Research and Design Strategy Director

IA Collaborative

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All applicants must provide either a PDF attachment or url with portfolio or work samples.

Research and Design Strategy Directors are masters in architecting the vision for the Research and Design Strategy practice at IA Collaborative, managing teams, and leading engagements that blur the lines of business strategy and design thinking. Day-to-day, they shape client engagements by inspiring and shepherding clients through the research, design and strategy process, facilitating and leading collaborative strategy sessions, ideation sessions, and presentations.

The ideal candidate will have proven work experience applying design thinking methodologies and tools, as well as a passion for leading and growing teams, helping organizations solve their most innovative growth questions, and bringing new offerings to market. He/She will share in our drive and aspiration to make an impact in the world through design while working collaboratively with designers, researchers, strategists, engineers, developers and architects.

How We Work

Combining human-centered design and strategic business consulting, IA Collaborative helps multinational organizations and emerging leaders set visions, create strategies, design compelling experiences, and empower their own cultures of innovation.

We serve as our clients’ design partner and guide by becoming knowledgeable and passionate about our clients’ creative goals and business through immersion in their business. We take Insight to Action to create new physical and digital products, brands, services and environments.

Research and Design Strategy Director Job Responsibilities

Projects + Process

  • Participate in setting engagement objectives and scope; develop work plans for components of engagements, coordinate activities between work streams and identify changes in scope
  • Lead the human-centered research and strategy process including analysis of secondary research, identifying key users and business and design trends, and framing opportunities and research plans
  • Mentoring and coaching the planning, recruiting and conducting user research, leading and collaborating in the synthesis process to develop key insights, researching summaries, design and business strategies, creative concepts, roadmaps and long term plans
  • Act as a trusted client advisor, applying the user’s len across projects from initial approach development to concept development to executive strategy recommendations

Growing the Business

  • Provide leadership for the growth and vision of the team’s process and capabilities, including identifying new offerings
  • Apply a strategic lens to understand our client’s business challenges with a goal of developing and creating sustainable and distinctive business value through our partnership
  • Lead the development and best practices for creating strong client relationships; lead and advise others in applying new approaches to client experiences
  • Plan, initiate, and manage growing client relationships within and beyond projects
  • Identify and frame new client engagements, including leading new business outreach, directing others in proposal creation, and creating strategies, activities, and methods for new project approaches
  • Initiate and own external ambassadorship opportunities on behalf of IA Collaborative, including industry events, college/university events and workshop facilitation, and other thought leadership engagements

Organizational Health

  • Aid in development and management of the discipline’s team members, including recruiting and hiring, resourcing, and day-to-day coaching and mentorship, recognition, as well as leading and providing oversight to the team on projects
  • Understand personal and team roles, contribute to a positive working environment by building solid relationships with team members, and proactively seeking guidance, clarification, and feedback
  • Collaborate and contribute on cross-functional (technical and non-technical skill sets) teams to shape the culture of the organization through development of policies, procedures, practices, norms, and initiatives


  • Bachelor’s Degree required; advanced degree in Design, Design Strategy or related fields preferred.
  • Eight or more years of experience leading large-scale projects and programs within the design, innovation, and consulting space, including two years managing direct reports
  • Expert and leader within user driven research practices and broader design thinking methodologies; ability to integrate design and strategic business thinking; ability to effectively lead across multiple projects and platforms, providing guidance to research, strategy, and design teams as needed.
  • Portfolio filled with a breadth of complex and systemic work that demonstrates use of immersive and behavior based design research methodologies and prototyping, strategic framing of insights and a passion for design-minded solutions.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills. Strong facilitation skills and presence. Confident and compelling storyteller by nature.
  • Ability to  clearly articulate a personal perspective on the value of design and the role of design and its impact on business.
  • Champion for the integration of visual design practices (graphic design, industrial design, interaction design, architecture, etc.) into overall design solutions.

Why IA Collaborative

At IA, you’ll practice your craft in a whole new context. You’ll be a part of designing the future of human experience as you transform your client’s business, empower communities and create a positive and lasting impact on the world.

Our internationally recognized workspace provides the inspiration and flexibility to effectively collaborate with teams, or deeply focus as an individual.

IA’s comprehensive benefits package includes medical, dental, vision; flexible spending accounts for dependent care, health expenses and childcare; employer-paid life insurance and disability; health club enrollment reimbursement, in-house Leminars (learning-seminars), scholarship funds to promote individual learning, growth and inspiration; as well as discretionary bonus and profit-sharing programs.

About the Research and Design Strategy Team

The research and design strategy team at IA Collaborative is a naturally curious group who draw inspiration from the world around them, and enjoy being “students of human behavior.”  They are highly structured thinkers with diverse backgrounds, skilled at breaking down complex concepts and data into compelling, visual frameworks and actionable strategies for our clients.

The team conducts human-centered, immersive, qualitative and in-context research observations, ensuring that “user insight” is not just a phase, but continually infused throughout the design process. We believe that research is a creative process and we constantly create and employ new methods and strategies to get as close to our users as possible. As experts in both design thinking theory and practice, we collaborate closely with our clients to design our research processes, derive key insights, develop impactful strategies, and craft compelling stories that inspire breakthrough design.

About IA Collaborative

IA Collaborative is a global design and innovation consultancy. At the forefront of user-centered design that creates business value, we live and work at the intersection of design and business; of creativity and strategy.

Combining human-centered design and strategic business consulting, we help multinational organizations and emerging leaders set visions, create strategies, design compelling experiences and empower their own cultures of innovation. We reframe problems, uncover opportunities and set a strategic vision. From Insight to Action, we define business models — profit, process, channel, brand and partnership strategies — and create new physical and digital products, brands, services and environments.

IA is on the national and global stage speaking about the business value of design. Featured by Fast Company as one of the country’s preeminent design thinkers, IA has been profiled by prominent business publications and has received multiple design accolades including the IDSA International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), the GOOD DESIGN™ Awards, the iF World Design Awards and the Red Dot International and SXSW Business Design awards. IA works with some of the world’s most successful brands, including FedEx, GE, Hyatt, Johnson & Johnson and Nike.

For more information about IA Collaborative visit iacollaborative.comLinkedInInstagram, and Glassdoor.


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