Photo Oct 22, 14 56 00

Get in touch by December 3rd

Part-time Social Designer (Surrey)

We’re a social design studio with a big mission: to enable people on the margins to flourish. We partner with community organizations to build local Research & Development teams, who can co-design, test and spread new forms of social support and community engagement.


We are looking for a part-time Social Designer to work with our partner, Options Community Services, alongside newcomer communities in Surrey, B.C to model what great human-centred design looks and feels like. That means, you’re a super strong (and fast!) maker and doer, able to craft delightful frontend and backend touch points that bring to life new services and policies. You base all of your work in user research and are energized by collaborating with people, in their contexts, to dream up and test fresh ideas. If you are tired of designing for banks, telcos and pharmas — and are ready to put your heart into something that really matters — this role is for you.

2018_11_21 part time_social designer

pdf ⋅ 3 MB

refugee meals

When Mala’s family arrived in Canada from a refugee camp in Turkey, what they found almost as puzzling as learning a new language was the new way their daughter’s disability was understood. So they set out to connect with other local families over shared meals, stitching together a neighbourhood network that engendered a sense of belonging and purpose.

Mala’s family are positive deviants. They’ve come up with their own workarounds and support networks. What if immigration & refugee services were built on the premise that getting by isn’t good enough? What if individual, family and community flourishing was at the core? If these are questions you want to spend two years answering, with a design lens, keep reading!

More about us

We’re an inter-disciplinary and international team made up of service designers, industrial designers, interaction designers, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, community mobilizers, and event planners.

Over the next two years, we’re partnering with Options Community Services in Surrey to re-imagine the experience of older newcomers and new immigrants living with disabilities.

You will be part of our cross-Canada collective of social services called Grounded Space, where we support local teams to blend design and social science and move from best practice to next practice. That means, we’re not focused on making better versions of what already exists. We’ve got the time, space and permission to fundamentally re-think what could be. To get to next practice, we do everything from original ethnographic research to scouting international examples to running co-design sessions in family homes to prototyping new face-to-face and digital interactions to making videos & curating pop-up exhibitions.

You’ll be part of our Surrey Grounded Space team, based with Options Community Services (OCS). OCS Society has been providing services in Surrey, North Delta and Langley for over 40 years. OCS provides newcomers with a diverse array of support services including information, knowledge and skills necessary to settle and integrate into their new communities

GS 2.0 Options
This is our Surrey Grounded Space team, based at Options, so far … Join us!

More about your skills ...

  • You have experience in service design or human-centred design, with a track record of co-designing and prototyping end-to-end services across channels. That means you’ll be familiar with tools like segmentations, journey maps, service blueprints, and can offer strong examples from your portfolio.
  • You have a strong aesthetic sense, but know when to make something high versus low fidelity.
  • At heart, you’re a maker. You love to get physical – but can also go digital. You’re able to mock-up a research tool, a communication device, a set of posters, a space, or quickly put together a website or short film in hours – not weeks.
  • You’re comfortable with design research and interacting with different types of users. You can get out in the field, listen, come back & make sense of complex information using diagrams, infographics, and physical models.
  • You’re a dynamic facilitator who holds the space for people to stop talking in meetings, roll up their sleeves, and make things.
  • You’ve got some experience in the social or public sector – or at least are familiar with some of the lingo, some of the sensitivities, and opportunities.
  • You’re curious and humble; open to learning more and wanting to incorporate social science thinking into your repertoire.
  • You’re a motivated team player, who steps up to the plate when needed and can also be flexible. You enjoy working at a fast-pace and can deliver on time (or maybe just in time)!

More about your vibe ...

  • Passionate about what matters. You are deeply passionate about wanting to see change with and for folks on the margins, and have an understanding of the immigrant and refugee experience in Canada. You get that innovation is just a means to an end, not the end in and of itself.
  • A respectful pioneer. You’re in your groove when you’re making big and ambitious stuff happen, but you know how to curate people’s journey from the known into the unknown.
  • Adaptable. You don’t need a full plan to act. You appreciate the flexibility of learning as you go, and welcome changing course & approach as needed.
  • Ready for more. You’re at a point in your life where you want to invest a bit more, to get a bit more. Rather than just a job, you’re looking for deeper learning. You’re ready to treat this experience as a Masters Program, with outside-of-hours reading and reflecting. You get that change doesn’t always happen between 9-to-5.

What's a week look like?

The nuts & bolts

This role is part of Options Community Services, with ongoing support from InWithForward.

Start Date: ASAP

Hours: Part-time, 17,5 hours/week

Flexibility: Your work schedule will be determined around the rhythm of the work. The role does require some evening/weekend work, and travel within Surrey & Vancouver.

Location: Social Innovation Centre (13969 100 Avenue, Surrey)

Other Requirements: You’ll be responsible for carrying/caring for a laptop and cell phone. A police reference check (including vulnerable sector screening) is required.

How to apply?

Fabulous! Answer the prompts below by December 3rd. Please send your application to with the subject line ‘Designer – Hiring Committee.’ It’s super helpful if you can combine your files and send clear links!

  • Why you, why now? Show us how your values manifest in your work. Make us a short video or audio recording or presentation or pinterest board (or any other format!) that captures materials & images from past work and the values it reflects.
  • Find an example of something you consider to be next practice. Can be in any industry or field. Send us a link or a picture and write us a couple of sentences about why. (Hint: open the role description for more about next practice!)
  • Attach your portfolio and your resume and highlight your relationship to the human services space. Please include any relevant social media handles and list the cloud software you are familiar with (e.g google docs, dropbox, slack).