Freelance position in Toronto

Service designer (Toronto)

Get in touch by August 15

We’re a social design studio with a big mission: to enable people on the margins to flourish. Tired of working for pharma, finance, and telcos, and up for a meaningful challenge? We invite you to join our quirky, international team of social scientists, service designers, organizational change gurus, and documentary filmmakers. We’re pretty confident that there is no such thing as a boring day.

Nuts & bolts:

  • Freelance agreement 10 months with possibility of extension
  • Minimum 5 days a month – up to 15 days a month
  • Based in Toronto – but with possibility for cross-Canada travel
  • Willing to start by end of August or early September 2019
  • Ready to be part of a team with lots on the go, supporting work across IWF’s network

More about us:

We’re a one of-a-kind shop in Canada. Our portfolio includes adult learning platforms for folks living with a disability, new family-led networks, after school services for young people at risk, and brief interventions for street-involved adults with addictions. Behind everything we make is a heavy dose of intentionality.

Over the past two years, we’ve tested ways for organizations to build capacity to do values-led design: to engage in ethnographic field work, to make & test interactions, and codify & embed new practices. We’ve learned heaps – including how hard it has been to really integrate a design sensibility within organizations.

This year and next, we’re trying again. This time, we’re emphasizing the space between organizations and community; we’re building teams that can co-design with and mobilize all sorts of community resources. We’re working in the immigration & refugee space in Toronto and Surrey BC., but we also work on issues like homelessness, youth-in-care, drug addiction, and isolated seniors.

People lined on either side of a long table covered with a table cloth and lots of decorations and designed materials with the sign "What if life was in full colour?"
Visitors at a playback session where we shared insights and stories from ethnographic work with newcomers.

More about the role:

We’re looking for a freelance Senior Service Designer to model what great service 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, practices,and metrics. You base all of your work in user research – and are energized by engaging with people to learn from and test alongside them.

Because we work in partnership with social organizations, we’re looking for a Service Designer who is up for navigating different contexts, relationships, and politics – and can use design as a way to cut across differences. To do that, you’ll have to be adept at introducing design to new audiences, and know how to explain design method.

This is not a role for the faint of heart. It’s a role ideal for someone ready to break new ground, with a strong desire to see design shape the social sector. Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. You’ll be part of a team committed to learning, growth, and always upping our game.

We work in sprints. Most of our sprints are three consecutive days. We often have a day or two of work to prep for sprints or share the work to other audiences after.

You’ll also be asked to join team routines like Thursday calls at 1PM EST.

More about you:

  • You have at least 2 years of experience in service design, 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 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’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)!
  • Bonus: 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.

How to apply?

A group sits around a table covered in a rainbow cloth with a board game atop, writing on post-its, surrounded by coffee cups
A group playing Elevate! A board game we created to share our research and invite people to do idea generation with us.
  1. Send us your portfolio – highlight your role and the work you’re most proud of.
  2. Make us something to answer the question: Why this role, why now?
  3. Email your files by August 15th to anna@inwithforward.com

Natalie Napier

Natalie Napier is Research & Storytelling Lead. She holds a BA in International …

Read more about Natalie Napier