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Head of Solutions Mapping


  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Suva
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Social Affairs
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Civil Society and Local governance
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Managerial positions
    • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Closing Date: Closed

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core principles at UNDP:  we value diversity as an expression of the multiplicity of nations and cultures where we operate, we foster inclusion as a way of ensuring all personnel are empowered to contribute to our mission, and we ensure equity and fairness in all our actions. Taking a ‘leave no one behind’ approach to our diversity efforts means increasing representation of underserved populations. People who identify as belonging to marginalized or excluded populations are strongly encouraged to apply. Learn more about working at UNDP including our values and inspiring stories.
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.

Head of Solutions Mapping reports to the Resident Representative and works in close collaboration with the CO staff and programme and projects teams.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Lead lab efforts in deep community immersion, collective intelligence and solutions mapping.
  • Developing and sustaining positive relationships with a range of local community and citizen groups
  • Identifying and training local volunteers, recruiting Universities and think tanks for sustaining long term community outreach and engagement and identification of lead users, providing training and mentoring. 
  • Translation of ethnographic and field research findings into learning and action for the Accelerator Lab activities 
  • Design specific field research and participatory methods to focus on the most vulnerable populations and those not usually engaged in public policy debates on development methods. 
  • Explore, document and increase understanding on emerging methods of tapping into bottom-up solutions, lead users and grassroots innovations related to sustainable development.
  • Convene a broad range of new partners with UNDP including artists, community organizers and emergent movements to explore areas for collaboration on sustainable development. 
  • Proactively manage risks with using ethnographic tools and methods, including those related to ethics and privacy.

Lead the processes of solution intake, assessment and designing prototypes for diffusion.

  • Design and implement methods for sensing and building on indigenous knowledge and local solutions, consolidating, screening and describing incoming. 
  • Design criteria for consolidating incoming local solutions. 
  • Conduct field research to determine best methods fo making solutions transferable, design methods to test and stretch ideas for their applicability and diffusion as part of a portfolio approach.
  • Test the solutions and potential ideas in real life context to understand potential channels of spreading (including identifying private and public sector venues for uptake)
  • Analyse system level issues that local solutions address (and those that they don’t address, therefore creating insights on the gaps) 
  • Design ‘things and tools’ needed to successful scale indigenous knowledge, lead user solutions, turning its insights into systemic change.
  • Advise on the accelerator lab’s experiment portfolio to ensure experiments are designed based on people’s knowledge, behaviors and peer to peer methods of managing and diffusing knowledge about sustainable development issues. 
  • Design methods for integrating collective intelligence into UNDP programmes and engage with programme and project managers to translate ideas into concrete practice.

Working out loud

  • Lead communication efforts and proactively use blog and social media to share findings from field research.
  • Ensure UNDP’s communication efforts respect privacy and ethics considerations.
  • Liaise with the broader Accelerator Lab network and the support team to 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.
  • 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. 

Advocacy, Organizational learning and interface with the core business of UNDP

  • Help embed solutions mapping and lead user methodology within the CO portfolio, design and provide trainings that include various methodologies and steps to identify and work with lead users.
  • 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.
  • Develop communication and other tools to transform field research into actionable intelligence.
  • Work together with your Accelerator Lab colleagues and experts to codify and advance the Accelerator Lab practice and solutions mapping in particular. 
  • 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 field research and grassroots innovation.

Build Strong Partnerships and resource mobilization.

  • Map potential partners across the public and private sectors with versatile expertise to strengthen UNDP Pacific capacity in service delivery.
  • Explore the available funding and investment opportunities from multiple sources and attract them for the development of UNDP Pacific and implementation of pilot projects/ experiments.
  • Jointly with the UNDP Pacific Policy Unit and relevant programme teams engage with partners to ensure pipeline of projects align with UNDP Pacific strategic priorities and respond to needs and demands of regional and community priorities. 

The incumbent performs other duties within their functional profile as deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the Office and the Organization.


