Job ID: 30202
Practice Area – Job Family: Management – EXPERIMENTATION
Vacancy Type: FTA Local
Posting Type: Common System
Contract Duration: 1 Year with possibility for extension
- The UNDP Strategic Plan embraces the complexity of development and commits the organization to helping countries find faster, more durable solutions to achieve Agenda 2030. Important development trends like urbanization, climate change, and rising inequalities pose significant challenges on our path to achieve the 2030 agenda of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- UNDP has begun incubating a number of strategic initiatives aimed at ensuring UNDP is ‘fit for purpose’ to deliver a new generation of solutions in line with the challenges the world faces. One such key strategic initiatives is the UNDP Accelerator Lab Network which operates as part of UNDP’s sustainable development offering.
- We are building the largest and fastest learning global network on development challenges. We have already set up 60 labs in 78 countries) embedded within UNDP’s global architecture and country platforms. We are now recruiting for a second cohort of 30 labs to be based in UNDP around the world. We use the power of the crowd, machine learning and distributed decision making to support partners to understand problems, develop new solutions, promote more inclusive decision making, and provide better oversight of what is done. We identify grassroots solutions and stretch their potential to accelerate development.
- We apply experimentation closely with government partners to grow this as a mode of operating to reduce costs of large-scale public sector reforms. Experimentation helps us learn whether particular assumptions are accurate before deploying solutions at scale, especially in the rapidly evolving contexts that often dominate development progress.
- The Accelerator Labs will be comprised of a core team with niche capabilities that focus on exploration, experimentation and grassroots innovation. Within the first 6-8 months of the Lab fully functioning, each member of the Core team will take the lead on one of the following functions:
The Core team of the Accelerator lab will have capabilities in:
- Experimentation: Instituting rapid learning about emerging challenges through design and running of a portfolio of experiments that is coherent with the type of challenges that are part of UNDP’s strategic plan, and
- Mapping Solutions: Ethnographic methods and immersion in community dynamics, identification of and work with lead users, and implications of bottom up solutions for the policy design
- Exploration: The exploration function focuses on discovery and sensemaking of emerging trends, implications for systemic impacts and risks, and their potential for accelerating progress toward SDGs. Its work feeds into the portfolio of experiments ensuring its coherence with the emerging risks and opportunities and connects local dynamics and solutions into the broader national and international ecosystem of potential funders, partners, and allies thereby increasing the chances for acceleration. While critical for the functioning of the Accelerator Lab, the exploration function will also service the Country Office as determined and agreed with the UNDP senior management.
- You are capable and excited about starting, designing and managing activities, direct engagement with local communities and collaboration across global networks. You are driven by learning new things, figuring out how they work and translating them across sectors. You tell stories of emergent solutions and you gravitate to solving global development challenges.
- You have a natural inclination to interdisciplinarity, cross cultural mindset and cross sectoral experience with the cosmopolitan attraction for diversity. You are driven by a strong sense of purpose and commitment to make change happen and a keen eye to identify emerging opportunities and ‘at the edge’ trends. You are open to discovery and exploration, capable of articulating insights and ideas through visual thinking, open to serendipity and discovery yet are pragmatic and constructive working with public sector authorities.
- You are comfortable with ambiquity, capable of zooming out for context and zooming in for content and execution- sharp in pursuit of objectives, fast at adapting and changing course when needed. You have superb compentencies in program and portfolio management, are at ease with decision-making processes and dynamics of different models of governance.
- You are curious, a natural strategic thinker and a talented do-er. You understand systems, the good, the bad and the ugly, and are capable of working within bureaucracies to make change, leverage technology to extend, enhance and multiply exploration, discovery and execution. You are digitally savy, you hack tools, and you are keen to be a part of a large global organization exhibiting United Nations values.
