Design research

design research at work

I have 7+ years experience as a design researcher, leading, running and supporting projects for clients including Google, Spotify, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pearson, the Dutch public health ministry, and the Amsterdam city government.

Most recently, I led an ethnographic fieldwork project investigating how Latino immigrants in the US acquire English, and how linguistic, legal and social barriers inhibit their lives.

I’m adept in co-creation and stakeholder workshops, group interviews, diary studies, experience/empathy mapping, concept testing, probes, design jams, and more. I’ve worked across four continents and thrive in challenging environments. I can conduct research in English, Dutch, Japanese, and Spanish.

With a background in anthropology, I specialise in ethnographic fieldwork, but I’m always open to remote work. I relish the chance to join a team, but am also adept at running and lead projects single-handedly, from recruitment through to delivering a report and running workshops.

My superpowers are:

  • Masterful interviews in multiple languages (English/Japanese/Dutch/Spanish)
  • Journalistic talent for clear, concise writing and storytelling 
  • A skill for identifying compelling insights that speak to the right stakeholders 

I have also run co-creation labs and strategy workshops for corporations on design thinking and future-casting.

Running a co-creation lab in Amsterdam for STBY

As a design researcher, I draw out insights about people’s behaviour, and underlying motivations, desires, hopes and struggles so that organisations can better understand their users, stakeholders, or constituents.

Questions I’ve helped clients answer:

  • What would people be prepared to change about their diet to make it more sustainable? 
  • What impact did our service have on employees’ confidence and ability to do their job? 
  • How long do people use our online platform for, do they use it alongside other apps, and what is their user journey from beginning to end?
  • What cultural values do colours have in Japan? 
  • What is the social and economic value of our service on the local community? 

“I’m always looking for excuses to work with Sophie because she’s the best kind of collaborator.

She brings with her a mix of positive energy, open mindedness, critical rigor and quick footwork to projects that makes the hard parts feel fun, important and attainable for everyone involved.”

– Chris Palmieri, Managing Director and co-founder of AQ