Core competencies:

  • Achieve Results: LEVEL 1: Plans and monitors own work, pays attention to details, delivers quality work by deadline.
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 1: Open to creative ideas/known risks, is pragmatic problem solver, makes improvements. 
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 1: Open minded and curious, shares knowledge, learns from mistakes, asks for feedback.
  • Adapt with Agility:  LEVEL 1: Adapts to change, constructively handles ambiguity/uncertainty, is flexible. 
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 1: Shows drive and motivation, able to deliver calmly in face of adversity, confident.
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 1: Demonstrates compassion/understanding towards others, forms positive relationships.
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 1: Appreciate/respect differences, aware of unconscious bias, confront discrimination. 

Cross-Functional & Technical competencies: 

Business Direction and 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.

Business Development           

  • Knowledge Generation: Ability to research and turn information into useful knowledge, relevant for context, or responsive to a stated need

Digital & Innovation   

  • 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.
  • Solutions Mapping: Ability to engage and build rapport with vulnerable communities and get consent, facilitate participatory processes and navigate intricate power relations and cultural dynamics; Having the sensitivity and ability to identify grassroots solutions, capacities, assets, coping strategies that impacted communities have developed or used to address (emerging) development challenges.; Being able to understand these solutions from a people's perspective and learn about the conditions that enable or prevent communities from developing such grassroots solutions or coping mechanisms; Understand how solutions and needs are paired, and how grassroots solutions can be used as an entry point to identify unaddressed or unmet development challenges and how to use these insights to inform policy design.; Ability to reverse engineer solutions, understanding what aspects (artefactual, principles, conditions, configuration) can be scaled and how, being able to assess their potential to be transferred to other domains, regions or contexts and build a case for that; Ability to appreciate and integrate various sources of knowledge (academic, experiential, observational, traditional, indigenous) in problem solving processes; Set up structures and processes to collect ideas, solutions and facilitate matchmaking between supply and demand of solutions.
  • 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-centred: ensure people understand and can determine how their data is used. Feed back inputs and insights to empower people, don’t extract data.
  • Ethnography: Ability to build rapport and empathy with people and vulnerable communities to learn about their everyday lives, experiences and context. Being able to identify and understand patterns of relations, and their meaning, between different entities (i.e. of people, objects, animals, etc.); Being able to immerse deeply in the context of a community and look at it from an ""insiders perspective"" to understand how realities are socially constructed and understand and appreciated these realities; explore perceptions, motivations, preferences, needs, rituals to understand ""why people do things the way they do"".; Being inclusive when using digital tools engaging with communities; have a thorough understanding of ethical guidelines when engaging with vulnerable communities.; Ability to translate observations into compelling insights for community empowerment or to inform decision making, problem solving and policy design.

Required Skills and Experience:
  • Advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in Anthropology, Sociology, Behavioural psychology, Design, Architecture, Communications or related field is required.
  • A first-level university degree (bachelor’s degree) in the areas mentioned above, in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of the advanced university degree. 
  • Minimum 5 years (with master’s degree) or 7 years (with bachelor’s degree) of of professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization.
  • Demonstrated ability to undertake field research in remote communities and document ethnographic evidence and honour expertise in unusual places.
  • Demonstrate ability to work in participatory methods, follow the lead of people as experts in their own sustainable development.
  • Experience in following areas is desirable but not necessary:
  • Professional experience in development programming or policy and social innovation. 
  • Proven professional knowledge and experience in approaches such as Ethnography, Systems Thinking, Behavioural Insights, Co-creation, Qualitative and Quantitative User Research, Positive Deviance, Community Asset Mapping, Service Design or Human Centered Design
  • Demonstrated ability to work with partners to help surface unarticulated needs.
  • Proven ability to design ethical frameworks for managing public sector experiments.

Required Languages:

  • English and Fijian and/or Fiji Hindi
  • Knowledge of another UN language is desirable.
Under US immigration law, acceptance of a staff position with UNDP, an international organization, may have significant implications for US Permanent Residents. UNDP advises applicants for all professional level posts that they must relinquish their US Permanent Resident status and accept a G-4 visa, or have submitted a valid application for US citizenship prior to commencement of employment. 
UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.
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.
UNDP has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse of authority. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.  
UNDP is an equal opportunity and inclusive employer that does not discriminate based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status. 
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This vacancy is now closed.
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