Head of Design Research

FutureGovOpen to applications from anywhere in the UK1M ago

About the role

As the head of design research you’ll be responsible for developing and shaping the role of design research in FutureGov’s work, shaping our research approaches, capabilities, skill sets, culture and ways of working for this practice.

As a leader, you’ll be expected to ensure quality, innovation and creativity in how we approach and use research as part of project delivery and when working directly with FutureGov clients. As an experienced practitioner, you can identify and bring inspiration from outside the company to shape and improve how we work.

This role will report directly to FutureGov’s chief design officer, and will work closely and collaboratively with our experience director, and with other design directors as part of the senior design leadership in the company.

Design research is currently a small specialist team at FutureGov and this new role is an important part of how we intend to grow and shape our research practices to support the FutureGov mission.

You can read more about the work of Design Research team on the FutureGov blog: Doing research that makes a difference.


  • working as an experienced research practitioner to lead by example, advising clients and providing research expertise as part of project delivery while ensuring that all research produced is useful and actionable
  • it’s expected that around 60% of your time will be spent on the delivery of client-facing work and priorities
  • day-to-day accountability for all people management in the design research team
  • managing people plans and processes for the design research team, including hiring and recruitment (with a 3 to 6 months implementation focus)
  • maintaining a great employee experience (onboarding, personal development, retention)
  • supporting resourcing to ensure the research requirements of projects are being met and making sure the way project teams are resourced aligns with individual interests, strengths and development plans
  • supporting how work and research outputs are reviewed as part of live projects to ensure quality, consistency and to reduce risk.
  • day-to-day accountability for all research processes in the company, ensuring that all work is delivered ethically, and that processes are in place and maintained for safeguarding, risk assessments, consent and data security
  • sharing and documenting knowledge, ensuring best practices that will guide the consistency and quality of all FutureGov research work
  • communicating and representing FutureGov’s work at sector events and supporting business development when required

Skills and experience (essential):

  • a track record of leading others to support design and delivery processes using design research and analysis methods
  • experience in planning and using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods. This should include: participatory research, contextual interviews, non-moderated research, remote research, quantitative/hybrid research approaches and use of data-driven insights
  • experience in leading, managing and/or coaching other researchers, ideally working closely with designers, or as part of a design team.
  • coaching and supporting people to deliver research effectively as part of other roles
  • experience of working with teams to ensure robust impact measurement of products and services, including theories of change, social and environmental measures and evaluation of work as part of a design process
  • ability operate in a fast-paced environment, balancing internal business priorities with external delivery and work on client projects
  • willing to travel in the UK to work with FutureGov clients and for the purposes of conducting research as part of project delivery and prepared to stay overnight on occasion if required

Skills and experience (desirable):

  • experience of working in an agency or consultancy, ideally with experience of designing and delivering research with government, health or third sector organisations
  • experience of managing ResearchOps, and how to scale and support research practices, standards and quality assurance for research work
  • experience of using research to identify and understand future trends, signals of change and horizon scanning, drawing on expertise from policy experts, futurists and more speculative design methods
  • a strong interest in how we can empower communities through research and how research can support community organising and action

Why work at FutureGov?

  • the opportunity to achieve impact in the public sector through your work
  • flexible working to help you function at your best
  • generous parental leave
  • we’re collaborative, and will readily give our time to help your development and invest in your training
  • we’re a great team and regularly hang out together - whether that’s our Friday team breakfasts, summer retreats or interest groups to help everyone connect
  • everyone has a voice - inclusivity and respect are key to our culture
  • we help you make time for the things that matter through generous holiday allowance, pension schemes and paid volunteer days
  • drinks and snacks in our studio

(Salary £70k).

We’re an inclusive employer, and we care about diversity in our teams. Let us know in your application if you have accessibility requirements during the interview. If you’d like to understand more about inclusion at FutureGov, contact Faith. Deadline for applications is 30 June 2020.

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