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Kolba Lab Lead

Yerevan (Armenia)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Yerevan (Armenia)
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Democratic Governance
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-07-29

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Kolba Lab is UNDP’s first social innovation lab, established back in 2013 to embrace new methodologies and technologies in the development work. Addressing low levels of citizen participation, a lack of innovation in the public sector, and traditions of top down governance in Armenia, Kolba has cultivated a network of over 5000 people, including students, activists, entrepreneurs, NGOs, international organisations and civil servants, in addition to worldwide innovation expertise. We have designed customised TEDx Conferences, Social Innovation Camps, Hackathons and Design thinking.    

Kolba’s primary output is as an idea incubator – a space for identifying social challenges, testing ideas and nurturing ventures. In this capacity, we act as an interface, working with active citizens and the government to develop, test and incubate their ideas for reforms, social start-ups and development projects. Since 2011, 580 ideas have been received, 40 start-ups have been incubated, 14 of which have generated a social impact within government, the civic sector, or the market in Armenia. In the past years, we have witnessed a profound growth of engagement, creativity and trust of “unusual suspects” especially in Armenia’s youth groups, towards opportunities to play a role in addressing important development challenges like corruption, climate change, healthcare, human rights, and more. 

Kolba Lab is one of the four key pillars of UNDP Armenia Innovation platform, offering a package of interventions from citizen empowerment, open governance to future skills development, foresight and portfolio design for innovative urban development. Currently Kolba Lab’s portfolio includes 5 projects, funded by the European Union, Russian Federation, UN City Experiment Fund and Multi Partner Trust Fund.

Since 2018, Kolba has embraced future research and collaborative scenario building as the cornerstones of its approach. Kolba Lab has shifted its gaze forward in order to ask critical questions about governance innovation and social change in an evolving and uncertain world. Bringing together government players with thoughtful individuals, Kolba’s ambition is to spark creativity, generate new ideas, and explore what kinds of intelligence a positive and more equitable future will need.

To this end, UNDP will seek services of the Lab Lead, who will be responsible for providing advice and support for the Kolba Lab, in close cooperation with national partners and the project and programme teams.

The Lab Lead will support the UNDP Country Office in planning, establishment of strategic partnership and identification of new creative and innovative responses to emerging development challenges and opportunities while ensuring full consistency with the priorities of UNDP Country Office. The Lab Lead, in close cooperation with the UNDP Armenia Innovation portfolio, will contribute towards further positioning UNDP as an innovation champion and trusted partner to the Government, civil society and the private sector, and will work in close collaboration with UNDP programme, Government officials, technical advisors and experts, multi-lateral and bi-lateral partners, the private sector and civil society.

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work

The Lab Lead will (i) design a pipeline of project concepts in the area of social innovation, responsive to UNDP Armenia strategic vision and direction with an objective to build sustainable and diversified support for the next 3-5 years and (ii)  support UNDP’s resource mobilization efforts in social innovation and contribute to the development of Armenia CO Innovation portfolio strategy.

Duties and responsibilities:

The Lab Lead will work under overall guidance of the Deputy Resident Representative, direct supervision of the Democratic Governance (DG) and Integrated Border Management (IBM) Portfolio Team Lead in  matrix management of Socio-Economic Development (SED) and Innovation Portfolio Team Leaders.

The Lab Lead will:

  • In consultations with UNDP, the national counterparts, respective organizations and civil society prepare the “inventory” of most recent, ongoing and/or upcoming projects in the area of social innovation;
  • Assess existing capacities and needs vis-à-vis national priorities, development goals, technologies and innovation, etc.
  • Based on the consultations, needs assessment and findings, develop the initial concepts and/or a summary project proposal with an outline of short and long-term interventions of Kolba Lab;
  • Finalize the project proposal and validate it with the stakeholders and UNDP programme team;
  • Conduct a comprehensive analysis of potential global and local partners to map the feasibility of securing multi-year funding. Map donors’ strategic areas of interest, funds available, funding windows, requirements and guidelines and interest in funding key results of the proposed areas of intervention;
  • Support UNDP’s resource mobilization efforts and discussions with the Government, international organizations and other relevant agencies; explore opportunities and recommend on strategic partnerships and engage with key partners, emerging donors, foundations and private sector.
  • Ensure coherence and overall vision of projects implemented as part of Kolba Lab;
  • Provide guidance and overall vision of the Lab both towards long-term development, as well as for daily project compliance;
  • Initiate resource mobilization, partnership building and networking to expand the portfolio of projects in the Lab;
  • Provide advice and analysis on cross-cutting issues related to innovation to the Country Office management and programme team;
  • Contribute on partnership activities at programme/project level;
  • Support facilitation of knowledge building and knowledge sharing, and development and application of innovative tools across the Programme;
  • Contribute to required communication package and preparation – including success stories, for dissemination within UNDP globally and regionally, and to external stakeholders;
  • Support the work of the Communications and Events Associate and ensure visibility and exposure of the Lab through media engagement, networking and highlight on local and international fora;
  • Organize and attend field missions as necessary and draft reports on monitoring site visits;
  • Keep updated a mapping of main stakeholders/ partners in the field in the Project target sectors;
  • Coordinate the development/ expansion of knowledge management strategies, methodologies, and products on foresight and future making;
  • Ensure regular production of Kolba’s flagship Human Development Snapshots by identifying unexplored policy intervention areas and nudging research investigations;
  • Ensure due information and communication flows for all stakeholders, promote networking and experience sharing between stakeholders and target groups;
  • Represent the Lab on behalf of UNDP in collaboration with authorities, and other international and local organizations;



  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness by modelling UN values and ethical standards;
  • Demosntrates commitment to UN and UNDP’s mission, vision and values
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Functional Competencies:

Knowledge Management and Learning

  • Shares knowledge and experience
  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills.

       Development and Operational Effectiveness

  • Ability to perform a variety of specialized tasks related to Results Management, including support to design, planning and implementation of projects, managing data, reporting;
  • Ability to provide input to business processes re-engineering, implementation of new system, including new IT based systems;
  • Proficiency in professional writing and reporting.

Leadership and Self-Management

  • Focuses on result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Remains positive and composed even under pressure;
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities.

Required Skills and Experience

Min. Academic Education

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in Social Sciences, Public Administration, Business Management or related field.
  • A first-level university degree in combination with 2 additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Min. years of relevant work experience

  • A minimum of 2 years with Master’s degree, or 4 years with Bachelor’s degree of professional experience in managing development initiatives at national or international levels.    

Required skills and competencies

Experience in citizen empowerment, open governance, and innovation, including a strong focus on working with startups, civil society organizations and private sector;

Proven experience in drafting project proposals, strategic and policy papers;

High level of integrity and professionalism. Demonstrated initiative, tact and high sense of responsibility and discretion;

Ability to handle big volume and scope of simultaneous tasks, as well as work under the pressure and in circumstances of diverse interests; 

Demonstrated strong team spirit;

Excellent written and oral communication skills;

Familiarity with foresight and future modeling methodologies, knowledge of global innovation ecosystem and trends, is a strong asset;

Exposure to a wide range of innovative policy and practical solutions, as well as ability to identify and localize global use cases, is an advantage.

Computer skills: Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) and knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages, experience in handling of web-based management systems.

Languages: Fluency in Armenian and English with proven drafting and presentation skills. Knowledge of Russian is an asset.


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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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