IDEO.org is a nonprofit design studio on a mission to design a more just and inclusive world. Our work is rooted in shifting social systems toward a more just future. We partner with communities, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and governments to co-create solutions focused on health equity, early learning and care, social services, and economic justice.
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 quality health care, and working with refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities in the US to ensure everyone has access to reliable information about COVID-19.
What is Design Strategy at IDEO.org?
Design Strategists don’t always have this job title. At IDEO.org, Design Strategists guide internal teams and external partners through complexity to find the opportunities for design. They are systems thinkers, but simplifiers. People who can manage complexity, but distill easily. They can take a systems level challenge, make it really tangible, then create a simple, compelling vision for how to move forward. They can take insights, turn them into strategy, then rally a team and partner around that vision. They are analytical in their thinking, but creative in the way they bring it to life – more stories than spreadsheets. They bring historical context, lived experience, future implications, tensions, trade-offs, and possible roadblocks into their thinking.
To be a successful Design Strategist at IDEO.org, you might be…
- Someone who has worked as a brand, campaign, or communications strategist
- A strategy consultant or management consultant who has navigated political, cultural, and social systems in their work
- Someone who helps organizations or business units vision where they want to go, and design what to do to get there
- A framework-minded designer who excels at strategic choice-making and thrives in complex systems
- A creative problem solver or designer in-house at a social-impact organization
- Someone who builds and implements internal or external strategy at a foundation, government entity, or community-based organization
- A social entrepreneur used to thinking across business silos or complex groups of stakeholders
As a Project Lead in our organization…
At the Design Lead level within our organization, you act as a Project Lead, stewarding design projects with 3-4 multidisciplinary, multilevel designers, and a range of external partners. A Project Lead is simultaneously leading people, partners, project, and contributing to the work through their craft (i.e. Strategy).
- Guide multidisciplinary teams through an equity-centered co-design process, including partners and designers from other disciplines
- Foster psychologically safe spaces, trust, and accountability for teams, partners, and community members
- Set and facilitate community engagement and co-creation methodologies in service of centering the voices, insights, and ideas of the most-impacted humans and project partners throughout
- Develop a project plan, instilling project teams with the confidence and scaffolding to explore innovative design solutions
- Build strong relationships, rooted in trust and shared goals, with partners and key stakeholders
- Balance IDEO.org business needs, team needs, and partner needs