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Head of Solutions Mapping

Banjul (Gambia the)

  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Banjul (Gambia the)
  • Grade: NO-B, National Professional Officer - Locally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Democratic Governance
    • 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: 2021-09-27

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Background

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 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. 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.

You:

You are capable and 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 ambiguity, 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 competencies 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

  1. Lead lab efforts in deep community immersion, collective intelligence and solutions mapping
  • Developing and sustaining positive relationships with a range of local community and citizen groups
  • Identifying and training local volunteers, recruiting Universities and think tanks for sustaining long term community outreach and engagement and identification of lead users, providing training and mentoring
  • Translation of 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, 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
  1. 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)
  • Analyse 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
  1. 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. 
  1. Advocacy, Organizational learning and interface with 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.

 

Competencies

Strategic Planning - Ability to make decisions that align with strategy, vision, and mission

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Trends and emerging areas analytics - Ability to scan the horizon and identify approaches and initiatives to bring into policy and programme design

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

Results-based Management - Ability to manage programmes and projects with a strategy aimed at improved performance and demonstrable results

Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise

Resource Mobilization - Ability to identify and organize programmes and projects to implement solutions and generate resources (definition is unclear and not well linked to the stated competency)

Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise

Partnerships - Ability to engage with other agencies, donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships

Level 5: Originate: Catalyzes new ideas, methods, and applications to pave a path for innovation and continuous improvement in professional area of expertise

 

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

Master’s degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Design, Architecture, Development Studies, Economics, Communications or related field and minimum of 3 years of professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization

OR

Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Sociology, Development Studies, Economics, Behavioral psychology, Design, Architecture, Communications or related field and minimum of 5 years of professional experience in development programming or policy; social innovation; partnership building; engagement (public and private sector) and/or resource mobilization

Experience:

  • 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 development programming or policy and social innovation.
  • 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 Requ

Fluency in the UN and national language of the duty station.

Other:

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:

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, 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.

 

Disclaimer

The United Nations does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.

 

ONLY APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED ONLINE WILL BE CONSIDERED.

 

FEMALE CANDIDATES ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY.

 

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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