is in search of a

Wildcard Intern

IDEO is on the lookout for a Wildcard Intern! Sounds cool, you may say, but what the heck is it? Well, we’re looking for someone of agile mind and curious disposition who hasn’t decided on a specialized focus just yet. At IDEO, we have lots of graphic designers, research designers, and many other wonderful specialists, but by wildcard we mean, none of the above. Or, all of the above!

We want someone with passions hidden up every sleeve, and the creativity to work on project and internal teams throughout the whole design process. Basically, if you’re excited about a field we’ve overlooked, we’re curious about what your discipline could add to our bag of tricks.

So, are you a Wildcard? Do you thrive on the unexpected? Are you fascinated by different points of view? Do you know your stuff inside and out, yet remain open to being challenged? Can you bend your style to fit in with others without losing your own uniqueness? Yes? Great! Read on.

What You’ll Do Here

On a typical day at IDEO, you start out in the field conducting observational research—maybe at a person’s house or shadowing a veterinarian who works with big cats at the zoo. Then you come back to the studio, break out the Post-its and Sharpies, and brainstorm ideas with your team in a project space. Lots of eye contact, quick sketches, and raw concepts. Everyone has a different background and distinct insights. Maybe one teammate’s an architect who studies quantum theory for kicks, while another is an MBA with a fondness for glassblowing. How delightfully disorienting!

A deadline is looming. Yikes! Time to get down to making rough prototypes. Publicly. Before you can polish your ideas or even run spell-check. Okay, that’s done. Now it’s time to bring those prototypes to life in ways that will make the client wrap your team in a bear hug and never let go.

What’s In It for Me?

For three to six months, you’ll work with designers of various disciplines on projects in multiple sectors and industries. Think of it as a chance to explore areas of design you’re not yet familiar with. And yes, you will be paid.

Our projects are about designing experiences, environments, products, and strategies. Imagine co-creating tools to facilitate better public diplomacy, reinventing healthcare experiences that improve thousands of lives, or prototyping marquee products to help startups make their mark in the world.

Along with supporting our client work at IDEO, we’ll encourage you to try out new methodologies and sources of inspiration to further push your capabilities and passions. IDEOers are creative, weird, and fast-moving. That means being comfortable with ambiguity, juggling lots of responsibilities, and prioritizing accordingly. If you feel like you have a lot more growing to do, then this is the place for you.

Our Ideal Wildcard

  • You’re open. You take chances, aren’t afraid to fail and learn along the way, and can handle the unexpected with a smile. You’re energized by surprise and passionate about pushing beyond expectations.
  • You love working in teams and across disparate groups, and you enjoy diving into design projects of every stripe. You’re the ultimate collaborator, but you’re also a self-starter.
  • You’re an analytical powerhouse who approaches challenges efficiently and creatively, always able to marshal the right people and resources to start conversations, generate ideas, and get things done.
  • You’re service-oriented and comfortable collaborating with clients from a variety of industries.
  • You’re a perfectionist, but you’re also comfortable playing with rough, unfinished ideas along the way toward the final concepts. In other words, you can see the forest and the trees.
  • You’re fun! If you’re sitting there wondering, “Where have you been all my life?” then we’re wondering the same about you.

Relevant Experience

  • At least 1–2 years of doing what you do (don’t worry, grad school counts)
  • Strong passion for your craft
  • Ability to work within a self-directed culture and to navigate ambiguity
  • Demonstrated inclination in playing nicely with others (IDEO is a team-oriented
  • Friendship with multi-tasking

🙏 Pop Quiz, Hot Shot 🙏

What superpower do you have that could contribute to IDEO’s projects and the ways we solve problems?

(Optional: Make a chindōgu, send us a picture of it, and give it a name.)

Application Requirements
and Instructions

If you’re a bona fide Wildcard who identifies with our values and wants to contribute to our studio, we’d love to see your CV/resume, portfolio, and cover letter, which should address the pop quiz above.

Please also indicate the IDEO studio(s) where you’d be interested in working: Cambridge, Chicago, London, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, and/or Tokyo.

Come surprise us