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Nationwide, USA
Design director – global R&D innovation kitchen

Herman Miller is looking for a design director to be responsible for its global R&D innovation kitchen department. 

You can make a salary. Or you can make a difference. Or you can work as the design director – global R&D innovation kitchen at Herman Miller and make both.

About this opportunity

As the design director – global R&D innovation kitchen, you’ll be responsible for design within Herman Miller’s global R&D innovation kitchen. You will actively partner with internal creative and business leaders and with design partners to ensure that design work aligns with the innovation, market, brand, and offer strategy of the business. You’ll provide informed and relevant guidance, feedback, and critique on matters of design strategy and product design to internal and external audiences. You will also be responsible for the contribution of design partners, ensuring that their work is within the constraints of the business and without compromise to their vision, beliefs, and potential. You will be responsible for, and at times lead or manage, strategic R&D partnerships with customers/dealers to achieve R&D insights, advanced sales, research engagements, and joint R&D ventures. You will also be the primary steward of working relationships between design partners and Herman Miller.

What you’ll do

You’ll have opportunities to speak up, solve problems, lead others, and be an owner every day as you:

  • act as a link between internal peers – creative, business, and product management and external design partners on matters of product design and design relationships
  • author, contribute to/review design briefs for product design initiatives. You will assign or present briefs to design partners
  • collaborate with leadership to inform and construct annual design and development budgets for product design services and commissions
  • develop knowledge of emerging technologies and material trends, external to and within Herman Miller, and incorporate such knowledge into design direction
  • maintain knowledge of global product design talent, both established and emerging, and constantly seek potential design partners for the organization
  • manage/mentor design leadership talent within Herman Miller and appropriately distribute design assignments where appropriate
  • partner with legal counsel to develop and implement relevant business agreements, including confidentiality, letters of intent, intellectual property, and compensation agreements
  • present design work internally to Herman Miller business teams and assume responsibility for capturing and disseminating feedback to design partners and program stakeholders
  • provide design direction to design partners, including feedback in the areas of visual, performance, materials, value, brand, portfolio, and strategic alignment
  • provide green light or redirection on matters of design to kitchen core teams during and between key milestones of the product development process
  • serve as a design voice to field sales, dealers, customers, and the media on matters of product design
  • work with Herman Miller design, creative, and marketing counterparts to ensure the consistent application of design tenets and corporate creative strategy
  • perform additional responsibilities as requested to achieve business objectives

Sound like you?

You might be just who we’re looking for if you have:

  • a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts/design, or equivalent professional experience
  • fifteen years of in-depth product development, furniture design, and industrial design experience
  • ten years of in-depth experience managing product designers/consultant-based creative teams and providing design direction
  • three to five years of in-depth experience practicing industrial design, with a proven working history across the furnishings industry product categories and segments
  • the ability to build long-term relationships with designers, clients, and business partners, from individual contributors to senior decision-makers at all levels
  • the ability to lead, influence, solve problems, and work with all levels in the organization, including executive leadership
  • an in-depth and current understanding of the contract furnishings industry, including the market, channel, A+D, and competition
  • an in-depth understanding of the product development process, from small to large scale
  • knowledge of existing and emergent materials, processes, and related technologies
  • the ability to translate strategy into tactical execution
  • the ability to partner with, and coach, world-class design talent, strong personalities, and visionary thinkers
  • the capability to synthesize parallel business strategies and objectives into articulate design briefings and design direction
  • design, development, and business acumen
  • management competencies that include strong systemic thinking and coaching, planning, and organization skills
  • creative competencies that include lateral thinking, insight synthesis, brainstorming, and ad-hoc problem-solving
  • the ability to distil divergent thinking into coherent ideas, narratives, and plans
  • the ability to successfully deliver design direction via a diverse range of communication mediums, including written, video, in-person, conference calls, and sketching/drawing
  • the ability to read and understand orthographic drawings, renderings, 3D models, material boards, and design specifications
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills, including professional presentation skills
  • the ability to be resourceful and timely in completing your work assignments
  • the ability to perform all essential job functions of the position with or without accommodations

Who we are

At Herman Miller, our unique culture represents the collective attitudes, ideas, and experiences of the people who work here. We focus on protecting the environment, impacting our communities, exceeding the expectations of our customers through high-quality products, and championing diversity in all areas of the business, and together we are on a journey toward a better world. We support the well-being of our employees in and outside of work by providing a variety of opportunities including award-winning work-life integration resources, development programs, complex health and wellness offerings, and much more.

Herman Miller is a globally recognized provider of furnishings and related technologies and services. Headquartered in West Michigan, we have relied on innovative design for over 100 years to solve problems for people wherever they work, live, learn, and heal.

Herman Miller is committed to diversity and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer including veterans and people with disabilities.

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