Design Research Manager

San Francisco, CA or Remote Product



The Wikimedia Foundation’s Product Design Strategy Group is seeking a Design Research Manager to manage our small team of researchers and to organize, orchestrate and lead larger research initiatives. All the research projects the Design Strategy team takes on directly support various product development initiatives underway at any given time. A key aspect of this role will be to gather the pressing questions each product team is weighing, evaluate them in terms of urgency and potential impact, and then define lean methodologies for providing answers. 

The Design Research Manager will act in a dual capacity of framing and managing design research projects across the Product team, tracking the work of individual design researchers while also contributing as a lead researcher. The person in this role will be responsible for developing the strategic research and experimentation that helps inform and inspire future product and platform decisions. 

The Design Research Manager will also be accountable for the productivity and professional development of the researchers they manage as well as the general happiness and rapport of the team as a whole. This role will be augmented by a Program Manager focused on providing logistical, tactical and all other support needed to realize the research goals of the team.

Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects are complex places, both socially and technically — this position requires enthusiasm for learning about new communities, processes, and cultural norms. 

You are responsible for:

  • Managing people, their priorities and their professional growth
  • Managing team budget with the support of Design Research Program Manager
  • Effective collaboration and coordination with Design Research Program Manager
  • Translating organizational goals into project priorities
  • Driving department level objectives
  • Leading key research initiatives

Skills and Experience:

  • Facility in qualitative and quantitative methodologies
  • Experience leading complex research projects from start to finish (solo and in collaboration with others)
  • Experience leading/managing international research efforts
  • Aptitude for defining and measuring project success
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong time-management skills
  • Self sufficiency and ability to resolve what blocks your work within a cross-functional team environment
  • Comfortable working on short deadlines and the ability to pivot quickly
  • Collaborative nature (willingness to make collaboration across time zones via remote functionality work, as well as in person collaboration)
  • Academic training in Design Research, Behavioral or Social Sciences (e.g. sociology, social psychology, anthropology), Information Science, or Human-Computer Interaction background
  • 5+ years of professional experience in a research role, ideally on a product-focused team
  • 2+ years managing other researchers
  • Masters Degree or PhD in a related field 
  • Experience working collaboratively with design teams to translate insights into actionable recommendations 

Qualities that are important to us:  

  • Experience working in interdisciplinary teams with data scientists and designers 
  • A history of social activism, volunteering, and/or open source contribution
  • Experience contributing to Wikimedia projects
  • A strong portfolio of public presentations of research work (e.g. conference presentations, white papers, peer-reviewed manuscripts)

The Wikimedia Foundation is... 

...the nonprofit organization that hosts and operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge, free of interference. We host the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive financial support from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply.

U.S. Benefits & Perks*

  • Fully paid medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their eligible families (yes, fully paid premiums!)
  • The Wellness Program provides reimbursement for mind, body and soul activities such as fitness memberships, baby sitting, continuing education and much more
  • The 401(k) retirement plan offers matched contributions at 4% of annual salary
  • Flexible and generous time off - vacation, sick and volunteer days, plus 19 paid holidays - including the last week of the year.
  • Family friendly! 100% paid new parent leave for seven weeks plus an additional five weeks for pregnancy, flexible options to phase back in after leave, fully equipped lactation room.
  • For those emergency moments - long and short term disability, life insurance (2x salary) and an employee assistance program
  • Pre-tax savings plans for health care, child care, elder care, public transportation and parking expenses
  • Telecommuting and flexible work schedules available
  • Appropriate fuel for thinking and coding (aka, a pantry full of treats) and monthly massages to help staff relax
  • Great colleagues - diverse staff and contractors speaking dozens of languages from around the world, fantastic intellectual discourse, mission-driven and intensely passionate people

*Eligible international workers' benefits are specific to their location and dependent on their employer of record

More information

Wikimedia Foundation
Wikimedia 2030
Wikimedia Medium Term Plan
Diversity and inclusion information for Wikimedia workers, by the numbers
Wikimania 2019
Annual Report - 2017 

This is Wikimedia Foundation 
Facts Matter
Our Projects
Fundraising Report


Wikimedia is a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world.

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