Service Design Lead, T Lab
San Francisco

Service Design Lead, T Lab

Tipping Point seeks a Service Design Lead to work with local non-profits to co-create and prototype social service solutions for pressing issues in the Bay Area.

Tipping Point Community is looking for a seasoned service designer to join us in the fight against poverty in the Northern California Bay Area. As part of Tipping Point's T Lab team, we work with non-profit organizations to design and test new services to help their clients build pathways out of poverty. The full job description follows below, or you can visit Tipping Point's job openings at

Service Design Lead, T Lab

San Francisco, CA

About Tipping Point Community

Since 2005, Tipping Point Community has raised more than $120 million to educate, employ, house and support those in need in the Bay Area, impacting the lives of over 205,000 people in the last year alone. Tipping Point Community screens non-profits rigorously to find, fund and partner with the most promising groups helping low-income people achieve self-sufficiency. Beyond dollars, we provide our grantees with the communications, technical and management assistance they need to grow and increase their impact in the fight against poverty. 100% of every dollar donated goes out the door because our board underwrites all operating and fundraising expenses. 

To learn more and subscribe to our newsletter, please visit our website at

About T Lab

1.3M people in the Bay Area can’t meet their basic needs. Tipping Point currently supports over 40 promising non-profits in the areas of education, employment, housing and wellness. But these non-profits alone are not enough. The persistent challenges that poverty presents demand new ideas and new approaches. For this reason, we created T Lab in 2013 and it is now a core part of our grantmaking strategy.

The T Lab team serves as an in-house Research and Development (R+D) team at Tipping Point that will partner with grantees and non-grantees to co-create and test new social services for those living in poverty in the Bay Area. The approach is anchored in the following methodology: 1) defining the problem; 2) conduct qualitative research with people using human-centered design and behavioral science tools; 3) develop hypotheses and learning objectives about potential solutions; 4) build prototypes to test those hypotheses alongside Bay Area community members; 5) conduct small experiments with community members. Over the next three fiscal years, Tipping Point aims to manage a portfolio of R+D projects that includes ongoing R+D projects and completing 4-6 new projects using this approach.

Position Overview

Tipping Point seeks a passionate Service Design Lead, who will work with local community members, our grantees, and other stakeholders to co-create and prototype social service solutions for pressing issues in the Bay Area.

The Service Design Lead will have deep and practical experience in human-centered research and service design approaches, as well as an understanding of how to design digital and service-oriented solutions that may be required as part of a social service. Their technical expertise will be balanced with strong intrapersonal skills that make them a natural facilitator and collaborator with community stakeholders throughout a project.

The Service Design Lead will help establish the direction and methodology of the collective T Lab team, as well as set the bar for quality on research and design outcomes. As appropriate, Service Design Lead will also work with third-party designers and researchers to ensure there is appropriate capacity and expertise to execute T Lab projects.

This position will report to the Director, T Lab. 

Position Responsibilities

T Lab Project Assessment and Selection

  • Work with the Director to identify and develop T Lab opportunities and assess readiness for grantees and community stakeholders
  • Work with the Director to develop T Lab project proposals for board approval
  • Research, Design, and Test Service Concepts
  • Comfortable as both an independent contributor and leader in planning and executing ethnographic and participatory research with end beneficiaries
  • Use frameworks to document organizational architecture, strategic assets and operating models
  • Synthesize ethnographic and desk research insights into a format that can be used by grantees and other key stakeholders, blending both qualitative and quantitative insights
  • Co-create and prototype a range of service and digital solutions to test with community members
  • Design T Lab experiments that incorporate prototypes, from hypothesis definition and key learning objectives to post-experiment analysis and suggested next steps

Team Contributor

  • Lead or participate in the design, development and facilitation of T Lab workshops to engage partners and grantees including digitizing key tools and artifacts
  • Participate in ethnographic and participatory research, as well as the reviewing and synthesizing of seminal research in a given area of focus
  • Work with project team to develop, design and manage the execution of structured experiments 

Communications + Community of Practice

  • Create presentations and visual assets to support T Lab communication to external audiences • 
  • Participate or speak at meetings and gatherings with community peers to advance the mission of R+D in the philanthropic and non-profit sectors

Strong candidates will have a successful track record and/or skills in each of the following areas:

  • Required: BFA or BA in related field, graduate degree is preferred
  • Experience: 10+ years of professional experience, including 7+ years of design experience.
  • Non-profit, civic and/or NGO experience: Experience working on long-term service initiatives that address social issues.
  • Professional Design Experience: Has a portfolio of work that demonstrates the ability to design and prototype digital or service solutions. A balanced understanding of research, strategy, service design, digital design, and experience prototyping is a must. Experience in implementation is a plus.
  • Project Leadership: 3+ years of leading multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Strong communicator and collaborator: Ability to articulate complex solutions clearly, and solicit the best work from peers and community members.
  • Thrives in early stage environments: Is comfortable with ambiguity and managed chaos; at ease with “building the plane while flying it.” An entrepreneurial spirit, unflappable optimism and a healthy dose of realism.
  • Resourceful self-starter: Ability to work and complete tasks independently. Continually finds new resources to build capacity.
  • Effective stakeholder management: Demonstrated ability to build and manage relationships across internal teams, grantees and community stakeholders.
  • Constant learner: Ability to search for, test and integrate cutting-edge practices into a new and emerging initiative (e.g., exploration and use of new technology platforms, etc.).
  • Bilingual: proficient in Spanish and English is a plus.

Salary, Benefits and Timing

Tipping Point Community offers a competitive compensation package including benefits. Candidates with Visa requirements are welcome to apply. This position is open for immediate hire.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter explaining your interest in Tipping Point Community, where/how you found out about this opportunity, and your salary requirement. Email the cover letter along with your resume and portfolio to Please write your name and the title for this position (“Your name – Service Design Lead”) in the subject line of your email.

Tipping Point Community is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to providing equal opportunity to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation, family responsibilities, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, military status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state or local law. We believe diversity is a strength and strategy for powerful and creative leadership.

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