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Head of Experimentation

Yangon (Myanmar)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Yangon (Myanmar)
  • 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
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Engineering
    • Design (digital, product, graphics or visual design)
    • Urban Development, planning and design
  • Closing Date: 2020-05-31

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Background

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.

US:

We are building the largest and fastest learning global network on development challenges. We have already set up 60 labs in 78 countries) embedded within UNDP’s global architecture and country platforms. We are now recruiting for a second cohort of 30 labs to be based in UNDP around the world. We use the power of the crowd, machine learning and distributed decision making to support partners to understand problems, develop new solutions, promote more inclusive decision making, and provide better oversight of what is done. We identify grassroots solutions and stretch their potential to accelerate development.  We apply experimentation closely with government partners to grow this as a mode of operating to reduce costs of large-scale public sector reforms. Experimentation helps us learn whether particular assumptions are accurate before deploying solutions at scale, especially in the rapidly evolving contexts that often dominate development progress.

You:

You are capable and 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 ambiquity, 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 compentencies 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 do-er.  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.

You have experience and are motivated by advocating for change – you know how to work with the skeptics, demonstrate the value of your work to those who do not understand the innovation lingo and are adept at navigating organisational politics.

 

Duties and Responsibilities

Experiment portfolio design

  • Works with 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;
  • Mapping systems and assets, identifying levers and logic for intervention, building hypotheses of change that are a fit to the system level challenges identified; 
  • Works with colleagues from UNDP programs and government counterparts to 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;
  • Identifies and articulates policy options.Together with UNDP and development partners, coordinate portfolios of experiments to target multiple domains of complex problems.

Management of tests and experiments for sustainable development challenges

  • Collaborate with UNDP colleagues and stakeholders on the design of experiments across 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 experiments and portfolio implementation;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Design and deliver engaging and meaningful methods for reflection on learning from experiments;
  • 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;  
  • Lead other activities related to the design and operations of the Accelerator Lab.,

Organizational learning and interface with the core business of UNDP

  • Help embed a portfolio logic in clients’ work including the existing UNDP Country Programme (as determined and agreed with the senior management);
  • Working with clients to encourage reflection and capturing of insights from individual experiments, as they related to the overall portfolio logic;
  • Work together with your Accelerator Lab colleagues and experts to codify and advance the Accelerator Lab practice and portfolio design in particular;
  • 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;
  • 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.

 

Competencies

CORE:

Innovation - Ability to make new and useful ideas work.

Level 4: Adept with complex concepts and challenges convention purposefully.

Leadership - Ability to persuade others to follow.

Level 4: Generates commitment, excitement and excellence in others.

People Management - Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.

Level 4: Models independent thinking and action.

Communication - Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.

Level 4: Synthesizes information to communicate independent analysis.

Delivery - Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.

Level 4: Meets goals and quality criteria for delivery of products or services

TECHNICAL/FUNCTIONAL:

Innovation - Ability to manage organizational resources and deployment in pursuit of innovat

ion approaches and initiatives.

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Master’s degree in Social Science, International Development, Environmental Science, Transition or Complexity Science, Engineering, Design (e.g. industrial or service design, architecture, urban planning), Psychology or a related area and a minimum of 2 years of professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization, or;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Science, International Development, Environment Science, Engineering, Design (e.g. industrial or service design, architecture, urban planning), Psychology or related area and a minimum of 4 years of professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization.

Experience:

  • Demonstrated ability to design experiments, validate hypotheses and test prototypes;
  • Demonstrated successful experience in bringing about organizational change;
  • Professional experience in development programming or specific policy areas and social innovation;
  • Experience in following areas is desirable but not necessary:
    • Proven professional knowledge and experience in social innovation approaches such as Systems Thinking, Behavioral Insights, Qualitative and Quantitative User Research, Co-creation, Prototyping, Lean Startup, Design Thinking, Data Empowerment, and Collective Intelligence;
    • Demonstrated experience in applying experimental and portfolio logics to a specific policy area (or social issue);
    • Demonstrated ability to work with clients to help surface unarticulated needs;
    • Demonstrated ability in running co-design sessions and capacity-building in experimental design, lean iteration and impact evaluation.

Language Requirements:  Fluency in the English language

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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