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Innovation Officer

Nairobi (Kenya)

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Nairobi (Kenya)
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Refugee rights and well-being
  • Closing Date: 2020-02-20

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Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.

Innovation Officer

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

UNHCR¿s Innovation Service looks for more effective and creative solutions to challenges that refugees face across UNHCR operations worldwide. The ultimate goal of the Service  is improved refugee protection, empowerment, and dignity,  by rethinking the way UNHCR works, it involves refugees in the design of the programs, and it looks at good practices in the humanitarian and private sector.
The Innovation Officer in coordination and collaboration with key internal stakeholders, will work to catalyze and scale existing and/or emerging innovations to increase value for refugees and other persons of concern (PoC), for Partners, and for UNHCR. S/he will work at times with refugee focused efforts, as well as the bureaucratic areas also requiring change in order to accommodate and to absorb new and creative approaches. A key priority for this position is to explore ways UNHCR can absorb new approaches more quickly, and more effectively.
The Innovation Officer will help the Organization establish a process for accelerated scaling of promising and good practices, and appropriate evidence bases on which decisions are made to scale (or not) projects. Secondly, the incumbent will establish a variety of processes to enable these projects or approaches to scale, increase adoption, or diffusion with UNHCR, at the field operations level, as well within the region and at HQ. Thirdly, the incumbent will seek to establish a process for scaling, increased adoption, and/or diffusion outside of UNHCR. Finally, s/he will provide guidance and advice on new and emerging approaches in order for constraints for future scale to immediately be avoided. This position will ensure that new initiatives are firmly rooted in the relevant internal competent entities.
The Innovation Officer will collaborate closely with non-traditional actors ¿ in part to learn from promising practices external to UNHCR, create a pipeline for the scaling out and scaling up of proven practices within UNHCR and finally will ensure that UNHCR is able to constantly learn from emerging/contemporary approaches to scale, and can accordingly make appropriate decisions around adaptability internally.
The position is part of the Innovation Service. All team members are expected to be able to work on a range of projects in a collaborative manner regardless of subject area and geographic location (HQ, Multi-Country or Country Office). This necessarily includes the diversity of work that takes place within the Organisation. At times this will be working directly with the High Commissioner¿s team, at other times with the Division of Human Resources, with a remote field operation in an emergency, or in a CRRF operation. As such, the incumbent is a resource well-versed and experienced in using innovation processes and methodologies through which to innovate, on a wide-range of challenges faced by refugees, UNHCR staff, and partner staff, agnostic of subject area.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


