Technical Design Lead

Nesta Technical Design Lead
Location London, United Kingdom
Application deadline 3 March 2021
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
Salary GBP52.4k plus excellent benefits
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We are Nesta. The UK’s innovation agency for social good. We design, test and scale new solutions to society’s biggest problems, changing millions of lives for the better.

We confront challenges that affect millions of people, from chronic childhood inequality to ill-health and the climate crisis.

We believe that innovation is more possible now than ever before. We see opportunities to mobilise citizens and influence behaviour. A wealth of private and public capital that can be used more creatively. Pools of data to mine.

And so we draw on these rich resources by bringing together multidisciplinary teams: data scientists, designers and behavioural scientists, practitioners at the frontline, academics; and people with lived experience.

Together, we design, test and scale new solutions to society’s biggest problems. We partner with frontline organisations, build new businesses and work to change whole systems. Harnessing the rigour of science and the creativity of design, we work relentlessly to put ideas to the test.

The role

The Technical Design Lead is an internal Nesta technology role which supports Nesta’s work in leveraging technological solutions to derive greater impact in its areas of focus.

Key roles and responsibilities

You will work collaboratively with a wide range of Nesta’s teams to rapidly prototype and advise on building and commissioning technological solutions to complex problems across a variety of projects, meaning that every day will be different. Using your understanding of the latest engineering trends, you will help to combine all elements of technology: data, integration, smart applications, core applications, infrastructure, operations, and embedded security.

This role will suit someone with both broad and deep knowledge of technology who enjoys getting their hands dirty in developing prototypes or creating an MVP. You may have previous full stack development or CTO experience.

As our Technical Design Lead, you will work collaboratively with a wide range of Nesta’s teams to rapidly prototype and advise on building and commissioning technological solutions to deal with complex problems across a variety of different projects. You will also work with Nesta’s Discovery function to identify and assess the potential of promising, cutting-edge technology-based ideas and approaches to achieving our Missions.

Your responsibilities:

  • Provide advice/support to Nesta’s new Venture Studio (to be set up in early 2021), including on the quality and commercial prospects of new ventures’ tech and on UX design
  • Work closely with Nesta’s leaders to prioritise projects within capacity constraints
  • Make hands-on software development contributions to the different areas of the technology stack
  • Ensure software meets all requirements of quality, security, modifiability and extensibility

Experience and skills

Skills specification


  • Ability to develop or inform development of prototypes, incorporating a wide range of technologies and with different project purposes
  • Experience in a Senior Engineering position, building and managing solution and scalable best-practices
  • Experience in delivering and ideating an MVP
  • A track record of delivering well-engineered products that meet user needs
  • Full stack experience using multiple languages and frameworks, with a proven portfolio
  • Experience in presenting technical concepts in a non-technical environment


  • Ability to represent Nesta effectively with external stakeholders, including commissioning and potentially overseeing tech-related work and engaging with Nesta’s delivery partners as a collaborator, problem-solver, and catalyst
  • Experience in applying technological solutions to the pursuit of social good, plus awareness of some of the challenges and nuances in this area (i.e. a ‘grounded optimist’ about the potential of tech-for-good)