Director of Design Research

Springboard Collaborative - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Remote - Full time

About Springboard

Children typically spend 75% of their waking hours outside of the classroom, yet our education system does shockingly little to capture instructional value from that time. Parents’ love for their children is the single greatest—and most underutilized—natural resource in education.

Springboard Collaborative has cracked the code on activating and equipping low-income parents to teach at home. Since launching 8 years ago, we have grown Springboard’s reach from 40 to nearly 15,000 students across 22 cities and 700+ schools. Amidst rapid growth, Springboard consistently delivers best-in-class results. Students average a 3-4-month reading gain during each 5 or 10-week cycle, closing the gap to grade-level performance by more than half. Weekly family workshops average 91% attendance. Springboard's work has recently been featured by Forbes, NPR, and the New York Times.

About the opportunity

Springboard Collaborative invites talented and passionate candidates to apply for the position of Director of Design Research. The Director of Design Research will be responsible for managing design processes that result in new ways of bringing families and educators together to help children read on grade level by 4th grade. A successful candidate will possess strong human-centered and/or “lean” design skills, be an effective manager, and have a high level of curiosity and persistence along with a keen attention to detail.

The Director of Design Research will report to the Sr Director, Innovation and Continuous Improvement and work as part of the Innovation and Evaluation team at Springboard. This is a great opportunity to support an entrepreneurial team in maximizing the impact of a rapidly growing organization.

Who we’re looking for

Our ideal candidate possesses the following skills:

  • Human-centered design/Lean skills: Able to structure and run design processes in ways that lead to actionable insights about what our stakeholders value that can create meaningful impact in scalable ways. Exhibits a probing mind and achieves penetrating insights.
  • Management: Cultivates people to support their growth and development and manages work to ensure completion to deadline and expectations.
  • Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and articulately, in ways that make design and the learnings that emerge from it clear to those without a design background while remaining accurate to those who do. Maintains this standard in all forms of written communication, including e-mail.
  • Attention to detail: Does not let important details slip through the cracks or derail a project.
  • Persistence: Demonstrates tenacity and willingness to go the distance to get something done


Facilitate innovation processes

  • Manage Springboard’s innovation processes with clear “stage gates” that move ideas into prototypes, prototypes into pilots, and pilots into standard offerings
  • Oversee each stage of the innovation process, ensuring that ideation, prototype builds, testing, and sharing results happen to timeline and within organizational asana norms.
  • Identify roadblocks and opportunities to improve the quality of build-measure-learn innovation cycles inside each stage, including criteria for pivoting or persisting based on learnings. Collaborate with the Sr Director, Innovation and Continuous Improvement, to communicate and implement changes.
  • Create and maintain a process for gathering and prioritizing new and existing ideas for innovation. Communicate decisions about which ideas are being developed and which aren’t in a way that builds buy-in from colleagues.

Manage and directly conduct rounds of design research

  • Manage and support the Experience Designer in their work, including planning and running design sprints and other forms of design research.
  • Support the Experience Designer in developing and working with Family Advisory Council(s) and Springboard Educator Fellows.
  • Manage and support the Design Research Coordinator in their work coordinating the logistics of Springboard’s design research.
  • Build and maintain a foundational knowledge base about our stakeholders.
  • Directly conduct design research as needed to build our capacity to reach organizational aim in a way that centers our stakeholders’ needs.

Share research results

  • Along with the Experience Designer, summarize the results of design research in ways that make the learnings clear to anyone in the organization, regardless of their background. The length and medium of these summaries could vary from short project updates to multi-page documents, depending on the research conducted.
  • Make recommendations on when to persist or pivot with innovation initiatives and testing.
  • Focus on the actionable results of the research, and collaborate with the Sr Director of Innovation and Continuous Improvement to ensure any form of reporting explicitly names next steps to incorporate the learnings into our offerings
  • Ensure effective handoff of learnings into building changes into our offerings, when applicable, by collaborating with the IST Project Manager and applicable Learning Designers.

Collaborate to integrate learnings across teams and departments

  • Collaborate with Sr Learning Designers and Sr Program Designers as they build the insights from design research into clear and overall effective user experiences within our offerings.
  • Periodically participate in improvement projects by helping to define problems and ideate, prototype, and test solutions in collaboration with the Continuous Improvement Associate and Sr Director of Innovation and Continuous Improvement, as needed.
  • Periodically participate in evaluation projects by helping to conduct interviews and focus groups, as needed.

While this description is meant to provide an overview of the responsibilities of the Director of Design Research, we are seeking candidates who demonstrate flexibility and can adapt to evolving needs in an entrepreneurial environment.

Required skills, qualifications, and characteristics:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience required, Master’s or equivalent work specialization preferred
  • 1+ years experience managing people; experience managing people conducting some form of design research a strong plus.
  • 2+ years experience facilitating Lean or human-centered design processes, preferably in educational and/or social-impact/non-profit spaces.
  • Demonstrated commitment (through work, education, or volunteering) to equity and inclusion.
  • Commitment to improving literacy and family engagement in educational environments required; experience working in or with preK and/or elementary education environments a strong plus.
  • Fluent Spanish speakers preferred but not required. Fluency in Mandarin or Vietnamese is a plus.


This is a full-time, exempt position offering benefits and a salary within the range of $80,000 to $85,000, commensurate with Springboard Collaborative's Director-level compensation band.


Springboard Collaborative’s headquarter office is in Philadelphia, PA. Although applications are welcome from any location, preference will be given to candidates who live in or are able to easily periodically travel to Philadelphia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Springboard Collaborative offices are closed for the time being.

To apply

Click the application link to submit your application! Please note the form will require you to submit a cover letter and resume.

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Experience Level

Senior Level

Springboard Collaborative

Springboard Collaborative has cracked the code on activating and equipping low-income parents to teach at home. Since launching 8 years ago, we have grown Springboard’s reach from 40 to nearly 15,000 students across 22 cities and 700+ schools.
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