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  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Addis Ababa
  • Grade: NO-B, National Professional Officer - Locally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Managerial positions
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Civil Society and Local governance
  • Closing Date: 2019-03-05

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Head of Experimentation

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Background

Solving development challenges require going beyond business as usual and calls for an inter-disciplinary approach to tap into local insights and knowledge. Therefore, UNDP embraces the complexity of development and commits the organization to helping countries find faster, more durable solutions to development. Important development trends like urbanization, climate change, and rising inequalities that pose significant challenges on our path to achieve sustainable development.

UNDP has begun incubating a number of strategic initiatives to deliver a new generation of solutions in line with the challenges the world faces.  One such key strategic initiatives is the Country Accelerator Lab Network, which is an investment in the emerging momentum among a growing number of UNDP Country Offices

UNDP is setting up 60 country accelerator labs, including one here in Ethiopia, to help accelerate development impact and strengthen UNDP office capacity to help address emerging challenges.

Our network will help to surface and reinforce locally sourced solutions at scale while mobilizing a wide and dynamic partnership of actors contributing knowledge, resources and experience.  Our collective approach will be transformed by introducing new protocols, backed by evidence and practice, which accelerate the testing and dissemination of solutions within and across countries. This will enable the global community to collectively learn from local knowledge and ingenuity at a speed and at a scale that our societies and planet require. This will be achieved by:

  • Building on locally-sourced solutions, finding things that work and expanding on them;
  • Rapid testing and iteration to implement what works and go beyond the obvious solutions;
  • Combining the best understanding, ideas and expertise to generate collective knowledge;
  • Accelerating progress by bringing expertise, creativity and collective intelligence to bear.

The accelerator lab will undertake i) external facing interventions addressing priority development challenges, and ii) internally facing experiments to embed new ways of doing development within the existing UNDP portfolio. 

What is UNDP Ethiopia looking for in you?

Are you excited about starting, designing and managing activities with  direct engagement with local communities and global networks?

Are you driven by learning new things, figuring out how they work and translating them to  solutions to solve global development challenges?

Do you have a commitment to make change happen and identify emerging opportunities?

UNDP is looking for a curious, natural strategic thinker and a talented designer who focuses on understanding systemic issues to identifying drivers of change and design experments building on  hypotheses of change that are a fit to the system level challenges identified.

Duties and Responsibilities

Experiment portfolio design

  • Work across units within 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
  • Map 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

Management of prototype experiments for sustainable development challenges

  • Collaborate with UNDP colleagues and stakeholders on the design of experiments 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 portfolio implementation and insights, attract partners and help position Accelerator Lab at the forefront of the exploration of new trends
  • 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
  • Work with country office staff to  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
  • Lead other activities related to the design and operations of the Accelerator Lab

Organizational learning, working out loud and grafting experimentation onto the core business of UNDP

  • Help embed a portfolio logic in clients’ work including the existing UNDP Country Programme in close consultation with  the senior management
  • Work with clients to encourage reflection and capturing of insights from individual experiments, as they related to the overall portfolio logic
  • Provide technical consultation and training for country office staff and national partners  through various phases including asset mapping, developing a strategic portfolio logic, experiment design, prototype testing, and evaluation;

Competencies

Core competencies

Innovation

Ability to make new and useful ideas work

Leadership

Ability to persuade others to follow

People Management

Ability to improve performance and satisfaction

Communication

Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform

Delivery

Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement

Technical/Functional

Innovation

Ability to manage organizational resources and deployment in pursuit of innovation approaches and initiatives.

Required Skills and Experience

Education

Master’s degree in Social Science, International Development, Science, Engineering, Design (eg. industrial or architecture), Psychology or a related area and Minimum of two years of  relevant professional experience

OR

Bachelor’s degree in Social Science, International Development, Science, Engineering, Design (eg. industrial or architecture), Psychology or related area and Minimum of four years of relevant professional experience.

Professional Experience

  • Professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization
  • Demonstrate 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 Design Thinking, behavioral insights, Qualitative and Quantitative User Research, Experiment Design & Validation, 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.

Language

Proficiency in written and spoken English.  

Other

* The Accelerator Labs will comprise a core team with niche capabilities that focus on exploration, experimentation and ethnography. 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:

1) Coordination

2) Training

3) Communications

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
  • Ethnography: deep 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 (direct collaboration with the Experimentation Lead), and connects local dynamics and solutions (link with the Ethnography Lead) 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 UNDP Ethiopia Country Office as determined and agreed with the UNDP senior management.

Disclaimer

Important applicant information

All posts in the GS categories are subject to local recruitment.

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.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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