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Strategy & Research Lead for Innovation

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

At Northwestern Mutual we're changing the way people think about financial planning. We’re redefining and reinventing the industry and changing people’s financial lives with better experiences and better technology. We believe in building inclusive, and diverse workplaces, where every voice is heard. Come help us build for the future!


In this role, you will vividly bring to life deep consumer and market understanding and insights that drive innovative and business-relevant ideas. Using consumer trends and insights from inside and outside the enterprise, you will identify and evaluate areas of opportunity in digital innovation and advocate for these within the innovation team and throughout the enterprise. This is an opportunity to join an exciting and established company while building out an entirely new insight capability to drive action! This role is for someone wired to advocate for the consumer while keeping a pulse on changing preferences and needs, and evolving technological options, in a fast-paced and evolving environment.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities

  • Provides strategic consumer insight and market research to shape innovation strategy and help to set innovation departmental goals and plans.

  • Synthesizes an understanding of the zeitgeist, consumer and demographic data, and technological advancements into non-obvious ideas to shape the direction of future-focused research and to craft specific innovation initiatives.

  • Performs detailed end-to-end, problem-driven analysis of proposed strategic innovation initiatives, with findings used to both make go/no-go decisions, as well as to craft the test-and-build go-forward plan.

  • Directs fact-based, research-driven decision making, planning and strategic solutions to senior leaders.

  • Partners with senior executives within the business units and corporate functions to understand their business goals, develops research strategies to support their goals, and works in partnership with the innovation product management, design, and engineering teams to propose solutions.

  • Initiates proactive research to support innovation strategy, direction and business goals.

  • Explores new market research approaches and technologies.

  • Works with stakeholders to prioritize research initiatives and shape learning agenda.

  • Initiates thought leadership to support innovation objectives.

  • Participates in cross-functional teams that support the company's initiatives.

  • Operates as both a partner and a leader, able to help realize business leaders’ aspirations through concrete proposals, while also able to use comprehensive thought leadership to shape their initiatives.


  • Minimum of 8 years' experience/knowledge desired in research, business strategy, or related skills. Experience in budget management, P&L creation, business case creation and vendor management a plus.

  • Strong technical market research skills that include; quantitative, qualitative, primary, and secondary.

  • Degree in business, marketing, social sciences, statistics or equivalent. Ideally from top-tier school. MBA or Master's Degree preferred.

  • Strong business knowledge. Financial Services Experience Not Required; but should have, or acquire soon after, intimate knowledge of NM field, markets, clients and products.

  • Able to be both strategic and tactical, with strong analytical, problem solving and conceptual skills.

  • Ability to unite key colleagues and cross-functional partners by gaining trust through demonstrating business expertise, experience managing cross-functional teams preferred.

  • Consistently displays professional courage to research design, analysis and interpretation to deliver credible work product free of bias.

  • Client-centered approach to identifying problems and solutions.


Grow your career with a best-in-class company that puts our client’s interests at the center of all we do. Get started now!

W e are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

If you work or would be working in Colorado or outside of a Corporate location, please click here for information pertaining to compensation and benefits.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.