Duties and Responsibilities
Experiment portfolio design:
- Works with UNDP and partners in mapping the context and nature of development challenges, with a particular focus on understanding systemic issues beyond traditional silos and classifications and identifying drivers of change, and levers for intervention
- Mapping systems and assets, identifying levers and logic for intervention, building hypotheses of change that are a fit to the system level challenges identified
- Identify logic against which to asses fit and coherence of the individual portfolios with the frontier challenges on which they are meant to generate learning
- Together with UNDP and development partners, coordinate portfolios of experiments to target multiple domains of complex problems.
Management of tests and experiments for sustainable development challenges:
- Collaborate with UNDP colleagues and stakeholders on the design of experiments across to validate the hypotheses and test the effectiveness of identified prototypes, including (but not limit to) defining variables, formulating hypotheses, and coordinating experimental protocols
- Develop a framework to capture the learning from the experiments in such a way that it favours critical reflection and rapid adaptation over static reporting
- Provide technical guidance for experiment design, roll-out and validation based on the experiment conditions, resources available, and requirements
- Proactively manage risks within experiments including those related to ethics and privacy
- Examine the results from the testing of prototypes and translate them into proposals informing programmatic decisions on next steps and implications for improvement, spin offs and scaling-up, where warrented.
Working out Loud:
- Proactively use blog and social media to share findings from the experiments and portfolio implementation
- Help UNDP and partners disseminate insights from Accelerator lab experiments via social media platforms as a way to regularly reflect and engage with external audiences.
- Liaise with UNDP’s global Accelerator Lab network and share learnings and insights from the country-specific experience
- Jointly with the CO, support lab partners to develop an emerging pipeline of new initiatives, support other activities related to the design and operation of the Lab
- Design and deliver engaging and meaningful methods for reflection on learning from experiments
- Proactively use blog posts and social media to share insights, attract partners and help position Accelerator Lab at the forefront of the exploration of new trends.
- Lead other activities related to the design and operations of the Accelerator Lab
Organizational learning and interface with the core business of UNDP:
- Help embed a portfolio logic in clients’ work including the existing UNDP Country Programme (as determined and agreed with the senior management)
- Working with clients to encourage reflection and capturing of insights from individual experiments, as they related to the overall portfolio logic
- Work together with your Accelerator Lab colleagues and experts to codify and advance the Accelerator Lab practice and portfolio design in particular.
- Provide technical consultation and training for national partners and the CO through various phases including asset mapping, developing a strategic portfolio logic, experiment design, prototype testing, and evaluation;
- Design and deliver engaging and meaningful methods for reflection on learning from experiments
- Lead other activities related to the design and operations of the Accelerator Lab.
- Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
- Adept with complex concepts and challenges convention purposefully
- Ability to persuade others to follow.
- Generates commitment, excitement and excellence in others
- Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
- Models independent thinking and action
- Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
- Synthesizes information to communicate independent analysis
- Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.
- Meets goals and quality criteria for delivery of products or services
- Ability to manage organizational resources and deployment in pursuit of innovation approaches and initiatives.
- Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s degree in Social Science, International Development, Environmental Science, Transition or Complexity Science, Engineering, Design (e.g. industrial or service design, architecture, urban planning), Psychology or a related area and minimum of 2 years of professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization
- Bachelor’s degree in Social Science, International Development, Environment Science, Engineering, Design (e.g. industrial or service design, architecture, urban planning), Psychology or related area and minimum of 4 years of professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization
- Demonstrated ability to design experiments, validate hypotheses and test prototypes;
- Professional experience in development programming or policy and social innovation.
- Experience in following areas is desirable but not necessary:
- Proven professional knowledge and experience in social innovation approaches such as Systems Thinking, Behavioral Insights, Qualitative and Quantitative User Research, Co-creation, Prototyping, Lean Startup, Design Thinking, Data Empowerment, and Collective Intelligence
- Demonstrated ability to work with clients to help surface unarticulated needs
- Demonstrated ability to apply a portfolio logic to experiments
- Demonstrated ability in running co-design sessions and capacity-building in experimental design, lean iteration and impact evaluation.
- Proficiency in written and spoken English.