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Innovation Specialist

Yangon (Myanmar)

  • Organization: UNV - United Nations Volunteers
  • Location: Yangon (Myanmar)
  • Grade: International Specialist - Internationally recruited Volunteer
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
  • Closing Date: 2021-01-26

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Eligibility criteria

Minimum age: 25 years old. Nationals of the country of assignment are not eligible, except the assignments in Headquarters duty stations.

Description of task

Within the delegated authority and under the supervision of the Team Leader Strategic Management Unit, the UNV Innovation Specialist will be responsible for:

1. Horizon scanning and market intelligence for the Myanmar Accelerator Lab

  • Identify, visualize and communicate emerging development trends, data, technologies and issues with a particular focus on the edges and “below the radar” actors, events, and opportunities, and systemically map their impacts on economy, environment, society, and livelihoods of the poorest.
  • Together with the Accelerator Lab team, map and assess local solutions and define pathways for their scale up in policies or markets
  • 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
  • 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

2. Partnerships and capacity building

  • Map potential partners across the public and private sectors with versatile expertise to strengthen the Lab’s capacities for acceleration, expanding the Lab’s distributed network both nationally and internationally
  • Explore the diversification of funding and investment sources through proactively mapping potential partners and building value proposition for their investment in the Lab and its portfolio of experiments
  • A key element of the responsibility would be to develop the capacity of the national staff in the Accelerator Lab team. This would include development of a dedicated capacity building plan, mentoring and continuous feedback.

3. Working Out Loud, Organizational learning and interface with the core business of UNDP

  • Share findings from the exploration on future trends, new methodologies/approaches, potential partnership, funding opportunities, and others within UNDP and with partners;
  • Builds capacity of colleagues in the respective areas;
  • 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.
  • Support identification of future skills required for the Accelerator Lab, the Country Programme and Lab’s clients
  • 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
Qualifications/Requirements Required degree level: Master degree or equivalent Education - Additional Comments:

Master’s Degree or equivalent Advanced Degree in Social sciences, Data science, Statistics, Physics, Computer Science, Business Intelligence, or related field 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.

Required experience: 60 Months Experience remark:
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in relevant field
  • Professional experience in development programming or specific policy areas and social innovation;
  • Demonstrated capacity in horizon scanning;
  • Demonstrated capacity in data analysis and visualization of emerging development trends and data;
  • Exploration and identification of new methods/approaches and frontier knowledge to tackle development challenges Mapping and assessment of local solutions with pathways for their scale up in policies or markets
  • Experience in capacity building of colleagues in the above areas
  • Experience in the following areas is desirable but not necessary:
    • Prior experience with Accelerator/ Innovation Labs* or equivalent units
    • Collective Intelligence Design, Citizen Science, Positive Deviance, Social Network Analysis, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning;
    • Demonstrated successful experience in bringing about organizational change.
    • 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.

* The Accelerator Labs will be comprised of a core team with niche capabilities that focus on exploration, experimentation and ethnography. 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.
  • 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: 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.
Language skills:
  • English(Mandatory), Level - Fluent
Area of expertise: Development programme management, Database design, administration and maintenance, Capacity building of non-governmental organizations Driving license: No Competencies values:

Accountability, Adaptability and Flexibility, Client Orientation, Commitment and Motivation, Communication, Creativity, Integrity, Knowledge Sharing, Leadership, Managing Performance, Planning and Organizing, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity, Self-Management, Technological Awareness, Working in Teams

Application procedure:

* Not yet registered in the UNV Talent Pool?

First register your profile at

Important: After creating your account, complete all sections of your profile and submit it. Then go to ‘My Page’ at and click on the ‘Special Calls’ hyperlink. Lastly, select the special call to which you would like to apply.

* Already registered in the UNV Talent Pool?

First update your profile at

Then go to ‘My Page’ at and click on the ‘Special Calls’ hyperlink to select the special call to which you would like to apply.

Application deadline: 26 January 2021

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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