Senior Design Thinker

Location: Harwell, Oxfordshire

Responsible to: Lead Designer

Working Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Contract: Permanent, 3 month probation and 1 month notice

Holiday: 28 days per annum, plus statutory holidays.

Equal Opportunities: The Satellite Application Catapult strives to be an equal opportunities employer and commitment to this process will be expected.

About Us

The Satellite Applications Catapult is an independent technology and innovation company whose purpose is to promote, develop and facilitate the commercialisation and advancement of the satellite applications industry. The company is a not for profit Research Organisation, with a commercial trading subsidiary. The organisation embraces an open and innovative culture, encouraging an ethos of knowledge exchange and sector engagement, and has quickly become a world class centre of facilities and expertise.

We’re one of ten Catapults established and overseen by Innovate UK. They are places where the best of the UK’s innovative businesses and researchers work together to bring new products and services more quickly to commercialisation. Focusing on areas with great market potential, Catapults will open up global opportunities for the UK and generate economic growth for the future.

Our Mission

To innovate for a better world, empowered by satellites

Our Vision

To be a world-leading technology and innovation company, helping businesses of all sizes to realise the potential from space. By embracing a pioneering, agile, collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit, we create valued partnerships to deliver game-changing results

Our Culture

The Catapult fosters an open and collaborative culture that stimulates and develops staff and encourages collaboration and innovation. Our employee value proposition is strong. We have worked hard to create an environment which is dynamic, exciting, challenging, rewarding, flexible and, most importantly, fun. More about the Catapult Culture


We’re recruiting a Senior Design Thinker to join our team. We want someone who will prototype as proof of concept, work visually as much as possible, and wants to teach people why these are great ways of working.

The Role

  • Catapult designers work across hardware and software, making use of UI/UX and Human-Centred Design methodologies alongside engineering expertise.
  • Our goal is to identify and interpret user needs, applying cutting edge space technologies in unique and awesome ways to satisfy those needs. Application is our middle name.
  • We aim to support projects at every stage of development, from concept through to exploitation.
  • We try to avoid writing reports, rejecting walls of text in favour of well thought out visual representations.
  • We get huge satisfaction from making things that work!
  • We facilitate discussions, we run workshops, and we challenge preconceptions. We can stand in front of a room of people and help them think differently and creatively.
  • Catapult designers are already changing the world through the use of space technologies in areas as diverse as commercial fishing, disaster relief and city planning. Projects may be internal or external, and your work will very likely be used and seen by a global audience.
  • We want to help our staff develop. Tell us what you want to learn and we’ll support you where we can.
  • We value enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and someone who values joy in their process.

About You

  • You are someone who wants to change the world and believes that user-centred design is an essential tool in achieving this.
  • You prototype as proof of concept, work visually as much as possible and itch to teach people why these are great ways of working.
  • You can act as a translator, encouraging and facilitating work between disparate groups with differing skills, values and approaches.
  • You can tell stories and use these narratives to win people over to your cause.
  • You are naturally curious and not afraid to ask questions.
  • You are a thought leader. You want to influence how the team works, rather than simply following orders. You would have no qualms telling the Emperor he needs to put some clothes on.
  • You are resourceful. Being stuck on a desert island sounds like a dream holiday to you.
  • You are confident, friendly and approachable.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Experience of workshop or design sprint facilitation.
  • You can comfortably express yourself and your ideas using Adobe Creative Cloud (PS, Ai, Ae, Id, xD etc. – whichever you need).
  • You can communicate through sketching and like to write on walls.
  • Demonstrated experience with digital product development workflows.
  • You have a degree or experience in one of the following design-related areas:
    • Product/Service/Interaction/Experience/Industrial/Graphic
  • You can explain why need is essential to creating a sustainable and exploitable solution, where sustainable doesn’t just mean green.
  • You know what HCD means and have some experience using it, whether through your studies or commercial work.
  • User insight and synthesis experience, preferably with some time spent in the field.
  • You have a good grounding in design theory, are keen to learn more, and want to create and share new methodologies.
  • Experience working in multi-disciplinary teams and with a range of stakeholders.
  • You are self-driven, organised and able to motivate others.
  • You can draw a perfect circle freehand.
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • Ideas about how to spread design methodologies to the wider space sector.

 Desired experience

  • You can write code (or are interested to learn) and are able to have a meaningful conversation with developers (or show your own prototypes).
  • You are entrepreneurial and either understand or are keen to learn more about how to create a sustainable business case.
  • UI/UX workflow experience.

This role is ideally suited to someone with at least 3 years experience.


If you are up for the challenge and thrive in a fast-paced and creative environment, send your CV along with a covering letter to

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