Co-Design Lead

4 weeks ago by

Website StudioC

FTE: 0.8-1.0 (negotiable) 

Salary: To be determined based on experience 

The job at a glance 

We believe co-design can change the world through creative problem-solving that improves our clients’ lives and community wellbeing. We want to use our creativity to contribute to making the world better, together. The Co-design Lead will be passionate about co-design, helping to coordinate, facilitate, lead and support both small and large human-centred design projects. 

As the Co-design Lead, you will drive the creation of co-design solutions for a variety of communication and behavior change challenges. The role will include user research, synthesis, writing, strategic development, and design. You will be comfortable working independently in each of these areas at an intermediate to senior level. 

The Co-design Lead will work collaboratively with other co-designers, writers, researchers and designers to ensure project success. You will focus on both strategic and tactical aspects of projects, attending to the day-to-day project management of creative delivery, while keeping sight of the overall project objectives. You will iterate on prototypes, informed by user research, to deliver exceptional solutions to meet the needs of users and our clients. 

In short, you are: 

  • a strategic thinker that can conceive, write, draw, and build out ideas 
  • at a stage in your career where you have fine-tuned your co-design skills, could facilitate workshops in your sleep, and love synthesising research into both written and visual reports
  • ready to be a steward for StudioC’s co-design practice and nurture younger team members to grow our co-design capability.

Key roles and responsibilities

Project leadership, oversight, and delivery (70-80%)

Project scoping and management: 

  • Creating project approaches, proposals and budgets
  • Managing team capacity and workloads
  • Helping ensure projects are delivered to a high standard, have great outcomes and are on budget and on time 
  • Manage contractors and external partner relationships

Strategy and research: 

  • Work with the team to review background research, uncover gaps, and develop a strategic approach for projects 
  • Assist with tactical plan development, including selecting research methods and tools and creating new methods to achieve research objectives 
  • Facilitate workshops (online and in person), one-on-one empathy interviews, user testing and other participatory research methods 
  • Work independently and with the team to distil data into actionable key insights and convey these through written and visual reports 
  • Design and develop client presentations and reports in collaboration with design team 
  • Develop and articulate strategic recommendations for long-term creative delivery

Solution development:

  • Translate research findings into effective, user-centred experiences through low fidelity prototypes 
  • Test and validate ideas with users, and be able to quickly pivot and iterate prototypes as you learn 
  • Document creative process and rationalise decisions based on actual findings 
  • Work directly with clients and the team to explore ideas for creative delivery based on the insights and develop these into “next step” pitches 

Creative Design and Execution:

  • Project manage creative deliveries including timelines, budgets, client meetings, and managing the team and subcontractors
  • Design prototypes, at mid-level fidelity, to effectively communicate concepts to users and clients 
  • Design and build final art for production, which includes but is not limited to print layouts, packaging, advertisements and storyboards 
  • Produce design solutions that meet measurable business goals and requirements 
  • Support design team in editing and proofing design prototypes
Practice development (20-30%) 

Pushing practice:

  • Keep across new developments in the co-design space, including proactively identifying risks and opportunities for Studio C
  • Help define and evolve our future practice, appropriate for the Aotearoa context 
  • Contribute to business strategy and planning from a practice perspective 
  • Help define and measure our positive impact as an organisation 
  • Assist with developing StudioC’s new co-design courses and programmes, online learning and other outreach activities

Team growth:

  • Identifying opportunities for and leading wider team practice development
  • In project oversight and mentoring for junior team members across the design process
  • Contribute to hiring and retaining talented staff to help us build a team of New Zealand’s best co-designers

Business Development:

  • Proactively build and keep relationships warm with clients and partners 
  • Contribute to externally-focused thought leadership, communications and events

Key relationships 

  • Reports to Creative Director
  • Works strategically with Creative Director, GM and senior staff 
  • Mentors junior and intermediate staff 
  • Builds and manages relationships with clients and partners 

This is what it takes 

We’re looking for the following skills and experience in this role: 