- Establish a system for the identification, catalysation and scaling up of promising practices within UNHCR, which enables that existing and/or emerging innovations are scaled to increase value for refugees and other PoC, for Partners, and for UNHCR.
- Foster the establishment of strategic partnerships with external actors and individuals, including from academia, civil society, and small, as well as large scale private sector organisations.
- Provide ongoing support to multiple innovation projects as a team-member, bringing skills, experiences, and expertise       in innovation processes to bear with other internal stakeholders requiring support, and with other members of the Innovation Service.
- Focus on supporting the build-up of evidence to scale already supported projects within the Innovation Service.
- Provide remote support and technical guidance in monitoring and evidence-building to UNHCR operations which are in the scale up phase of pilot initiatives.
- Apply relevant research, evidence and data-driven decision making to support UNHCR and Partners in the scale up of programmes, through assisting in documenting, codifying and disseminating key programme processes and lessons learned.
- Ensure that innovative solutions build-on/strengthen existing local capacities, including community representation and coordination structures.
- Work with UNHCR operations to strengthen buy-in, commitment and resourcing for projects which are ready to scale ¿ ensuring sustainability and/or scalability of innovations.
- Develop and share guidance and tools, based on field testing, to provide practical support to humanitarian actors.
- Ensure that AGD sensitive analyses, rights and community-based approaches inform human-centred design processes.
- Through direct engagement with key networks, stay abreast of practices around scaling innovations in humanitarian settings and provide thought leadership to external actors.
- Actively build appropriate partnerships with national, regional and global actors to leverage expertise and bring in required skills and appropriate resources at field level.
- Manage funding opportunities for project partners or UNHCR field operations, either thought the management of a fund or supporting projects managed by innovation fund opportunities.
- Liaise internally with key stakeholders including the Division of International Protection and the Division of Resilience and Solutions to ensure coherency of approaches.
- Stay abreast of new innovations and technologies; especially those with the potential to support scaling initiatives.
- Work collaboratively with communities, UNHCR staff and partners to design, develop and deliver innovative solutions to improve information sharing, community dialogue and complaints management in emergency response.
- Provide technical guidance to Innovation Fellows, particularly those with a specific focus on evidence building for decision making around scale.
- Support Innovation colleagues to design, develop and deliver innovative solutions within areas of their thematic interest including, but not limited to, data, connectivity, energy and education.
- Provide a critical analysis of impediments, or areas that require adjustment in order for increased scale, adoption, or diffusion to take place.
- Advocate internally for decisions to be taken that incorporate changes required for the successful scale, adoption, or diffusion of promising practices.
- Establish a network of thought leaders and allies within and outside of UNHCR around the challenges of scale within the humanitarian and UN systems.
- Make decisions on the design and delivery process for scaling across UNHCR, and outside of the Organisation.
- Identify and form collaborative partnerships within UNHCR, and outside of the Organisation.
- Decide, in collaboration with other relevant team members, upon communication efforts within and external to UNHCR around the process of scale, including lessons learned and promising practices.
- Lead the Service¿s advisory efforts on processes of scale, both internally and externally.
- Lead Innovation Service projects, and/or support to other internal innovation efforts as and when requested/appropriate.
- Perform other related duties as required.
Minimum Qualifications

Years of Experience / Degree Level

For P3/NOC - 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education

Development; Humanitarian Law;
Refugee Law; Human Rights Law; or other relevant field.

Certificates and/or Licenses
not specified

Relevant Job Experience
Experience driving programmes of scale within a UN or partner organisation. Experience of forging and/or maintaining partnerships and collaborative working methods, simultaneously with a range of stakeholders, including private sector entities, donor governments, civil society, communities of concern, INGO, NNGO, and other UN entities. Experience applying Innovation and/or innovative methodologies in forced displacement contexts. Significant experience of providing support to a range of operations through capacity building around scale, evidence building and provision of guidance and creation of tools. Solid experience of assessing and adopting multiple methods and partnerships in order to achieve scale, increased adoption, or diffusion of promising practices. Solid experience in managing funding mechanisms for innovative or other projects. Experience delivering training, and knowledge transfer to partners and UNHCR staff. Experience working for research and development organisations, producing data and evidence on the basis for key decisions to be made. Experience working in organisations with multi-year planning processes, such as development agencies, whether governmental, UN, or other.
A strong understanding of theory, principles, established approaches and evidence concerning effective innovation and programme design. Experience working directly with a media/media development agency. Ability to create and edit content using a range of audio visual media. Previous experience working with UNHCR in an emergency operation.

Functional Skills
MG-Decision Making
MG-Team Building
PR-Experience in Forced Displacement situations
HR-Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Management

Language Requirements

For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.
For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.

This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates. C001L3 - Accountability Level 3
C002L3 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 3
C003L3 - Communication Level 3
C004L3 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 3
C005L3 - Client & Result Orientation Level 3
C006L3 - Organizational Awareness Level 3
M001L3 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 3
M003L3 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 3
X002L3 - Innovation and Creativity Level 3
X005L3 - Planning and Organizing Level 3
X006L3 - Policy Development & Research Level 3

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that the closing date for vacancies in this addendum 4 to the  September 2019 Compendium is Thursday 13 February 2020 (midnight Geneva time)

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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