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About the roles

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
Culture diagram

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 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

Apply now  

Head of Exploration

As head of exploration, you are doing discovery and sensemaking of emerging trends and uncovering the implications of those trends for systemic impacts. You’re considering the risks of these emerging trends as well as their potential for accelerating progress towards the social and environmental challenges that are priorities for your country. You’re deeply curious and, through your networks, you find unusual solutions, people, and partners that can tie into Lab’s work.

The Head of Exploration has four main areas of work:

Identify, visualize and communicate emerging development trends, data, technologies and issues with a particular focus on the edges and “below the radar screen” events, opportunities and players, and systemically map their impacts on economy, environment, society, and livelihoods of the poorest


Together with the Accelerator lab team, map and assess local solutions and define pathways for their scale up in policies or markets


Identify new sources of evidence and insights, analyze and visualize patterns in unstructured sources of data, present new insights in accessible and comprehensive ways to enable sensemaking and analysis


Proactively explore and identify the new methods/approaches and frontier knowledge to tackle development challenges, collaborate with the Experimentation lead to turn these into learning options for addressing specific policy issues in the country


Contribute to the formulation of the Accelerator Lab service lines to the UNDP Country Programme based on findings from horizon scanning, systems’ mapping, and local knowledge

Map potential partners across the public and private sectors with versatile expertise to strengthen the Lab’s capacities for acceleration thereby expanding the Lab’s distributed network both nationally and internationally


Explore the diversification of funding and investment sources through proactively mapping potential partners and building value proposition for their investment in the Lab and its portfolio of experiments


Anticipate the emerging needs, shape the demand from the clients and support the CO to develop a pipeline of emerging projects responding to those


Coordinate the partnerships and communicate the activities and progresses of relevant projects with partners

Support identification of future skills required for the Accelerator Lab, the Country Programme and Lab’s clients


Design and deliver horizon scanning trainings for partners and UNDP, help embed horizon scanning and attention to the ‘edge’ activities in the CO and with the partners


Organize and implement knowledge sharing and network events


Lead other activities related to the design and operations of the Accelerator Lab

Share findings from the exploration on future trends, new methodologies/approaches, potential partnership, funding opportunities, and others within UNDP and with partners


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

Head of Experimentation

As head of Experimentation, you institute rapid learning about emerging challenges by designing and conducting a portfolio of experiments to better understand which development solutions work and which ones don’t. You iterate and strengthen the design of solutions based on learnings from experiments and from intensive interaction with partners. Your work supports both the Accelerator Lab and the UNDP Country Office more broadly.

The Head of Experimentation has four main areas of work:

Works with UNDP and partners to lead mapping the context and nature of development challenges, with a particular focus on understanding systemic issues beyond traditional silos and classifications and identifying drivers of change, and levers for intervention


Mapping systems and assets, identifying levers and logic for intervention, building hypotheses of change that are a fit to the system level challenges identified


Identify logic against which to asses fit and coherence of the individual portfolios with the frontier challenges on which they are meant to generate learning

Lead the design of experiments across to validate the hypotheses and test the effectiveness of identified prototypes, including (but not limit to) defining variables, formulating hypotheses, and coordinating experimental protocols


Develop a framework to capture the learning from the experiments in such a way that it favours critical reflection and rapid adaptation over static reporting


Provide technical guidance for experiment design, roll-out and validation based on the experiment conditions, resources available, and requirements


Proactively manage risks within experiments including those related to ethics and privacy


Examine the results from the testing of prototypes and translate them into programmatic decisions on next steps and implications for improvement, spin offs and scaling-up where warranted

Proactively use blog and social media to ahare findings from the portfolio implementation


Help UNDP and partners disseminate insights from Accelerator lab experiments via social media platforms as a way to regularly reflect and engage with external audiences.


Liaise with UNDP’s global Accelerator Lab network and 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


Design and deliver engaging and meaningful methods for reflection on learning from experiments


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


Lead other activities related to the design and operations of the Accelerator Lab

Help embed a portfolio logic in clients’ work including the existing UNDP Country Programme (as determined and agreed with the senior management)


Working with clients to encourage reflection and capturing of insights from individual experiments, as they related to the overall portfolio logic


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

Head of Solutions Mapping

As Head of Solutions Mapping, you are doing deep immersions into the dynamics of grassroots communities, identifying and working with lead users who have addressed social and environmental challenges for themselves, and surfacing the implications of bottom up solutions for the design of policies.

The Head of Solutions Mapping has four main areas of work:

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 acceleration 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 collective intelligence for sustainable development

Designing and implementing methodology for intaking indigenous knowledge and local solutions, consolidating, screening and further describing incoming ideas


Designing a criteria/metrics for assessing consolidating incoming local solutions


Conducting field research to determine best methods for making solutions transferable


Testing the solutions and potential ideas in real life context to understand potential channels of spreading (including identifying private and public sector venues for uptake)


Analysis of system level issues that local solutions address (and don’t address, therefore exposing gaps)


Design of ‘things and tools’ needed to successful scale indigenous knowledge, lead user solutions, turning its insights into systemic change


Ensure that collective intelligence is integrated into UNDP programmes

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


Ensure ethics framework is implemented for the lab’s portfolio of experiments


Design methods to test accelerator ideas for their applicability and diffusion


Integrate cultural norms, peer to peer methods and behavioral insights into technology based experiments


Convene a broad range of new partners with UNDP including artists, community organizers and emergent movements to explore areas for collaboration on sustainable development

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


Help embed solutions mapping end user methodology within the CO portfolio, design and provide trainings that include various methodologies and steps to identify and work with lead users

Have more questions? Watch our Ask Me Anything session