  • Human-Centred Design/Co-design – You have experience in qualitative, participatory research, persona development, customer journey mapping, and visualising other user-experience flows. You have a toolbox of proven methods and interventions to select from. You’re willing to be in the field, immersing yourself in the community and user context, but you are also ready to share your knowledge and step back and up-skill others in the team to enable them to lead these pieces of work with your support. 
  • Project management skills You’re highly organised, detail-oriented and skilled at planning, allocating resources, preparing budgets and timelines, monitoring progress, and keeping stakeholders and the team informed throughout the full creative end-to-end journey.
  • Writing – You have excellent written communication skills, and you can translate user insights and research into succinct written reports that show how insights might translate into creative delivery. 
  • Facilitation You have experience in leading workshops and empathy conversations with participants at different levels (from community members to senior managers). You know how to create an inclusive experience and effectively engage participants. You are also comfortable passing on your knowledge and experience to up-skill and mentor junior members of the team. 
  • Communication Skills You’re a professional but down to earth. You can communicate effectively with the team, clients and the community. You have excellent interpersonal skills, an empathetic disposition and you are sensitive to cultural differences. You are responsible, flexible, collaborative, optimistic, and inherently curious about human behaviour. 
  • Creative and Design Abilities You are a creative at heart and ideally, you will have led and project managed creative deliveries or creative teams. You are proficient in strategic concept development, and have experience with a variety of convergent and divergent thinking methods. You have a strong understanding of design principles and their application to human behaviour, the ability to draw/visualise, and experience doing rapid prototypes/mock-ups. Ideally you are fluent in Adobe Creative Suite, proficient in graphic design, and have strong understanding of photography, video, animation and web/mobile design principles – or you at least have the appetite to learn these skills! You are also keen to oversee, brief, mentor,  and manage others on the team who focus more strongly on output.


  • Te Ao Māori – Ideally, you have interest in embedding Māori values and tikanga across the design process and helping to raise the team’s cultural competency. You have an interest in building relationships with iwi to do this and enabling co-design as an opportunity for whānau Māori to participate in mana enhancing and lead change in their own lives. You know or are interested in learning Te Reo Māori. 
  • Other bonus points: Other skills that would be useful to our team include an understanding of digital user experience and website platforms (including Webflow); experience in e-learning and/or instructional design; interest in business development and marketing; and experience in event design and management.

We’re looking for someone who is: 

  • Fun – doesn’t take themselves too seriously! Loves to have a laugh. 
  • Highly collaborative – can take people on a journey but is comfortable working independently.  
  • Bold – is comfortable speaking up and advocating for doing things differently 
  • Gets shit done – has great ideas but also loves taking action on them, working at pace to implement change 
  • Loves nature and dogs 
  • Loves flexible working and is happy working remotely at least some of the time

What we can offer you: 

  • Truly flexible working. We are digital natives and have the agility to make work fit around life. We have a core team day at the studio once per week to connect and plan, but outside of that you can work from home, rent a desk elsewhere, or work at the studio as much as you like. 
  • Creative variety. If you don’t like getting stuck in a creative box, this is the job for you. We completely avoid getting pigeon-holed and get to work on every part of the design process – we love it all. 
  • A beautiful studio space. We have an amazing wee studio based in the stunning native bush, with plans to expand. We love hosting clients and events in this space while being surrounded by nature.
  • The ability to contribute to and shape our organisation. We do things together and all pitch in. If you have a great idea, you’ll be empowered to make it happen. We’re looking to grow and we want you to be part of that journey. 
  • Professional development. We have clear annual PD budgets for each staff member to use as they see fit to grow their practice, and the ability to apply for more when an amazing opportunity comes along. We do regular check-ins and genuinely care about your growth. 
  • The right balance of support and agility. We’ve got tools and systems set up to enable us to do great work – but we’re always open to finding better ways of working, and don’t have to jump through hoops to do this. 
  • Genuine team time. We have rituals to connect as humans, have fun, dream together and live out our values. This can look like anything from planting days to adrenaline forest – your idea could be next. 
  • A fun, passionate team. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, like having a laugh, and at the end of the day are a bunch of friends who want to do good in the world. 


Please email us at including your CV and any relevant portfolio work.

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