Technical Lead Collective Intelligence Product Design (Centre for Collective Intelligence Design)

Full-Time Blackfriars, London Closes: 2023-02-01

We are recruiting for a Technical Lead Collective Intelligence Product Design (Centre for Collective Intelligence Design).

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. Find out more at


Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design helps create new ways for communities to use technology to harness their insights, ideas and power to act on the problems that matter to them and create the futures they want. We know well-designed systems can help promote healthy collective action at scale, but too often technology is designed to solve the needs of individuals or large organisations.

Our mission is to design digital tools and products that allow communities to respond collectively to challenges, and that help public and voluntary sector institutions strengthen trust and collaboration with citizens. Potential CI products could range from a mobile app, to a game, or online platform.

We work with Nesta’s mission teams and external partners to help them understand where and how collective intelligence approaches can help address the problems they’re working on. We apply collective intelligence design – which brings together insights from diverse groups of people, with new sources of data (such as sensor or mobile phone data) and digital technologies (including AI) – to develop bespoke solutions to those problems. We use rigorous research methods to test, learn and evaluate each solution.

The Role

Nesta is looking for a product-minded senior developer/research engineer who can draw on a wide range of different technologies to help build prototype/MVP collective intelligence solutions fast. At the heart of collective intelligence design is the ability to effectively combine crowds, data and new digital technologies to tackle complex social challenges. We’re looking for someone who cares about the “why” of product design and development, who is proactive with product ideas and opinions, and loves shaping product decisions. A curiosity about how to harness the power of collective intelligence for social good through new products and technologies is essential.

As Technical Lead you will work collaboratively with a wide range of Nesta’s teams and partners to rapidly prototype, build or help commission technological solutions to complex social and environmental problems across a variety of projects, meaning that every day will be different. Using your understanding of the latest engineering trends, you will help to combine all elements of technology: data, integration, smart applications, core applications, infrastructure, operations, and embedded security. This role will suit someone with both broad and deep knowledge of technology who enjoys getting their hands dirty in developing prototypes or creating an MVP. You will ideally have previous full stack development experience and a flexible, adaptable approach to using a range of different technologies to solve problems.

As part of an interdisciplinary team the Technical Lead will work with the Centre’s designers and researchers to analyse cutting edge practice and methods, understand potential users, and then turn these insights into tools and codified processes for real-world application. You’ll also play a key leadership role within the team, helping to inspire, direct and mentor others.

You will be responsible for:

  • Working closely with Centre for Collective Intelligence Design team colleagues and external stakeholders to design new collective intelligence products, focusing particularly on designing and testing appropriate technical solutions – drawing on a wide range of collective intelligence methods and extensive knowledge of existing solutions
  • Leading the rapid development of collective intelligence product prototypes, using a wide range of techniques
  • Translating product concepts into technical requirements, planning and documenting technical specifications for features or system design
  • Designing, building and configuring applications to meet partner organisation processes and application requirements
  • Technically-oriented interaction design, including: application design, high-fidelity prototyping, human-computer interaction
  • Working collaboratively with Nesta’s designers, researchers, data scientists and data engineers, and directing freelance developers where necessary
  • Writing testable, scalable and efficient code and leading code reviews
  • Leading quality assurance for all technical aspects of the products produced by the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design
  • Contributing to business development activities, including helping to plan consultancy engagements and activities, developing project plans and budgets, and managing stakeholder relationships, including taking on the day-to-day leadership of projects when required
  • Mentoring freelancers or team members and ensuring they adhere to determined software quality standards
  • Helping to advance the practice of collective intelligence product design by working with other team members to codify insights into practical new frameworks, processes and guides
  • Connecting into wider networks of collective intelligence technologists and practitioners to keep your finger on the pulse of new applications, methodological advances and identify opportunities for our own experimentation
  • Supporting the overall leadership, direction, and delivery of projects within the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

Experience, Skills and Mindset:

  • Ability to produce rapid prototypes, with a flexible approach and ability in using a range of technologies, plus understanding of how and when to productionise
  • Technically-oriented interaction design, including: application design, high-fidelity prototyping, human-computer interaction
  • A product-mindset: a curiosity to understand and influence the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of what needs building, not just the ‘how’.
  • Demonstrable experience of using agile project methodologies, and test-driven developmen
  • 5+ years experience in full stack software development
  • Web development and mobile apps (mandatory) and one or more of the following: games, integration, machine learning, data visualisation, APIs, web services, GraphQL (desirable)
  • Experience with two or more software languages e.g. JavaScript, Python, Java, C#
  • Cloud computing e.g. AWS, Azure, GCP
  • DevOps (mandatory) and DataOps (desirable)
  • Relational databases (mandatory), other database architectures (desirable)
  • A BSc, or MSc in computer science, engineering, or related discipline or at least five years’ relevant experience in academia, industry of public/third sector.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in a team environment
  • Excellent time management, and able to manage multiple projects and competing priorities
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, including an ability to communicate concepts, strategies and interdependencies effectively to a wide range of audiences
  • Ability to receive and give constructive feedback
  • A self-starter with a curious and open mindset, with a willingness to learn from and with others, and ability to carry out self-directed research and learning
  • Experience of navigating complexity and uncertainty, and adapting personal style for a variety of cultural contexts and organisations
  • An enthusiasm for, and commitment to, becoming a recognised expert and practitioner in Collective Intelligence Design, and a desire to address complex social problems
  • Personal commitment to the principles of data justice, diversity & inclusion and community empowerment

What we offer

Salary: £53k – £65k 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 Central London, Blackfriars, but we offer flexibility for our people to work remotely with frequent travel in UK and internationally

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: Director of CCID


Making an application

To apply for this role, please submit your application before 8:00am on the 1st of February 2023.

Interviews will take place w/c 13th of February 2023.

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.


Tagged as: Remote