United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Head of Regional Innovation Center

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Job Description

UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia Pacific established its Regional Innovation Center in Bangkok, Thailand in 2018 with the aim of providing a new momentum to its innovation efforts and grounding them in system transformation approaches. The Center has been since focusing on developing distinctive policy capabilities for system level innovation, working in close cooperation with country offices and government counterparts across the region. The Center has actively promoted a shift beyond single point solutions toward portfolio approaches to innovation, with the aim of increasing the relevance and coherence of UNDP’s offer to governments. To this aim, it has invested in developing core assets such as UNDP’s portfolio sensemaking and acceleration protocol and a system Design framework. It has also developed key relationships with leading public sector innovation and system change experts in the region and beyond. The Head of Regional Innovation will lead the next phase of development of distinctive capabilities for system transformation across the region, building and expanding on the Center’s core assets and orchestrating and further nurturing the innovation capacity already present in country offices. He/she will lead and supervise the Regional Innovation Center project team and ensure a client-oriented approach. In particular:
  • S/He will be responsible for defining the next phase of the Center’s innovation strategy and service offering, with a focus on building system transformation capabilities that support the work of COs and governments across the region.

  • S/He will lead the development of a compelling Digital Transformation offering, building on existing capabilities across the region and will ensure that the Center fully leverages the network of 18 accelerator labs in Asia Pacific to help achieve regional programmatic priorities.

  • S/He will lead resource mobilization and partnership building efforts.

S/He reports to the Manager, Bangkok Regional Hub. Duties and Responsibilities Strategy setting and management of the Regional Innovation Center:
  • Guide horizon scanning for the Center, ensuring that its offering anticipates the clients’ needs, is in line with next practice and taps into the best available global expertise;

  • Set the strategy for the center in support of regional and global programmatic priorities, and in alignment with the global innovation strategy;

  • Lead the formulation of the Center’s service offering vis a vis COs and national/local governments and ensure that it meets clients needs and maximises the existing regional assets (sensemaking and system transformation protocols, Accelerator Labs, digital transformation);

  • Manage and monitor the Center’s workplan, ensuring it maintains the highest standards of delivery and is in line with innovation next practice;

  • Leads, supervises and motivates staff of the Center in a manner that empowers staff to fulfill mission of the Center and enables them to being adaptive to changing environment and demands from COs.

Resource mobilization and building partnerships with key government, private sector and UN stakeholders:
  • Positions the Center as a leading regional innovation space by developing partnerships with the development organizations, government institutions, bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors, Financial Institutions, private sector, centers of innovations excellence and academia;

  • Leads Analysis and research of information on partners, identification of opportunities for partnerships and funding, lead the overall resource mobilization for the project;

  • Contributes to embedding Center into the regional and global innovation networks and continuously expands;

  • Identifies and engages with the relevant private sector partners for bringing in expertise, technology and other private sector resources for the formulation and implementation of the Center’s service lines;

  • Leads on engagement with investors and supports COs in attracting investment into successful prototype projects.

Provision of cutting edge policy Advisory Services and facilitation of community building
  • Continue to develop distinctive policy advisory assets and capabilities in system transformation in the Center and across COs in the region, ensuring that they have a compelling offering for governments and donors;

  • In cooperation with COs, deliver high level policy advice to governments on issues related to innovation as it relates to the SDGs;

  • Leads the provision of training and Capacity Building to COs in areas related to innovation and system transformation;

  • Ensure that the Center ‘works out loud’ by continuously sharing challenges, successes, lessons learnt for knowledge sharing across the clients’ base and for active participation in the regional and global international networks;

  • Ensure that the Asia Pacific innovation community, including the Accelerator Labs, is kept abreast of latest trends, proactively shares insights and experiences and develops compelling knowledge products.

Competencies Innovation Ability to make new and useful ideas work Level 6: Exercises stakeholder-centered design approaches for office / programme / division Leadership Ability to persuade others to follow Level 6: Ensures teams are resourced for success and empowered to deliver People Management Ability to improve performance and satisfaction Level 6: Guides substantive specialists / teams and expands credibility and innovation capacity Communication Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform Level 6: Creates confidence among stakeholders by delivering authoritative positions, compelling analysis, and contextual acumen Delivery Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement Level 6: Accepts accountability for the outcomes of programme delivery and facilitates improvement and innovation in the delivery of products and services Technical/Functional Innovation Ability to try out / test new ways of engagement and communications. Openness to different and new ways of doing things; willingness to modify one’s preferred way of doing things Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise Building Strategic Partnerships Ability to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships between multilateral/bilateral/IFS, public sector and private sector Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy 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) Ability to set goals and indicators and to interpret and synthesize results into usable information to inform policy, strategy, and/or action Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise Representation Ability to productively share UNDP knowledge and activities (at UN and other venues) Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise Relationship Management Ability to engage with other parties and forge productive working relationships Level 6: Integrate & Empower: Leads integral work of teams utilizing expertise, vision, problem-solving capability, and collaborative energy in professional area of expertise Required Skills and Experience Education:
  • Master’s degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, International Development, Social Sciences or related disciplines with deep understanding of innovation and international development, public sector administration and innovative public-private partnerships for social goods. PhD in related field would be an asset.

  • Minimum 10 years of increasing responsibility in an innovation role in international organizations, civil society or the private sector, with solid experience in project management, public sector administration, private sector partnerships;

  • In depth understanding of system innovation approaches and demonstrable experience in applying them in the context of large scale organisations;

  • Experience in delivering innovation policy advisory services;

  • Demonstrated experience in resource mobilization and partnership development;

  • Experience leading, supervising and motivating multinational staff and office management;

  • Experience in working on digital transformation initiatives an advantage.

Language Requirements:
  • Fluency in English;

  • Other official language of the UN will be desirable.

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