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Be our social designer and prototyper extraordinaire

We are looking for a part-time Social Designer to work with our partner, Options Community Services, and alongside newcomer communities in Surrey, B.C to help our one-of-a-kind team move from research to ideation to prototyping. Want to add delight, method and playfulness into the mix?


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Tired of your ideas sitting on paper, rather than creating change for people?

Want to contribute to making and testing a whole new category of support for newcomers to Canada? Join our Grounded Space team as a Social Designer and help us to bring early concepts to life through paper and experience prototyping. Grounded Space seeks to build capacity within the social sector to shift from best to next practice using deep ethnographic and design methods, rooted in humanistic values.

We’ve spent five months doing ethnographic research alongside newcomers in homes, bakeries, grocery stores, and even on buses. We’ve identified a core pain point: emotional ambivalence. That is, newcomers feeling both relieved and disappointed; elated and fearful, frustrated and hopeful.

Now we have heaps of ideas for new services, products, platforms, campaigns, and roles to attend to the emotional weight of newcomers’ journeys. But ideas only matter if they can spark change. That’s where you come in. As one of our social designers, you’ll be responsible for quickly making touchpoints to test, and putting these touchpoints together as part of new end-to-end journeys. You’ll join an ambitious and fast-moving team who see our work as a calling, not just another job. Get ready to create, contribute and learn!

More about you ...

  • You have a track record co-designing and prototyping new products and services and can toggle between the micro-level (interactions) and the macro-level (systems). That means you’re able to design touchpoints for both the front and back-end.
  • You are a strong and quick visualizer who can make abstract concepts real by sketching, drawing, storyboarding, service evidencing, journey mapping, and blueprinting. You never let perfection be the enemy of the good, and instead are adept at getting to ‘good enough’ in order to gain user feedback.
  • You know how to apply user-centered design research and are comfortable interacting with users from various backgrounds including, seniors, people with disabilities, who may not speak English, and whose schedules are not 9-to-5.
  • You’re a maker at heart. You love to get physical, creating everything from new spaces to objects, but can also go digital. At the same time, you definitely don’t just make things just look pretty, you engage with the content, bringing form and function together.
  • You’re curious and humble, but you’re also not afraid to step in, assert your point of view, and clearly communicate with others.
  • You’re a motivated, self-starter who likes working at a fast-pace, and can break down big ideas into smaller bits.
  • You can organize, plan and think strategically to keep projects ticking along and gaining momentum,
  • You are a people person. You get through challenges by building up and contributing to the team.
  •  You have some previous experience collaborating across disciplines — for example, with social scientists, community members, designers, developers, etc. You’re super open to learning more and incorporating new social science tools and practices into your repertoire.
  • You have a strong work ethic and are passionate about making things that matter in this world.

More about what the role involves ...

  • Making and iterating new service concepts with and for newcomers to Canada to test desirability, feasibility and impact.
  • Engaging in ideation, visualization, prototyping and blueprinting.
  • Applying a user-centered design process that recognizes the needs of multiple user groups.
  • Designing and delivering user journeys and mock-ups for a wide variety of face-to-face interactions.
  • Finding, printing, assembling and setting-up materials for testing sessions.
  • Gathering & synthesizing data to inform design decisions, including the use of ethnographic observation, 1:1 interviews, and co-design sessions.
  • Documenting and storytelling the process using photos & media.
  • Codifying new products & services to enable replication & spread.
  • Actively collaborating with the Grounded Space Options team, consisting of two to three others (researchers, testers, etc.)
  •  Participating in Grounded Space 2.0, InWithForward’s Research and Development space.
  • Pitching in to build a Grounded Space Options profile via social media and at conferences and events.
  • Assisting us to capture learning in blogs, podcasts, reports, or other media.

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, 18 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: Surrey and Vancouver

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.

Want to apply?

Awesome! Answer the prompts below by April 20. Please send your application to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Designer – Hiring Committee.’ It’s super helpful if you can combine your files and send clear links!

  1. Show us your portfolio and resume – highlight what you’re most proud of, and what your role on the team was.
  2. Make us something that shares why you think we’re a good match. Why is this role right for you, and why now?
  3. If you can, give us a sample of your writing, e.g. blog, essay, article, brief, report, etc.

We look forward to meeting you!