Greater Good Studio Design Research Lead, Chicago, IL

At Greater Good Studio, we work exclusively on addressing some of society’s toughest challenges by designing programs and services for non-profit, foundation, and government agency clients. From early literacy and child nutrition, to veterans housing and tenants’ rights, our projects tackle issues of health, education, poverty and injustice head-on. We believe that the best way to empower clients and communities is to put the design process in their hands, and the best way to create impact is to craft deeply respectful, empathic and user-centered tools and experiences.

Greater Good Studio is seeking a talented Design Research Lead to join our team! We are looking for someone who is innovative, organized, and able to think strategically yet also be detail-oriented. You are a strong collaborator, project manager, and have demonstrated experience making observations and connections about people in diverse contexts.

Please note that presently, and for the foreseeable future, our team is working remotely. Because we intend to resume in-person work once it is deemed safe, we are seeking candidates located in (or willing to relocate to) Chicago.

Additionally, we are unable to provide sponsorship to applicants who require or will require a work permit.

Duties and Responsibilities

Design Research and Strategy

  • Frame, plan, recruit, conduct, synthesize and present primary user research
  • Create new participatory research methods, synthesis tools and engagement techniques
  • Articulate actionable design opportunities through language, frameworks, sketches and prototypes
  • Analyze the broader context of client organizations, including their landscape of peers and placement within larger systems
  • Critically question and unearth root causes of systemic challenges
  • Offer clear points of view on where a design solution should and should not focus
  • Facilitate co-design and prototype testing sessions with project participants

Leadership and Project Management

  • Help frame and plan new projects with potential clients
  • Maintain stakeholder and participant relationships both proactively and responsively
  • Lead calls, meetings and workshops, with clients and project teams
  • Direct and guide design and research teams

Teaching and Coaching

  • Plan and facilitate workshops with clients and communities
  • Coach teams of participants through the human-centered design process
  • Be an ambassador to our company by attending and speaking at design/social impact conferences, writing blog posts and articulating points of view about social issues


  • Minimum 5 years of design research and/or human-centered design experience with demonstrated ability to plan research, conduct interviews and observations, analyze secondary research, synthesize insights and communicate compelling findings to multiple stakeholders
  • Minimum 2 years of project management experience
  • Minimum 1 year of consulting or client-facing professional services practice
  • Minimum 1 year of professional design practice or educational experience in a design field such as graphic, industrial, UX, or architecture
  • Experience working or volunteering within under-resourced communities
  • Interest in applying a social equity lens to both our client work and internal practices
  • Willing to travel (once deemed safe and travel advisories are lifted) for research and client workshops