Head of Exploration - Accelerator Labs Project Cameroon (Open exclusively to Cameroonians)
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
the economic resilience of populations, violent extremism, climate change and access to water and energy, pose significant challenges on our path to achieve the 2030 agenda of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the national level, UNDP Cameroon has undertaken in 2019 to set up a platform for promoting youth innovation with the aim of creating new jobs and meeting socioeconomic challenges thanks to innovative economic models, offering consumers of low income new or improved products. To this end, a national innovation challenge was organized by the Country Office and 30 projects with high potential in the fields of agro-industry, digital technology, environmental protection, and health were selected, funded and are in the implementation phase.
At the global level, 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. This lab is designed to accelerate development impact and reinforce existing capabilities of the Country Office. It will also generate strategic arguments for doing development differently, bringing about transformational change and renewing UNDP’s capacity to address frontier challenges.
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. While capitalizing on the achievements of this pioneering experience in Cameroon, we will 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 are 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.
Duties and Responsibilities
Horizon scanning and intelligence for the Accelerator Lab
· Identify, visualize and communicate emerging development trends, data, technologies and issues with a particular focus on the edges and “below the radar screen” events, opportunities and players, and systemically map their impacts on economy, environment, society, and livelihoods of the poorest.
· Identify new sources of evidence and insights, analyze and visualize patterns in unstructured sources of data, present new insights in accessible and comprehensive ways to enable sensemaking and analysis
· Proactively explore and identify the new methods/approaches and frontier knowledge to tackle development challenges, collaborate with the Experimentation lead to turn these into learning options for addressing specific policy issues in the country
- Provide technical guidance for horizon scanning, foresight and data analysis for colleagues and partners.
Contribute to the formulation of the Accelerator Lab service lines to the UNDP Country Programme based on findings from horizon scanning, systems’ mapping, and local knowledge
Tapping into new data sources
· Set up partnerships with private sector companies including mobile network operators among others to gain access to anonymized data sets that can be used for sustainable development.
· Demonstrate through exploratory tests the utility of new data sources for UNDP’s development work
· Create partnerships for analyses of real time and other data to better inform decisions and policies
· Design and deliver workshops, tools, or platforms that tap into the collective intelligence of communities and mobilise action.
- Proactively manage risks with using data and technology, including those related to ethics and privacy
Transform unstructured data sets into insights for UNDP and partners
Working out loud
- Share findings from the exploration on future trends, new methodologies/approaches, potential partnership,and others within UNDP and with partners;
- 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.
- 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
Organizational learning and interface with the core business of UNDP
- Set up tools and partnerships to transform information into actionable intelligence
- Design and deliver horizon scanning trainings for partners and UNDP, help embed horizon scanning and attention to the ‘edge’ activities in the CO and with the partners
- Work together with your Accelerator Lab colleagues and experts to codify and advance the Accelerator Lab practice and exploration in particular.
- Organize and implement knowledge sharing and network events;
- 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 explorations
The Accelerator Labs will be comprised of a core team with niche capabilities that focus on exploration, experimentation and grassroots innovation. 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:
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
· Mapping Solutions: ethnographic methods and 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 and connects local dynamics and solutions 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.
Required Skills and Experience
Master’s degree in Social sciences, Data science, Statistics, Physics, Computer Science, Business Intelligence, or related field and minimum of 2 years of relevant professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization
Bachelor’s degree in Social sciences, Data science, Statistics, Physics, Computer Science, Business Intelligence, or related field and minimum of 4 years of relevant professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization
- At least, having a Master degree with a minimum of 2 years of relevant professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization OR a Bachelor degree with minimum of 4 years of relevant professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization
- Professional experience in development programming or policy and social innovation;
- Demonstrated capacity in horizon scanning;
- Demonstrated capacity in data analysis and visualization.
Experience in following areas is desirable but not mandatory (they will be considered as advantages/assets):
- Proven professional knowledge and experience in social innovation approaches such as Systems Thinking, Ethnography, Crowdsourcing, Collective Intelligence Design, Citizen Science, Positive Deviance, Social Network Analysis, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
- Professional experience in partnership building and engagement (public and private sector)
- Demonstrated capacity to use open data, mobile data, geospatial data, drone & satellite data, citizen data for informing policy making, strategic planning, or programme design.
- Proven professional knowledge and experience in at least one of the following: Future thinking and Foresight, Design Research, and Systems Mapping;
- Key awareness of key global and regional trends;
- Demonstrated access to networks of edge innovators.
THIS VACANCY IS ONLY RESERVED FOR CAMEROONIAN CANDIDATE