Fjord Chicago

Design Research Director

Thanks to a unique partnership with Accenture Interactive, we’re able to do work that changes the world and Fjord is always looking for kindred spirits. Digital is no longer the centerpiece of brand experience; the emphasis is shifting onto how best to use it as an invisible enabler of physical and sensory experiences. As interactions with users evolve from periodic engagements via a screen to consistent, connected experiences, organizations must create new services that are deeply integrated in the physical world.

We are a family of Fjordians, our living culture and borderless playground provide us with space to thrive, following simple core values that inform everything we do. Be adventurous. Bring a vision. Make an impact. Rely on empathy. Nurture collaboration. Stay transparent. Be bold and generous in all you do. 

At Fjord, Design Research is core to our design process to ensure our work is grounded in a deep and contextual understanding of what matters to the people we are designing for. Our designers are a diverse set of passionate, empathetic thinkers who apply design research methods to translate complex industry challenges into customer-centered insights. 

Design Leadership drives creativity and innovation at all levels. Our Design Leadership invests itself in strengthening the relationships between our teams, our clients, our work, and the people who use our products and services every day.

As a Design Research Director, you’ll work collaboratively with other studio leadership to support design research efforts across all studio accounts and own delivery of design for key engagements. You’ll be responsible for enabling multidisciplinary design teams to craft and execute design research activities. You’ll also manage Design Leads, collaborate with primary stakeholders, and work with program leadership and actively create connections with Accenture research colleagues to plan future projects.

This is your opportunity to advance and evolve Design Research through a highly collaborative and inclusive style. Innovate new ways to integrate design research into Fjord work and Forge connections with Accenture colleagues to raise the profile of Fjord’s research approaches.

Unleash the Fjordian inside because you are…
  • Naturally engaging people at a deep level whether observing or interviewing customers, working with fellow team members, clients and channeling the inner creative
  • A visual and verbal storyteller, delivering insights about people and behavior in a way that generates empathy, emotion, and engagement from the client and design team
  • Comfortable with ambiguity in a fluid organization
  • Ready to collaborate on products and services that change the way our clients do business creating service at scale
  • Passionate about creating experiences that fuse physical and digital through research, analytics, design and delivery
Role Description 

A professional in this position, at this level within Accenture has the following responsibilities:
  • Drive design quality, practice, and offerings that meet business and user goals as well as create new offerings within Fjord.
  • Lead design points of view, proposal creation, and relationship management across one to two key clients.
  • Deeply understand the market and can speak to our clients and the industry about our content, craft, and trends.
  • Own craft and capability output across key projects, ensuring each project deliverable is of the highest quality.
  • Assess performance and provide career guidance and performance decisions for members of the studio Design team.
  • Provide directional oversight of individual project team's work and assume overall accountability for it.
  • Develop pitch decks and project approaches that lead to exciting, inspiring, and well-shaped work for our Design team.
  • Cultivate relationships with new and existing clients.
  • Prioritize multiple workstreams simultaneously while working along-side cross-functional teams.
Basic Qualifications

These are the minimum requirements for an aspirant to be considered for the position applying to:
  • 10+ years’ experience as a design professional with robust toolkit of research methods across varied users and business problems
  • 7+ years’ experience planning, designing, facilitating, and synthesizing workshops.
  • 7 + years’ experience conceptualizing and managing design research initiatives from start to finish
  • 7+ years' experience with driving and applying user-centered design processes and connecting design work to user and business value
  • 5+ years’ mentoring and managing a team of designers and design researchers
  • 5+ years creating comprehensive research plans, protocols to uncover and shape compelling human insights
  • 5+ years’ experience managing complex, ambiguous projects including communication between all design teams, workstreams and clients
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent (minimum 12 years) work experience
 Preferred Qualifications
  • Ability to learn new software quickly; experience with Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, InVision, Figma, and remote design research tools is a plus.
  • History of tackling and solving complex design research challenges.
  • Working knowledge of all aspects of design research: recruiting processes; scheduling and logistics; protocol development; interviewing and moderating; analysis and framework development; video compilations; research deliverables.
  • Passion for evolving design research methods; flexible in approaches to see opportunities for design research where others might see constraints.
  • Knowledge of and experience with applying user-centered design processes.
  • Understanding of areas of specialization within the greater design landscape, including but not limited to Service Design, Business Design, Visual Design, and Content Design.
  • Ability to create experience maps, user journeys and service blueprints, interaction models, flows, and wireframes.
  • Familiarity with rapid prototyping methods, ranging from paper sketching to digital prototypes.
  • Experience applying an understanding of business performance, business drivers, and overall competitive landscape.
  • Formal training in research methods is preferred (HCI, Design Research, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, etc.)


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