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Director of Design

Premium Job From Nesta
Recruiter: Nesta
Listed on: 17th February
Location: Blackfriars, London - we offer flexibility to work remotely
Salary Notes: £70.3k plus excellent benefits
Type: Permanent
Start Date: ASAP

We are recruiting for a Director of Design!

About Nesta

We are Nesta. The UK's innovation agency for social good. We design, test and scale new solutions to society's biggest problems, changing millions of lives for the better.

We confront challenges that affect millions of people, from chronic childhood inequality to ill-health and the climate crisis.

We believe that innovation is more possible now than ever before. We see opportunities to mobilise citizens and influence behaviour. A wealth of private and public capital that can be used more creatively. Pools of data to mine.

And so we draw on these rich resources by bringing together multidisciplinary teams: data scientists, designers and behavioural scientists, practitioners at the frontline, academics; and people with lived experience.

Together, we design, test and scale new solutions to society's biggest problems. We partner with frontline organisations, build new businesses and work to change whole systems. Harnessing the rigour of science and the creativity of design, we work relentlessly to put ideas to the test.


Nesta is looking for an experienced Director to lead the design of programmes, products, and services in pursuit of our innovation missions. You will have in-depth understanding of strategies for uncovering critical information about people's needs, values, and behaviours, and have the skills to lead user-centric prototyping and design of interventions. As well as being a designer yourself, you will direct designers across Nesta, advancing the overall practice and supporting team members' professional development.

This role will require travel to partner sites across the UK.

Your role

  • Work with Nesta's Mission Directors to lead identification, scoping, and delivery design needs of specific projects and programmes.
  • Oversee design and prototyping of services and interventions within partner settings, engaging external stakeholders (e.g. practitioners, users, policymakers) in the design process.
  • Ensure that the design activity across Nesta's programmes is of high quality, drawing on a range of established and cutting-edge design approaches. Develop and experiment with new approaches.
  • Apply Nesta's EDI principles to design both internally and externally; for example, developing ways to include those with lived experience in research.
  • Lead Nesta's Design practice, sharing best practice and supporting the professional development of designers across Nesta.
  • Promote use of design approaches amongst non-designers; for example, raising the levels of design thinking and user-centric approaches across the organisation.
  • Work with other practice Directors (data science, evidence, and experimentation) to identify synergies across methods, and develop attractive propositions for partners.
  • Support the identification of new partnerships and opportunities to advance Nesta's missions.

The Person


  • Experienced designer with practical knowledge of, and experience in using, design-led approaches across different sector contexts (public and private sectors, and social innovation).
  • Experience of product and service design.
  • Experience in building strong partnerships, working within partner settings to prototype/design interventions.
  • Extensive and proven understanding of interdisciplinary working across the social sciences, behavioural and data science, arts and culture, and design.
  • Strong facilitation and presentation skills.
  • Excellent leadership skills in managing and motivating teams - including staff outside your direct team, associates, and external stakeholders.
  • Excellent organisational abilities, and experience of managing competing priorities and a busy workload.


  • Understanding of the innovation system in one or more of Nesta's three mission areas.

What we offer

Salary: £70,306 plus array of benefits, including health cash plans, dental insurance, the ability to buy and sell annual leave, eyecare vouchers and more

Location: This role is based in Blackfriars, Central London, but we offer flexibility for our people to work remotely

Term: Permanent

Hours: This is a full-time role but we offer a range of flexible working arrangements and encourage our people to take advantage of them. Many do.

Reports to: Chief Scientist

Making an application

To apply for this role, please submit your application before 8:00am on the 1st of March 2021.

Interviews will take place w/c 8th of March 2021.

At Nesta, we believe that a diverse workforce leads to an organisation that is more innovative, more creative and gets better results.

We want our workforce to represent the diversity of the people and communities we serve. We also want our workplace to be one where different experiences, expertise and perspectives are valued, and where everyone is encouraged to grow and develop.

This means that when we are recruiting, we actively seek to reach a diverse pool of candidates. It also means that we are happy to consider any reasonable adjustments that potential employees may need to in order to be successful.

We recognise the importance of a good balance between work and home life, so we do everything we can to accommodate flexible working, including working from home, compressed or part-time hours, job shares and other arrangements.

Please just let us know in your application or at any stage throughout the process (and beyond) if these are options you'd like to explore.

Contact Name: Nesta
Reference: TJ/7010/TJNE3
Job ID: 2899317

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