Senior Design Researcher

Conifer Research

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People are endlessly fascinating, don’t you think? We do. Conifer Research is seeking a curious and empathetic Senior Design Researcher who is passionate about understanding what makes people tick and translating that insight to our clients to help drive strategy and innovation. In this role, you will have opportunities to work on projects across numerous industries, wearing many hats along the way – from researcher to strategist to storyteller to user advocate, and lead teams through different insights and innovations initiatives.

ABOUT CONIFER: Conifer Research brings practical insight to companies that wish to change and innovate. Through an ethnographic approach to research, we help our clients embed their creativity into an understanding of the everyday lives of people they hope to engage – customers, workers, and end-users. Our seasoned team of anthropologists, strategists, and information designers act as consultants, facilitators, and coaches, to help organizations gather deep insights. Clients come to Conifer for many reasons, but with a common challenge: How do we align business activities better with the real lives and needs of customers? We have experience in retail, consumer goods and lifestyles, financial services, healthcare, and digital products. Some clients include Sonos, Samsung, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Discover, Lowe’s, CarMax, Ferrara Candy Company and more.

Ideal candidates should:

  • Have 5+ years of relevant experience in research, design, strategy and/or consulting
  • Expertise across a variety of qualitative research methods (ethnographic, remote research, evaluative testing)
  • Have experience working in a consultative environment
  • Be strategic, flexible, collaborative and passionate about advocating for user needs
  • Demonstrate experienced project leadership, cultivate strong client relationships, account or project management, or experience coaching and mentorship of team members
  • Passionate storyteller and presenter when communicating insights and findings to clients
  • Be familiar with applying design thinking, behavioral science and innovation frameworks to your research topics
  • The desire to be an active and engaged thought leader within the design research community


  • Designing research plans that draw on a range of methodologies including ethnography, remote research, evaluative testing, and co-creation.
  • Leading research teams in the planning and design of qualitative research studies.
  • Conducting fieldwork in a variety of locations, both in the US and internationally
  • Communicating with and managing clients for research planning, driving strategic conversations.
  • Sensemaking to create narratives that frame research findings to clearly demonstrate the business implications of insights and opportunities.
  • Lead internal and client teams through a rigorous analysis and synthesis process, identifying patterns, key insights, and opportunities. Translate and prioritize opportunities into business implications.
  • Framing research findings to present a compelling, actionable story.
  • Collaborate with fellow designers and research associates to translate research findings into compelling stories and meaningful data visualizations.
  • Planning and facilitate ideation sessions and support concept development (sketches, storyboards, rapid prototyping and mock-ups)
  • Exploring and experimenting with new research tools and innovative methods
  • Assistance with internal business development initiatives
  • Experience working with quantitative data or custom analytics is also a bonus

Essential skills and knowledge:

  • Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology or a related field
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficient with Keynote and presentation-based deliverables
  • Proficiency with video, still photography and audio recording equipment.
  • Foreign language proficiency is a bonus

APPLICATIONS: Please share a cover letter, portfolio or relevant work samples in addition to resume. Apply through our career portal:

COVID NOTE: Conifer is currently operating remotely, and plans to continue to support preferences for remote employment throughout 2021. Our Chicago-based team members will begin returning to our downtown Chicago office in a hybrid approach beginning Q3 of 2021.

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