Head of Exploration
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 started with 60 Lab teams covering 78 countries and are now expanding to 91 Labs covering 115 countries. This is embedded within UNDP’s global architecture and country platforms. We are part of UNDP’s global policy teams and country offices. Our 270 Lab team members bring bright, unusual talent into the development sector. 68 percent of us have experience in prototyping; 55 percent can work with citizen generated data; and 29 percent can perform tasks related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. 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. We create actionable intelligence, test solutions with national partners. It’s early, but so far we’re winning awards. For example, Apolitical's Global Public Service Teams of the Year Award.
You: 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
- 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
- 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
- Set up tools and partnerships to ransform 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
Required Skills and Experience
- Proven professional knowledge and experience in social innovationapproaches 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 thefollowing: Future thinking and Foresight, Design Research, andSystems Mapping;
- Key awareness of key global and regional trends;
- Demonstrated access to networks of edge innovators.
Important applicant information
All posts in the GS categories are subject to local recruitment.
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