Apply by May 15

Senior Designer

In these tumultuous times, the capacity to co-design the future with the people most marginalized has arguably never been more important. We’re searching for a humble soul to join our team and our quest to reinvent the welfare state from the bottom-up. The right-fit human will be a big thinker, strong visualizer, and versatile maker open to a role that will shift in shape and form as global events do.


Abut the role

Senior Service Designers guide InWithForward’s design practice, cultivating a robust human perspective and modeling learning by making. They bring stories of people, insights, conceptual frameworks, ideas, and solutions to life by architecting the creative process and producing testable physical and digital touchpoints: everything from research tools to infographics to exhibitions to storyboards to plays to multimedia products to apps to journey maps to process flows to immersive experiences, and beyond. All along the way, they coach junior designers, team members and community members in creative practice.

Senior Service Designers work backwards from outcomes: spending time with people in context — whether they are street-involved adults, newcomers to Canada, youth with experiences under the Mental Health Act, funders or policymakers, to understand what makes them tick, and then developing, experimenting with and iterating interactions that can prompt measurable change.

About our ambitions

In 2020, especially as we move towards Covid recovery, we’re seeking to co-develop interactions that change:

  1. What people in power know about the lived realities of marginalization.
  2. How people in power resource what matters to people on the margins.
  3. How individuals, families, and communities on the margins shape the future.

To do that, we will be

  • Collaborating with foundations to prototype new types of funding streams rooted in ethnographic insights and bottom-up ways of knowing.
  • Further developing, codifying and spreading a suite of solutions (Meraki, Real Talk, Kudoz, SMS, HuH) which demonstrate how to enable individuals, families and communities to lead the way.
  • Creating and stitching together stories and narratives of change across print, audio, and film.
  • Iterating InWithForward’s voice and look, including how we produce thought leadership products (white papers, podcasts, etc.)

About the role's responsibilities

Research & Visualization Work

  • Collaborating with social scientists on team to set research bounds, questions, methods, and make tools.
  • Spending time in the field (be that online or offline) to build rapport with people, observe, ask probing questions, listen, and capture the learning using audio, video, film, photography, illustration, etc.
  • Synthesizing data, finding patterns, and developing clear ways of communicating to users and stakeholders.
  • Facilitating co-design sessions to move insights into concrete ideas.
  • Coming up with fresh & novel ways to present ideas so they can be tangible and testable.
  • Making delightful print and digital materials that tell compelling stories


Prototyping & Codification Work

  • Developing prototyping plans with clear experimental questions; keeping teams organized and focused on the goals.
  • Sequencing prototypes to learn what is desirable, feasible, and impactful.
  • Taking a systems lens, and being able to set-up prototypes to build both front-end and back-end components..
  • Determining what fidelity to test a touchpoint and rapidly making what is needed — be it digital or physical.
  • Documenting learning from prototypes, and drawing robust conclusions about how to proceed
  • Producing communication materials to share what has been learned and creating strong identities around solutions.
  • Scoping work that is outside our expertise and helping to manage contractors (e.g film-makers, full-stack developers).


Scoping & Strategy Work

  • Developing project plans and visuals to communicate vision, intent, process.
  • Iterating internal processes and routines to enable great & fulfilling work, including introducing new practices e.g theatre, improv, etc.
  • Coordinating team work, and taking the initiative to move projects forward. This includes managing team time, setting briefs, communicating expectations, and giving constructive feedback to junior designers.
  • Clearly offering your point of view and not being afraid to put forth alternative options; Taking a proactive approach to team communications.
  • Sourcing international & lateral examples, creating mood boards to shape direction, look, feel, tone
  • Supporting newsletter & think-tank type content and contributing to sharing lessons learned through presentations, talks.

More about you

  • You have at least 7 years of experience in some combination of service design, visual communication and UX design, and know how to prototype service experiences and system interventions across channels. You’re adept with system and journey mapping, and have ample experience with multi-stakeholder projects across the public and private sectors. That experience has raised your level of discernment and deepened your understanding of the conditions required for implementable change.
  • At your core, you’re a maker. You love to make ideas tangible and testable, whether that’s digital or physical: from card decks to interactive tools, to wireframes and websites, to flyers and posters, to flow charts and 3d-systems maps. Even if you’re not equally skilled in all of these things, you make do, comfortable to rapidly mock things up, put them in the hands of users, and ask good questions.
  • You have a strong aesthetic sense, but know when to make a touchpoint high versus low fidelity. You get that being a designer is not so much about making things pretty as it is prompting people to think and act from fresh vantage points.
  • You’re driven by social values. You are not at all content with the status quo. The gap between the have and the have-nots stirs you to action. You see marginalization not as some abstract idea, but as a day-to-day reality that you can do something about.
  • You’re curious and humble; open to learning more and from people who look and sound different to you. This inquisitiveness makes you an attentive listener, and a generous on-the-ground researcher unfazed by gritty life contexts.
  • You’re a pattern seeker. You’re enthralled by data, whether qualitative or quantitative, and parsing through it to find the patterns and the story to tell. You’re able to make basic spreadsheets, charts and infographics — and, most of all, work with social scientists to find the narrative thread.
  • You’re an avid consumer and/or creator of content (e.g might be graphic stories, podcasts, blogs, zines) in either your personal or professional life, and feel able to shape content that can engage.
  • You’re a Jack & Jill-of-all-trades. You enjoy thinking on your feet, and problem-solving within constraints. Rather than feel overwhelmed by what you don’t know, you relish a good challenge!
  • You’re a dependable team player and collaborator who steps up to the plate and throws their hat in the ring (to mix metaphors). You appreciate that social change requires people from different sectors and disciplines coming together. You’re able to use design as a kind of adhesive, helping to stitch people and positions together.

The nuts and bolts (in pandemic times)

We see roles as one of the big things to prototype and iterate — so how we structure things can evolve as we work together. That will be especially important in these pandemic times as we navigate where work happens, and how. While we had envisioned this role based in Vancouver, given current travel constraints, we are open to location. And because of the emergent situation, we see a contractor role as a better-fit for now.

  • Start date: Late June
  • Type of position: Contractor to start
  • Days: 10+ days a month

How to apply

We’d love to get to know you and your spirit as a designer. By May 15, send

  1. Resume and portfolio, particularly highlighting your range of design projects and outputs
  2. A story (in whatever format you wish) of your journey to this point: what’s led you to here?