have experience leading qualitative research and are familiar with a variety of methodologies. These methods might include conducting in-person and remote interviews, moderating group conversations, or using prototypes to collect feedback
  • You have experience with storytelling through various mediums and formats
  • You have applied research insights to creating design solutions
  • You have worked at startup companies, consulting firms, or other professional services firms
  • You have experience working within a variety of industries. Background in mobility, organizational change, digital products, and health & wellness is a plus

 Application instructions:

Please upload your resume, cover letter, list of recent research projects, and portfolio. The list of your recent research projects should include a 1-2 line description of each project. Your portfolio should include 1-2 research projects you enjoyed working on with a description of each, focusing on illustrating:

  • The challenge you were trying to solve
  • The research approach and methods used
  • One or two key learnings
  • The impact of your research findings on design or strategies

About IDEO

IDEO has roots dating back to 1978. Today, IDEO is an award-winning global design and innovation consultancy. We create positive impact through design by taking a human-centered approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate, grow, and bring to market new ideas. 

Want to learn more about IDEO? Visit https://www.ideo.com/