Consultancy: Urban Innovation Specialist, Office of Innovation, New York

Closing date: Saturday, 16 February 2019

Job no: 519668

Position type: Consultancy

Location: United States

Division/Equivalent: Field Results Group

School/Unit: Office of Global Innovation

Department/Office: Office of Global Innovation, New York

Categories: Consultancy, Innovation

UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, innovate...

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children's rights are critical to improving their lives.

The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions.

UNICEF's Office of Innovation creates opportunities for the world's children by focusing on where new markets can meet their vital needs. We do this by:

  • Connecting youth communities (or more broadly -- anyone disconnected or under-served) to decision-makers, and to each other, to deliver informed, relevant and sustained programmes that build better, stronger futures for children.
  • Provoking change for children through an entrepreneurial approach -- in a traditionally risk-averse field -- to harness rapidly moving innovations and apply them to serve the needs of all children.
  • Creating new models of partnership that leverage core business values across the public, private and academic sectors in order to deliver fast, and lasting results for children.

The Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs - and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively.

Our team

We're an interdisciplinary team around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling new technologies and practices. With our partners, we focus on convening and collaborating on new and different solutions, low- and high-tech, by:

  • Looking at the 2-5 year horizon to evaluate emerging and trending technologies and to see how UNICEF can work with the private sector on doing better business while improving essential services for children;
  • Investing in early stage solutions that show great potential to positively impact children in the 0-2 year future including the Venture Fund that invests in open source technology solutions from start-ups based in UNICEF's programme countries;
  • Identifying proven solutions that can be implemented at national scale in multiple countries - taking the ideas that help thousands in one country, bringing them to dozens of countries across multiple sectors, and impacting the lives of millions of children.'

How can you make a difference?

The objective of this consultancy is to provide research and project management support across a diversity of UNICEF Innovation projects, including but not limited to: urban innovation project work with Country Offices, the high profile partnerships around urban innovation, the Gates Grand Challenge urban work, and other high profile partnership activities. In addition to leading on our team's urban work, this consultant will be responsible for overseeing the Children+AI initiative, which will entail: coordinating with partners to identify and pursue research deliverables, synthesizing research into meaningful, external-facing outputs, identifying and building relationships with relevant partners, designing workshops and events as necessary, and related activities. The consultant should be self-motivated to provide support to a diverse team even under tight time constraints.

We seek someone who works closely with the Partnerships Team while also taking initiative on projects. The specialist must be comfortable working with colleagues in different geographies to understand their project needs and translate them into concrete solutions.

The ideal candidate will be an urban planner who has experience working with international contexts and who is able to toggle between a number of projects at the same time. The ideal candidate must have a strong sense of UNICEF's programmes and goals, who expresses a passion for innovating for social impact through their portfolio, who has experience communicating easily with a diverse range of staff - designers and non-designers alike - and who has a knack for extrapolating information from team members that can be translated into simplified and articulate ways.

Main responsibilities will be:

Research and Knowledge Sharing

  • Lead and oversee research related to past, ongoing, or prospective urban innovation efforts- including both desk research, interviews, user research, and design research
  • Write and edit outputs of research in different formats as needed, including: blog posts, white papers, concept notes, policy guidance, etc.

Country Office and Organization-wide Support

  • Work with Unicef's Urban Practice Group to bring innovation component into Unicef-wide strategy for urban work, work to establish relationships with external partners (especially those in urban innovation field)
  • Work with Senior Advisor on Urban (DRP) to develop a platform to source CO priorities as it relates to urban programming support- conduct initial survey of CO needs and identify top priority countries for urban innovation work

Program Design and Coordination

  • Lead the scoping and development of urban innovation projects with selected Country Offices, which will likely include some of the following work: assisting with the curation of Gates Grand Challenge, leading project management for 21st Century Ger project, scoping and developing strategies for urban projects in 1-2 other country offices, and enlisting external partner support where relevant
  • Work with Futures team to design next stages in sharing findings and outcomes from the Tech Bets work. This will likely involve support in planning related events and travel.
  • Write original content, edit and organize materials produced for partners, as well as for internal stakeholders

Partnership Coordination/Support

  • Support Partnership colleagues in building out partnership strategies when directly relevant to urban projects, in particular supporting with high profile partnerships
  • Liaise with National Committee touchpoints for urban innovation partnerships

To qualify as an advocate for every child, you will have…

  • An advanced university degree (Master's or higher) in urban design, planning, or related field
  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience
  • Experience managing projects and demonstrated comfort in multi-tasking
  • Experience working in UNICEF Country/ies is an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) is an asset.

Payment details and further considerations

  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his/her own health and travel insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel

Applications must include

  • CV
  • cover letter

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Duty Station: New York

Duration: 11.5 months

Advertised: Feb 01 2019 Eastern Standard Time

Application close: Feb 15 2019 Eastern Standard Time

Source: UN Jobs

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.

Deadline/closing date: 
Friday, February 15, 2019