Design Lead

Full-Time Blackfriars, London Closes: 2023-03-02

We are recruiting for a Design Lead within our A Healthy Life mission

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

About A Healthy Life
Our mission, ‘A healthy life’, aims to increase the number of years lived in good health for all, and particularly those most affected by health inequalities.

We are focusing on tackling two of the biggest drivers of lost years of healthy life: obesity and loneliness. Today, nearly one in three adults in the UK is obese, while some 9 million people report ‘always’ or ‘often’ feeling lonely. Our primary focus currently is on reducing obesity through improving our food environments i.e. making healthy food more available, accessible, affordable, appealing and convenient for all. Our work around loneliness is focused on the relationship between health and loneliness. We work across sectors – with businesses, national policymakers, local government, academics and other charities – in order to drive the changes we need to see to improve health.

The role
We are looking for an experienced designer who is confident in a multitude of design methods and disciplines, ideally with some experience relating to health.

In this role, you will be part of a team of around twenty people who work full-time on the Healthy Life mission, including researchers, behavioural scientists, data scientists and policy specialists. You’ll also interact with other methods experts from across Nesta, the Behavioural Insights Team, and partner organisations, who work on mission projects on a more ad-hoc basis. You will work with one other designer and be part of the community of designers across Nesta’s wider Design and Technology practice.

As a Design Lead you will be expected to:

  • Consult on how design methods can best be applied to achieve project objectives.
  • Plan, undertake and support user research with knowledge on how to generate insight from individuals and observations.
  • Design, develop and iterate potential solutions with end users, as well as encouraging and supporting others to do so.
  • Facilitate workshops and group discussions to build insight, build buy-in or design solutions.
  • Design and run rapid prototyping sprints.
  • Produce design iterations from low fidelity sketches to functional prototypes.
  • Support 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, deliver and evaluate innovative solutions.
  • Facilitate and participate in collaboration, including co-design or multidisciplinary working.
  • Be confident in supporting others within the mission and across Nesta to use design-led approaches.
  • Engage effectively with stakeholders and get people excited about our work.
  • Contribute to the identification, development and pitching of new work.
  • Contribute to improving Nesta’s approach to design.
  • Support the overall delivery of projects within the mission.
  • Line manage a fellow Designer.

Minimum experience

  • Experience in one or more design disciplines, such as service design, user experience design, product design, etc.
  • Experience leading on multiple design projects that have met the needs of end users and stakeholders. Ideally with responsibility across the end-to-end journey of a service that involves multiple channels and touchpoints.
  • Experience of leading and managing a range of activities from client engagement to user research, prototyping and iterating.
  • Experience of guiding non-designers through a design process.
  • User research: Ability to conduct and plan for interviews, observations, ethnographic/immersive/lived experience 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 have experience in using a variety of methods of prototyping and user testing; and know how to choose the most appropriate ones. You know how to solicit feedback to iterate on ideas.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Desirable experience

  • Experience of creating functional prototypes using code or other technologies.
  • Experience of developing metrics or feedback loops to ensure we learn and improve effectively.
  • Experience of designing interventions with a social purpose.
  • Experience of designing interventions relevant to our A Healthy Life mission around obesity or loneliness.
  • Experience working within and/or knowledge of the food industry.

What we offer
Salary: circa £50k 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 8:00am on the 2nd March 2023.

Round 1 interviews are expected to take place on 20th March 2023, and Round 2 interviews (with a portfolio presentation) on 29th March 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 would like to explore.


Tagged as: Flexible hours