Senior Design Research Manager - Teams & Education

  • Full-time
  • Recruitment type: Permanent

Job Description

Join the team redefining how the world experiences design.

Hey, g'day, mabuhay, kia ora,你好, hallo, vítejte!

Thanks for stopping by. We know job hunting can be a little time consuming and you're probably keen to find out what's on offer, so we'll get straight to the point. 


Where and how you can work

Our flagship campus is in Sydney. We also have a campus in Melbourne and co-working spaces in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. But you have choice in where and how you work. That means if you want to do your thing in the office (if you're near one), at home or a bit of both, it's up to you. 


What you’d be doing in this role

As Canva scales change continues to be part of our DNA. But we like to think that's all part of the fun. So this will give you the flavour of the type of things you'll be working on when you start, but this will likely evolve.

About the Design Research team 

At Canva, our users are at the heart of everything we do. Our Design Research team plays a vital role in the vision and success of our company. One of the best things about Canva is how much everyone across the business cares about users and improving their experience - you’ll never have to sell anyone on the value of user research.

Our team conducts qualitative and quantitative research to inform design decisions, product strategies, and identify opportunities. We believe that research findings are most powerful when they’re out of reports, and actively being applied and used by product teams. Researchers partner with PMs, designers, engineers, and marketers to help them better understand Canva’s multi-faceted user base, solve complex challenges, and improve the product experience for millions of users worldwide. 

Our research team is diverse, collaborative, and supportive. We each bring unique strengths and interests to the group and encourage each other to grow in our craft every day. 

About the Supergroup
The Teams & Education Supergroup is on a mission to power up design to enable learning, creativity, collaboration, and productivity. Canva’s subscription products including Pro, Teams, Education and Nonprofits are all product led from within the Teams & Education supergroup as well as all core teams experiences such as content management and collaboration. In 2023, we dream of making Canva a household name in every team, with a huge focus on winning teams after seeing huge success of teams growth in 2022. 

So far we’ve launched a range of teams and collaboration capabilities, but this is just the beginning of our journey. As the Design Research Manager for the Teams & Education Supergroup, you will help us deliver a number of critical initiatives to achieve our company-level strategy of driving teams and collaboration in Canva. We want to make Canva the tool that every team - big and small - wants to use to collaborate and communicate every day, from the classroom to the workplace. 

About the role

We’re searching for an experienced Senior Design Research Manager to define and implement the research strategy for our Teams & Education Supergroup. Research projects you’ll oversee directly tie to Canva’s company-wide goals, so increasing user understanding and identifying key product opportunities is of critical importance.  

Your responsibilities include leading a team of 7+ researchers. This role will require you to thrive in a collaborative fast-paced environment, working with Product, Engineering, Design, Marketing, Sales and everyone else in between. You have deep experience coaching and leading researchers and your communication skills empower you to inspire your teams to dream and achieve crazy big goals.

Your sphere of ownership includes:

  • Prioritizing what research is happening across the entire Supergroup, including proactively identifying gaps in knowledge.
  • Ensuring all research conducted across the Supergroup is high quality; helping elevate research findings into truly design-inspiring and business-impacting insights 
  • Influencing product and business decisions at the founder and senior leadership level, sharing research insights and opportunities, and acting as the voice of the customer. 
  • Driving deep understanding and empathy of our diverse users and their needs: users of Canva from kindy to the large Enterprises.

At Canva, we approach management differently than other companies. We call managers “coaches” because this reflects the type of relationship we’d like you to have with your direct reports (“coachees.”). As a UX Research Coach, you’ll work closely with your researchers, unlocking their potential to maximize their own performance. We value autonomy, setting crazy big goals, personal growth, and self-reflection.  

Additionally, our managers are “player-coaches.” This means that you won’t solely be managing researchers. You’ll keep one foot in the craft – this could mean synthesizing findings across previous studies; providing consultative support for designers or PMs conducting research; or even leading your own research projects. 

What you’ll do 

  • Build and manage a high-performing team of 7+ researchers. Support them through 1:1 coaching, including shaping research plans, providing constructive feedback, setting career goals, and formal reviews. 
  • Develop research roadmaps for the Supergroup, aligned to product and business objectives, and be able to adjust these if/when priorities shift
  • Act as a trusted, strategic partner to Supergroup Leads (Design, Product, Engineering, Data) through your team delivering research insights that lead to demonstrable business value. Work closely with Leads to apply research findings and implement them in their short-and long-term strategy. 
  • Define the T&E research team’s identity, ways of working, and culture. Create a positive environment of belonging, trust, safety, and inclusion. 
  • Working with Canva’s Head of Research and other leaders, contributing to the UX Research team’s overall strategy and goals. Bring your ideas and initiative to level up our collective craft and impact. 
  • Creatively build a strong research culture within the Teams & Education Supergroup, including at the leadership level. For example, showcasing research insights in Supergroup-wide presentations and workshops with cross-functional teams and executive, etc. 
  • Lead foundational research projects for the Supergroup (which may include leading teams of multiple researchers, vendors, etc.), setting the standard for the high quality of research we strive for. 

Experience you will have:

  • The ideal candidate is a qualitative researcher with 8+ years of experience leading research studies: planning, recruiting, executing, analyzing, and activating. We expect to hear examples of how your research influenced product and design team decision-making.
  • At least 2+ years of experience coaching researchers - you understand how to make an impact through empowering, growing, and motivating others.
  • Experience working with leadership teams; influencing strategic decisions with this audience
  • Experience as a Design Research Lead, prioritizing and planning research strategy across multiple projects and researchers. 
  • Extremely strong communicator when sharing research insights and user needs, and opportunities/impact. Whether it’s during a workshop, presentation, or even a Slack message - you have an innate ability to rally a team together and inspire change. 
  • Deep grasp of qualitative research methodologies. You can flex research plans creatively based on constraints and context, clearly communicating trade-offs to stakeholders. 
  • You thrive in a fast-paced work environment that requires strong problem-solving skills, autonomy, and driving forward through ambiguity. You can juggle multiple priorities and handle change. 
  • Deep experience closely collaborating with product teams (PM, Design, Engineering, Marketing, and more). You enjoy collaborating with stakeholders throughout projects, and consider bringing them along the journey to be an essential part of the process. 
  • Experience helping People Who Do Research (e.g. designers and PMs) become better researchers. For example, providing feedback on research plans, interview technique, or final reports. 
  • You always keep your ear to the ground for relevant insights happening across the organization, understanding the implications and opportunities, and bringing it back to your team.
  • A track record for proactively identifying opportunities to fix problems - whether for users externally, or internally

Nice to have

  • B2B research experience with technical customers in enterprise organizations
  • Experience leading ResearchOps programs, such as defining recruitment methods for niche participants

Additional Information

What's in it for you?

Achieving our crazy big goals motivates us to work hard - and we do - but you'll experience lots of moments of magic, connectivity and fun woven throughout life at Canva, too. We also offer a stack of benefits to set you up for every success in and outside of work.

Here's a taste of what's on offer:

  • Equity packages - we want our success to be yours too
  • Inclusive parental leave policy that supports all parents & carers
  • An annual Vibe & Thrive allowance to support your wellbeing, social connection, office setup & more
  • Flexible leave options that empower you to be a force for good, take time to recharge and supports you personally

Check out for more info.

Other stuff to know

We make hiring decisions based on your experience, skills and passion, as well as how you can enhance Canva and our culture. When you apply, please tell us the pronouns you use and any reasonable adjustments you may need during the interview process.

Please note that interviews are conducted virtually. 

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