Ideal job

Except for the whole “living in Chicago” bit, this sounds like the ideal job for me (from IDEO): Design Researcher

We’re looking for a Design Researcher who speaks “brand” to join our Chicago studio.

Likely interested parties:

Totally get the Adidas vs. Puma divide.

Probably Tweeted about SNL’s Netflix/Qwikster parody.

Enjoy reading the fine print on websites like Warby Parker or ZipCar.

Know why the American version of “Top Gear” is soooo “off-brand.”

Have a lifetime subscriptions to Adweek.

Take pleasure in reading Adbusters.

Even better:

You’re sick to death of working in a siloed organization.

Can’t believe you actually say things like “I’m sick to death of working in a siloed organization.” Um, hello? Wasn’t being an adult supposed to be fun?

Get jazzed about being thrown into unfamiliar situations or meeting new people.

Are calm under pressure.

Making connections between seemingly unrelated topics and then spend time trying to convince people to see them too.

Intensely curious about why people do what they do.

If this describes you, then we might have the right opportunity for you at IDEO as a Design Researcher. What’s that? May we translate? A design researcher is a key role in the IDEO process. They work with a team conducting primary research, which uncovers insights that both inform and inspire design and innovation.

Key Activities:
Every Design Research role at IDEO involves collaborating with interdisciplinary teams and with our clients to create innovative products, services, spaces, interactions, and experiences. Across all of our Design Research Specialists we are looking for:Individuals who are naturally empathetic and passionate about people – We look for those who have a natural skill to engage with people at a deep level. They should be passionate about understanding human behavior.

User research skills  – Design Researchers must be prepared to plan and lead user research to discover insights first hand. We are looking for people who can keep up a high degree of rigor throughout, but also can be innovative in their approach. Candidates should be familiar with ethnographic research, focus groups, and usability testing.

Deep insights – Applicants must have deep insights that help the team read between the lines and discover latent needs.

Ability to lead synthesis – Design researchers must be able to lead the team and often clients through analysis and synthesis processes, helping to distill the most important insights and linking them together in frameworks or principles for design.

Ability to connect insights to design – The insights and information drawn from research must be translated into an inspirational and useful foundation for design.

Strategic perspective  – In the variety of work that we do, many of our projects involve Design Researchers in strategic thinking based upon the insights gathered from the field.

Flexibility  – Our researchers tend to travel to client sites as well as “the field” which can be in domestic or international locations.

Additional Skills Required
Specifically for this role we desire an individual:who has experience and passion for understanding brand perception, and has a variety of methods in their personal tool kit that serve this purpose. who has experience identifying potential inconsistencies in the way a company positions itself, what it offers (product, service) and how it behaves as an organization. who has passion and experience for identifying (together with clients and designers) what the core of a brand is, what it stands for, and what its potential is. who has been involved in inspiring and working with clients and designers to create strategies for what a brand experience should be like. who is passionate about constantly observing brands, and understanding their connection with social and cultural behaviors and trends.
Please submit, in addition to your resume, at least one example of your work. Please do not upload text only versions of your work. It is helpful to see how you communicate with design teams. For example, please send:

A portfolio


A description of a project in which you had the chance to develop your field-based discoveries to the point of design outcomes or actionable design principles.

What I want to know is how does somebody train for this job, or build up to skills that compliment this job? It’s not like there are many college programs out there that train people to be design researchers for IDEO. I have training as an ethnographer, journalist, and researcher, but getting all that combined with a design background and maybe even some human factors or  web design, which I suspect they’re also looking for, is just a wee bit tricky.

Thoughts? Comments? Experience? Do you have insight into why IDEO is a horrible place to work and want to burst my bubble? Bring it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s