UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
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.
You are 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 ambiguity, 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 competencies 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 doer. 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.
* 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 sense making 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.
Key Duties and Responsibilities
1. Horizon scanning and intelligence for the Accelerator Lab:
- Identify, visualize and communicate emerging development trends, data, technologies and issues with a particular focus on the edges and “below the radar screen” events, opportunities and players, and systemically map their impacts on economy, environment, society, and livelihoods of the poorest;
- Identify new sources of evidence and insights, analyze and visualize patterns in unstructured sources of data, present new insights in accessible and comprehensive ways to enable sense making and analysis;
- Proactively explore and identify the new methods/approaches and frontier knowledge to tackle development challenges, collaborate with the Experimentation lead to turn these into learning options for addressing specific policy issues in the country;
- Provide technical guidance for horizon scanning, foresight and data analysis for colleagues and partners;
- Contribute to the formulation of the Accelerator Lab service lines to the UNDP Country Programme based on findings from horizon scanning, systems’ mapping, and local knowledge.
2. Tapping into new data sources:
- Set up partnerships with private sector companies including mobile network operators among others to gain access to anonymized data sets that can be used for sustainable development;
- Demonstrate through exploratory tests the utility of new data sources for UNDP’s development work;
- Create partnerships for analyses of real time and other data to better inform decisions and policies;
- Design and deliver workshops, tools, or platforms that tap into the collective intelligence of communities and mobilize action;
- Proactively manage risks with using data and technology, including those related to ethics and privacy;
- Transform unstructured data sets into insights for UNDP and partners.
3. Working out loud:
- Share findings from the exploration on future trends, new methodologies/approaches, potential partnership,and others within UNDP and with partners;
- 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;
- 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.
4. Organizational learning and interface with the core business of UNDP:
- Set up tools and partnerships to transform information into actionable intelligence;
- Design and deliver horizon scanning trainings for partners and UNDP, help embed horizon scanning and attention to the ‘edge’ activities in the CO and with the partners;
- Work together with your Accelerator Lab colleagues and experts to codify and advance the Accelerator Lab practice and exploration in particular;
- Organize and implement knowledge sharing and network events;
- Lead other activities related to the design and operations of the Accelerator Lab;
- Design and deliver engaging and meaningful methods for reflection on learning from explorations.
- Achieve Results: LEVEL 2: Scale up solutions and simplifies processes, balances speed and accuracy in doing work;
- Think Innovatively: LEVEL 2: Offer new ideas/open to new approaches, demonstrate systemic/integrated thinking;
- Learn Continuously: LEVEL 2: Go outside comfort zone, learn from others and support their learning;
- Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 2: Adapt processes/approaches to new situations, involve others in change process;
- Act with Determination: LEVEL 2: Able to persevere and deal with multiple sources of pressure simultaneously;
- Engage and Partner: LEVEL 2: Is facilitator/integrator, bring people together, build/maintain coalitions/partnerships;
- Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 2: Facilitate conversations to bridge differences, considers in decision making.
Cross-Functional & Technical competencies
Business Direction & Strategy
- System Thinking
- Ability to use objective problem analysis and judgement to understand how interrelated elements coexist within an overall process or system, and to consider how altering one element can impact on other parts of the system.
- Knowledge Generation
- Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for context, or responsive to a stated need.
- Story Telling
- Ability to empathize with people’s perceptions, motivations, feelings and mental models and craft narratives to build an emotive argument for change accordingly;
- Ability to present data, insights or information in compelling ways to mobilize resources, talent or action;
- Ability to choose media and channels that is fit for purpose to reach specific target audiences.
- Data Analysis
- Ability to extract, analyze and visualize data (including Real-Time Data) to form meaningful insights and aid effective decision making.
- Collective Intelligence Design
- Ability to design, lead or manage processes that help a collective to become smarter together by bringing together diverse groups of people, data, and technology;
- Ability to define and articulate why and how collective intelligence can add value to development programming (understanding problems; finding solutions; decision making and mobilizing action; monitoring progress in real time, learning and adapting);
- Being able to integrate different types of data (Realtime, ‘ground-truth’ and novel data) to unlock fresh insights. Understand guidelines and principles around data privacy, ethics and protection;
- Increase diversity of inputs – and look beyond the ‘usual suspects’, ability to navigate and manage a variety of actors, appreciate the diversity in perspectives, opinions, expertise;
- Ability to facilitate platforms or sessions where people can contribute by providing their views and ideas independently and freely;
- Being people-centered: ensure people understand and can determine how their data is used;
- Feedback inputs and insights to empower people, don’t extract data.
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s degree in Social Sciences, Data Science, Statistics, Physics, Computer Science, Business Intelligence, or related field.
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field with additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of a Master’s degree.
Experience, Knowledge and Skills
- Minimum two years (with Master’s degree) or four years (with Bachelor’s degree) of professional experience in development programming or policy and social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization;
- Demonstrated capacity in horizon scanning;
- Demonstrated capacity in data analysis and visualization.
Experience in following areas is desirable but not necessary:
- Proven professional knowledge and experience in social innovation approaches such as systems thinking, Ethnography, Crowdsourcing, Collective Intelligence Design, Citizen Science, Positive Deviance, Social Network Analysis, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning;
- Professional experience in partnership building and engagement (public and private sector);
- Demonstrated capacity to use open data, mobile data, geospatial data, drone & satellite data, citizen data for informing policy making, strategic planning, or programme design;
- Proven professional knowledge and experience in at least one of the following: Future thinking and Foresight, Design Research, and Systems Mapping;
- Key awareness of key global and regional trends;
- Demonstrated access to networks of edge innovators.
- Proficiency in written and spoken English.
Applicant information about UNDP rosters
Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.
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