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Innovation Manager (Head of Innovation Portfolios and Governance), P-4, Office of Innovation, Stockholm, Sweden, #117604, REQ#558554

Apply now Job no: 558554
Contract type: Fixed Term Appointment
Duty Station: Stockholm
Level: P-4
Location: Sweden
Categories: Social Policy, 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, innovation...

The Office of Innovation (OoI) works to catalyze UNICEF and partners’ expertise and resources to solve key challenges facing children and young people, with a view to identifying, iterating, validating and scaling the most effective solutions to accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs. To achieve this the Office of Innovation uses an innovation portfolio management approach and leverages support from a range of stakeholders including from intergovernmental, multilateral, private sector, young people and non-governmental fora. The Office of Innovation is able to evaluate, fund and provide technical support and resources to key transformative innovations.

How these decisions are made is critical to the success of the work and therefore the impact on children’s lives.

UNICEF OoI currently manages global innovation portfolios across health, nutrition, climate change, gender equity, mental health, youth and adolescence, WASH, learning and humanitarian innovation. To support our philosophy of taking a programme led and problem focus approach to innovation, OoI also established the Innovation Portfolio Steering Committee (IPSC).  This helps provide strategic guidance and support OoI and the wider organisation in its accountability to enable UNICEF to maximize its impact in innovation.

How can you make a difference?

The Innovation Manager (Head of Innovation Portfolios and Governance) leads oversight of UNICEF’s innovation portfolio management approach across all thematic areas. The role also acts as a strategic lead for key global innovation initiatives impacting multiple portfolio areas, (such as the forthcoming UNICEF Digital Transformation (Dx) initiative), and brings innovation strategy and governance to life in a way that enables prioritization and focuses investment into the solutions that have greatest potential to drive impact for children across the organisation.

To succeed you will have a clear vision of the role of UNICEF in innovating across all channels (tech, data, products, social innovation) for UNICEF programmes and ultimately children.  You will be opinionated on what it takes to scale successful innovations with public sector partners and how best to collaborate with the private sector. You will have experience designing or working closely with decision-making frameworks for making investments in innovative products, be a highly strategic thinker and communicator, a great manager and motivator of teams, and the ability to effectively build and manage collaborative relationships at all levels and across different specialist disciplines. 

This role will work under the guidance and direction of the Senior Advisor, Innovation (Portfolio, Culture and Scale), and in close collaboration with team peers in MEELR, Knowledge Management and Capacity Building. The role will also require collaboration across UNICEF divisions, offices and teams, in particular UNICEF Programme Group, Product Innovation Centre (Supply Division) and ICTD.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

This post is responsible for:

  1. Oversight, management and coordination of innovation portfolios across all thematic areas.
  2. Ownership and continuous improvement of UNICEF’s approach to innovation portfolio management and innovation governance.
  3. Act as the Office of Innovation representative for Digital Transformation (Dx) initiatives working with Programme and ICTD colleagues to accelerate Digital Transformation at country level.
  4. Developing innovation processes that play to UNICEF’s strengths as a global organization, that outline stage gates, criteria and process for entry and exit into the innovation pipeline, and that ultimately drive uptake and adoption of critical innovations
  5. Provide guidance and technical assistance across Innovation Hubs / Portfolios and to Regional Offices and Country Offices to support their innovation strategies and approaches in line with global principles.
  6. Lead the evolution of UNICEF governance frameworks for innovation working closely with senior staff across the organisation.
  7. Management of the Innovation Portfolio Steering Committee (IPSC) which is chaired by P5 Senior Adviser Innovation (PCS), including its membership, convening, communication and functioning.
  8. Develop and manage cross-portfolio funding allocation processes, including designing the process, securing investments, monitoring investments, and reporting.
  9. Identify technical support needs across all of the innovation portfolios. This may include recruiting and managing consultants with specialist expertise (e.g. business modelling).
  10. Represent OOI on relevant governance entities.
  11. Deliver clear and effective engagement across UNICEF to support communication around the innovation portfolios and their value proposition, with the aim of supporting staff engagement, particularly from Country and Regional Offices.

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

  • An Advanced University Degree (Master’s and above) in one of the following areas is required: Social Science or Humanities, Innovation-related field, International Relations, Business Administration, or another relevant technical field.
  • A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree Experience.
  • A minimum of eight (8) years of relevant professional experience is required at national and international levels in the areas of innovation and/or social and economic development and cooperation.
  • Experience living and working in low income, lower middle income, and/or middle income countries is an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate...

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

  • Build and maintains partnerships (Level 2)
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (Level 2)
  • Drive to achieve results for impact (Level 2)
  • Innovates and embraces change (Level 2)
  • Manage ambiguity and complexity (Level 2)
  • Thinks and acts strategically (Level 2)
  • Works collaboratively with others (Level 2)

During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

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 is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


Previous applicants need not apply

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

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

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

Advertised: W. Europe Standard Time
Deadline: W. Europe Standard Time

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