Director of Research and Design

at Reboot in New York City, USA

Understanding and designing for people is at the heart of what we do. As Reboot’s visionary Director of Research and Design, you will lead our work in assessing human needs and then leveraging institutional resources to improve lives and livelihoods. Equally fluent in the process of design and the realities of global development, you have the opportunity to demonstrate that human-centered design can be more than just a buzzword.

You are an inspired systems thinker with the courage to challenge the status quo, and the experience and acumen to develop robust solutions to the challenges of our times. You are both creative and analytical. You can rally and lead others in pursuit of a big-picture vision, but you also put in the hours to nitpick over the details until they’re right. You are enterprising and have got the chops to become a star all on your own, but you value (and know how to maximize value from) a multidisciplinary team. You have served in senior, client-facing roles in demanding professional services environments. And, above all, you want to demonstrate, in substantive ways, how robust design processes can improve governance and development efforts worldwide, and in doing so, transform the dialogue and best-practices in those sectors.

This is a leadership role at a rapidly expanding organization, with significant opportunities for professional growth. In addition to meeting our current needs, our ideal candidate sees Reboot’s forward trajectory and is able to help blaze the trail that will get us there.

This position is based in our New York office, but the ideal candidate will be willing to travel internationally up to 30 to 40 percent of the time. Reboot offers a competitive compensation package.


Client Engagements

  • Serve as Reboot’s research and design lead on client engagements. Guide the design process, from start to finish, collaborating with diverse subject matter experts and internal/external teams to develop tailored processes for each assignment. Leverage best practices from other fields, and integrate inputs into a cohesive process.
  • Oversee our design research process to understand user, stakeholder, and client needs, and lead our team to turn field insights into effective, appropriate design solutions and robust organizational strategies.
  • Help new clients and partners understand Reboot’s approach, and lead client discussions on project scope, methodology, and outputs.
  • Develop and facilitate key client meetings and other high-level events, working with stakeholders to develop agendas, facilitate dialogue, and lead exercises.
  • Manage and grow client relationships, working with C-level executives and senior public sector officials.
  • Manage staff and consultants as appropriate for each project.

Organizational Management

  • Drive process innovation within Reboot to improve our organizational efficacy, efficiency, and impact. Proactively engage in key organizational initiatives.
  • Serve as a key knowledge manager to ensure lessons from industry best-practices and client engagements are effectively integrated into our work.
  • Ensure frequent knowledge transfer between programmatic team members and technical specialists, and support cross-pollination of expertise across the organization.
  • Train and mentor Reboot’s junior staff in the processes of design research and service and systems design.

Communications & Advocacy

  • Spread Reboot’s philosophy and work through frequent writing, public speaking and teaching engagements, or through other avenues.


Our ideal candidate has:

  • Formal training in a relevant field and at least six years of experience with demonstrated professional advancement. (Note: Formal training does not need to be in research and/or design, though those profiles are of interest. We are also interested in exceptional candidates from governance or international development backgrounds, who have extensive applied research and program design skills.)
  • Extensive experience in senior, client-facing roles in consulting or professional services firms.
  • Experience with all phases of the design process, including needs assessment, research, strategy, design, prototyping, and implementation. Can explain the design process to non-designers, and can articulately defend design decisions.
  • Strong grasp of trends in technology, and how they impact the work of Reboot’s target client base.
  • Can define technology requirements and guide software development teams.
  • Visual thinker and maker that can create systems diagrams, wireframes, and flow-charts. Sharp eye for visual design across media.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including ability to effectively synthesize and present complex ideas to diverse audiences. Is comfortable presenting to senior executives and at public events. Has experience communicating ideas in creative ways using different media platforms.
  • Skilled facilitator and mediator. In times of creative conflict, can guide diverse stakeholder and viewpoints through constructive, solutions-oriented dialogue.
  • Strong leadership and team-building skills. Knows when and how to take action in ambiguous situations. Has managed large, multidisciplinary teams, including remote team members. Demonstrated experience hiring, training, supervising, and mentoring staff.
  • Ability to work under tight time constraints. Can multitask with ease, manage ambiguity, and adapt to frequently changing priorities.
  • Wide-ranging international work experience, across multiple sectors, preferably with experience in the public and non-profit sectors.
  • Fluency in the intellectual issues in at least two of Reboot’s work areas: public policy, international development, governance, and/or social innovation. Specialization within these areas, particularly in open government, education, public health, or financial inclusion, is a plus.
  • Written and spoken fluency in English and at least one other language.

To Apply

Send an email to careers AT thereboot DOT org with your CV, a letter telling us about yourself, and three to five samples of your work (or a link to your portfolio), with detailed descriptions of your role as related to each. Please also give us a sense of the approach you took, the outputs you created, and the challenges you faced. Please ensure that “Director of Research and Design” is in the subject line of your email.

We are happy to answer questions about our organization or the position available. Inquiries can be sent to the email address above.

Published on 06-09-2012
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