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Head of Solutions Mapping - Re-advertised

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
  • Grade: NO-B, National Professional Officer - Locally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Managerial positions
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Civil Society and Local governance
    • Communication and Public Information
    • Social Affairs
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Closing Date: 2019-08-23

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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 is keen to make changes leveraging technologies to enhance collective intelligence and solutions for sustainable development.

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Lead lab efforts in deep community immersion, collective intelligence and solutions mapping
  • Develop and sustain positive relationships with a range of local community and citizen groups
  • Identify and train local volunteers, recruiting Universities and think tanks for sustaining long term community outreach and engagement and identification of lead users, providing training and mentoring
  • Translate ethnographic and field research findings into learning and action for the acceleration 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 collective intelligence for sustainable development.
  1. Convene the processes of solution intake, assessment and designing prototypes for diffusion
  • Design and implement methodology for intaking indigenous knowledge and local solutions, consolidating, screening and further describing incoming ideas
  • Design criteria/metrics for assessing consolidating incoming local solutions
  • Conduct field research to determine best methods for making solutions transferable
  • 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)
  • Analyze system level issues that local solutions address (and don’t address, therefore exposing gaps)
  • Design of ‘things and tools’ needed to successful scale indigenous knowledge, lead user solutions, turning its insights into systemic change
  • Design methods for integrating collective intelligence into UNDP programmes and engage with programme and project managers to translate ideas into concrete practice
  1. Undertake cultural and behavioral analyses for the accelerator lab portfolio of experiments
  • 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.
  • Ensure ethics framework is implemented for the lab’s portfolio of experiments
  • Design methods to test accelerator ideas for their applicability and diffusion
  • Integrate cultural norms, peer to peer methods and behaviorial insights into technology-based experiments
  • Convene a broad range of new partners with UNDP including artists, community organizers and emergent movements to explore areas for collaboration on sustainable development
  1. Work out loud and Organizational Learning
  • Lead communication efforts and proactively use blog and social media to share findings from field research while respecting 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
  • Help embed solutions mapping lead user methodology within the CO portfolio, design and provide trainings that include various methodologies and steps to identify and work with lead users


Core Competencies


Ability to make new and useful ideas work


Ability to persuade others to follow

People Management

Ability to improve performance and satisfaction


Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform


Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement



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

Required Skills and Experience


Master’s degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Behavioral psychology, Design, Communications or related field and minimum of two years of relevant professional experience


Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Behavioral psychology, Design, Communications or related field and minimum of four years of relevant professional experience

Professional Experience

  • 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 honor expertise in usual 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, behavioral insights, Qualitative and Quantitative User Research, service journeys 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


Proficiency in written and spoken English.  


* The accelerator labs will be comprised of a core team with niche capabilities that focus on exploration, experimentation and ethnographic solutions mapping. 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
  • Ethnographic solutions mapping: 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 Country Office as determined and agreed with the UNDP senior management.


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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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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