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Head of Solutions Mapping

Tbilisi (Georgia)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Tbilisi (Georgia)
  • Grade: NO-A, National Professional Officer - Locally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • 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: 2020-07-05

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The UNDP Strategic Plan commits the organization to help countries find faster, more durable solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Daunting development challenges like COVID-19, climate change and rising inequalities pose significant obstacles on our path to achieving Agenda 2030. 
To address this challenge, UNDP has launched a global network of Accelerator Labs. These aim to prevent UNDP from becoming trapped in “business as usual” by attracting people with the training, skills and outlook needed to leverage new technologies and harness new ways of thinking to devise solutions to the world’s development needs.  
The Accelerator Labs use anthropological and sociological insight, design thinking and the full range of digital tools to support partners to understand problems, develop new solutions, promote more inclusive decision making, and provide better oversight of what is done. They identify grassroots solutions and stretch their potential to accelerate development.  They 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 see whether particular assumptions are accurate before deploying solutions at scale, especially in the rapidly evolving contexts in which UNDP works. 
UNDP has already set up 60 Accelerator Labs serving UNDP offices in 78 countries. UNDP is currently recruiting staff for a second cohort of 30 labs. Each Lab is established with sufficient funding for an initial lifespan of three years. UNDP Georgia will be home to one of these new Accelerator Labs and is currently hiring a core team of three.
The staff of the UNDP Georgia Accelerator Lab will fill the following three roles: 
  • Experimentation. This role focuses on rapid learning about emerging challenges through the design and running of a portfolio of experiments that align with the type of challenges that UNDP is tasked with solving;
  • Solutions mapping: This role applies ethnographic and sociological methods to study community dynamics, identify and work with lead users, and capture bottom-up solutions to design policies;
  • Exploration: This role focuses on detecting and making sense of emerging trends and understanding their potential for systemic impact and risk. It also aims to connect local dynamics to broader national, regional and global trends, and understand how diverse partnerships can accelerate progress towards the SDGs.
To fill these positions, UNDP is looking for candidates with “fresh eyes” from outside the development mainstream who nonetheless find the system of values that drives the United Nations system appealing and motivating. 
We are looking for people who have a proven track record of starting, designing and managing activities; who are excited by direct engagement with local communities; and who enjoy collaboration with diverse peers across global networks. We are seeking those who like to learn new things, figure out how things work and apply what they learn across sectors. We want people who can detect emerging trends and relate them to global challenges.
We want people with a natural inclination to interdisciplinarity, a cross-cultural mindset and cross-sectoral experience, and an affinity for diversity. We want those 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.  We want people open to discovery and exploration, capable of articulating insights and ideas through visual thinking, open to serendipity and discovery yet pragmatic and constructive in supporting the mission of the larger UNDP team. 
We want those who 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. We want people who are digitally savvy and confident with technology. We want curious, strategic thinkers and talented do-ers. We want people who understand the limitations of systems but nonetheless remain motivated to drive positive change.

Duties and Responsibilities

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 Accelerator 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 bottom up solutions, lead users and grassroots innovations related to sustainable development;
  • Convene a broad range of new partners with UNDP, including artists, activists, community organizers and emergent movements to explore areas for collaboration on sustainable development;
  • Proactively manage risks with using ethnographic tools and methods, including those related to ethics and privacy.

 Convene the processes of solution intake, assessment and designing prototypes for diffusion:

  • Design and implement methods for sensing and building on indigenous knowledge and local solutions, consolidating, screening and describing incoming; 
  • Design criteria for consolidating incoming local solutions;
  • Conduct field research to determine best methods for making solutions transferable, design methods to test and stretch ideas for their applicability and diffusion as part of a portfolio approach;
  • 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 those that they don’t address, therefore creating insights on the gaps);
  • Design ‘things and tools’ needed to successful scale indigenous knowledge, lead user solutions, turning its insights into systemic change;
  • 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;
  • Design methods for integrating collective intelligence into UNDP programmes and engage with programme and project managers to translate ideas into concrete practice.

Working out loud:

  • Lead communication efforts and proactively use blog and social media to share findings from field research;
  • Ensure UNDP’s communication efforts respect 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.

Advocacy, organizational learning and support to the core business of UNDP:

  • Help embed solutions mapping  and lead user methodology within the CO portfolio, design and provide trainings that include various methodologies and steps to identify and work with lead users;
  • 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;
  • Develop communication and other tools to transform field research into actionaable intelligence;
  • Work together with your Accelerator Lab colleagues and experts to codify and advance the Accelerator Lab practice and solutions mapping in particular;
  • 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 field research and grassroots innovation.





  • 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.
  • Innovation - Ability to manage organizational resources and deployment in pursuit of innovation approaches and initiatives; Catalyze new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise.  

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Behavioral psychology, Design, Architecture, Communications or related field and 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
  • Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Behavioral psychology, Design, Architecture, Communications or related field and 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.
  • Professional roles using analytical capacity and presentation skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to undertake field research in remote communities and document ethnographic evidence and honor expertise in unusual 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 the field of communications and/or organizing cultural events Proven professional knowledge and experience in approaches such as Ethnography, Systems Thinking, Behavioral Insights, Co-creation, Qualitative and Quantitative User Research, Positive Deviance, Community Asset Mapping, Service Design 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. 
Language Requirements:
  • Proficiency in written and spoken Georgian and English.


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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Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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