UNDP Accelerator Labs

We’re bringing in new kinds of people to help us to do something that’s never been done before

Building the world’s largest and fastest learning network around development challenges isn’t just about building 60 teams in 60 countries — it’s about changing the way we work. We’re moving away from learning and innovating in isolated pockets to operating as a globally integrated network where 60 teams build on each others’ knowledge and learning on a weekly basis.

We’re marrying grassroots innovations with cutting-edge research and design approaches. We’re backing it with the global reach and relationships of UNDP. All this so we can accelerate progress against the world’s toughest social and environmental challenges.

Four key approaches sit at the core of the Labs’ work:

  • Building on locally-sourced solutions, finding things that work and expanding on them
  • Rapid testing and iteration to implement what works and go beyond the obvious solutions
  • Combining the best understanding, ideas and expertise to generate collective knowledge
  • Accelerating progress by bringing expertise, creativity and collective intelligence to bear

To make this happen, we’re looking for people who are curious, persistent, and deeply committed to social change. That’s where you come in.

You are capable and excited about starting, designing, and managing projects, direct engagement with local communities and collaboration across global networks.

You are driven by learning new things. You’re constantly reflecting and experimenting with improving your work. You’re also a generous teacher. You tell telling stories about the solutions you find and helping your peers and partners learn from what you’ve learned.

You are comfortable with ambiguity. You know you will have to adjust course as new opportunities and challenges come into view. You avoid zooming in on one “right answer” too quickly. You’re also sharp on execution. You make plans with the right level of detail and find creative ways to get things done whatever the circumstances.

You understand systems, the good, the bad and the ugly. You’re an optimist who challenges the way things are done. You’re also a humble bridge builder who brings a wide array of people along for the journey and who is capable of working within bureaucracies to make change.

Head of Exploration

Shine light on emerging trends, make the case for change, and build the local partnerships we need to scale solutions.

We’re looking for people who are:

Adept storytellers. People who can make a convincing business case and case for change with both human stories and hard data.

Forward-thinkers. People who can sift through different kinds of data to find emerging trends and understand their future social or environmental impacts.

Creative partnership builders. People who help us find unusual but effective partners. People who can understand the needs of a wide variety of partners and how we might be valuable to them.

What are examples of people who might apply for this position?

  • Former entrepreneur
  • Business development lead
  • Partnerships lead

Head of Experimentation

Build portfolios of social or environmental solutions, strengthen the design of solutions, and learn through experimentation.

We’re looking for people who are:

Strategic thinkers. People who understand how possible solutions for social or environmental change fit into a broader portfolio of solutions that can collectively tackle a tough challenge.

Crafty experimenters. People who seek out evidence when others might speculate. People who are constantly looking for ways to test what they’re working on so they can better understand how it works and how to improve it.

Systems thinkers. People who see how different parts of a system are connected and impact each other. People who design solutions that take into account the whole system.

What are examples of people who might apply for this position?

  • Product lead
  • Architect/industrial designer
  • Strategy lead

Head of Solutions Mapping

Get immersed deeply in communities, identify local solutions, and bridge bottom-up solutions with policy design.

We’re looking for people who are:

Natural community builders. People who are magnetic personalities that connect quickly with a diverse set of people and build relationships between them.

Curious learners and observers. People who find what is meaningful and important in what others might find mundane and ordinary.

Micro and macro thinkers. People who can quickly zoom into what a solution might look like in the everyday life of an individual or family and zoom out to what it might look like as a policy or a systems change.

What are examples of people who might apply for this position?

  • Design researcher
  • Journalist
  • Ethnographic researcher

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