Design Lead

Full-Time London Salary: c. £49k pa + excellent benefits Closes: 2021-09-21

We are recruiting for a Design Lead!

About Nesta
We are Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency for social good. We design, test and scale solutions to society’s biggest problems. Our three missions are to give every child a fair start, help people live healthy lives, and create a sustainable future where the economy works for both people and the planet.

For over 20 years, we have worked to support, encourage and inspire innovation. We work in three roles: as an innovation partner working with frontline organisations to design and test new solutions, as a venture builder supporting new and early stage businesses, and as a system shaper creating the conditions for innovation.

Harnessing the rigour of science and the creativity of design, we work relentlessly to change millions of lives for the better.

Your role
A Design Lead is an experienced designer who works with minimal support and can influence and mentor others. You will work on a range of different projects within one of Nesta’s missions and beyond, meaning your tasks will vary day to day. We are looking for Design Leads for our Fairer Start innovation mission.

This role is for someone who has led the design of multiple interventions that have met the needs of end users and stakeholders. The successful candidate will guide and engage non-designers through a design process. Ensure mission teams and partners balance the needs of users with business and social objectives. And take the lead on regular research, prototyping and testing with end users.

As Design Lead, your work will involve using your design expertise to create solutions to some of society’s biggest problems.

You will be expected to:

  • Plan, undertake and support user research to inform strategic decisions and the design of potential solutions.
  • Design, develop and test potential solutions with end users, as well as encouraging and supporting others to do so.
  • Facilitate workshops and design sprints to rapidly design, test and iterate prototypes.
  • Oversee design iterations from low fidelity sketches to functional prototypes.
  • Be responsible for the end-to-end design of interventions often involving multiple channels, touchpoints and partners.
  • Ensure Nesta and our partners balance the needs of end users with business and social objectives.
  • Work with a multidisciplinary team to design, prototype and test innovative solutions.
  • Facilitate and participate in collaboration, including co-production or multidisciplinary working.
  • Work with and support others within the Innovation Mission and across Nesta to use design-led approaches.
  • Where appropriate, line manage and support fellow designers.
  • Contribute to the identification, development and pitching of new work.
  • Support the overall delivery of projects within the Innovation Mission.

Minimum qualifications

  • Experience in more than one design discipline, such as service design, user experience design, product design, etc.
  • Experience leading multiple design projects that have met the needs of end users and stakeholders. Ideally with responsibility for the end-to-end journey of a service across multiple channels and touchpoints.
  • Experience of leading and managing a range of activities from client engagement to user research, prototyping and testing.
  • Experience of guiding non-designers through a design process.
  • Line management experience.
  • User research: Ability to conduct and plan for interviews, observations, ethnographic/immersive research and other research methods. While you are not expected to be a quantitative researcher within the team, you are expected to be comfortable using quantitative data.
  • Evidence and context-based design: You are able to work with others to use evidence (qualitative and quantitative) to inform the design of projects, products, and services. You can absorb large amounts of conflicting information and use it to produce simple designs.
  • Prototyping: You are an expert in using a variety of methods of prototyping and user testing; and know how to choose the most appropriate ones. You know how to share best practice and can coach others.
  • Communication skills: You can listen to the needs of users, stakeholders and partners, and interpret them in a way that is clear for both audiences. You know how to manage stakeholder expectations. You can be flexible and you are capable of proactive and reactive communication. You know how to facilitate difficult discussions within the team or with diverse stakeholders.
  • Facilitating decisions and risks: You know how to build alignment between collaborators and stakeholders. You can lead others to make good design decisions. You know how to identify key risks with a design and strategies mitigate them as well as support others to do so.
  • Community collaboration: You know how to work collaboratively within a group, actively networking with others and varying feedback for the appropriate time to ensure the discussion sticks. You can use your initiative to identify problems or issues in the team dynamic and rectify them.


  • Coaching and facilitation skills.
  • Experience of applying agile, lean and design thinking principles.
  • Experience of creating functional prototypes using code or other technologies.
  • Experience of designing interventions with a social purpose.
  • Experience of designing interventions relevant to our Fairer Start innovation missions.

What we offer

Salary: circa £49k plus an 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.

Making an application
To apply for this role, please submit your application before 8am on the 21st of September 2021. Interviews will take place w/c 27th of September 2021.

Tagged as: Flexible hours, Remote