Deadline to apply: 27 May 2024

Background Information – Job-specific

UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian, and development projects. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

New York Portfolios Office (NYPO) supports the United Nations Secretariat, as well as other New York-based United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral partners in the delivery of UNOPS mandate in project management, infrastructure management, and procurement management.

Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) supports diverse partners with their peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations. It was formed by combining the following portfolios: Grants Management Services (GMS), UN Technology Support Services (UNTSS), Development and Special Initiatives Portfolio (DSIP) It provides Services to partners’ programmes that are designed, structured, and managed with a global perspective and primarily serving partners that are headquartered in New York. The SDC has a footprint of approximately 125 countries.

UNOPS has signed an agreement with the United Nations to implement the project activities for UN Global Pulse.

UN Global Pulse

UN Global Pulse is the Secretary General’s Innovation Lab. We work at the intersection of innovation and the human sciences to inform, inspire, and strengthen the ability of the United Nations family and those it serves to anticipate, respond and adapt to the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Our teams are spread across the world, with hubs in Uganda, Indonesia, Finland and the United States. Drawing on more than a decade of experience with digital innovation in the UN family, UN Global Pulse unites specialists from the digital and social sciences in search of solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, from conflict to climate change.

We aim to reduce the risks that innovation involves and move towards the opportunities. We restore public trust in technology by making it inclusive, accessible and ethical. Our input brings value to the work of the UN and external partners in protecting the vulnerable and defending human rights.

The goals of the UNGP Network are: i) Support efforts to advance innovations ii) Contribute to the development of global frameworks, and iii) Support the transformation of the UN family.

The incumbent of this position will be a staff member of UNOPS, under its full responsibility.

Functional Responsibilities

To achieve its goals, UN Global Pulse is looking for an Innovation Scaling Lead. The Innovation Scaling team (‘the team’) in UN Global Pulse Finland was initiated to support the Executive Office of the Secretary-General’s Quintet of Change priorities outlined in the Secretary-General’s report on Our Common Agenda (OCA) for a ‘next-generation UN’. The team initially focused on evolving the UN Global Pulse network’s experimentation portfolio towards one with 1.) Clearly defined, needs-driven experiments which are scalable by UN partners, and 2.) Validated innovations which are sustained within the UN System with clear scaling pathways for sustainable impact and systemic change beyond mandate silos.

The team has now expanded its focus to equip the wider UN System with capabilities to use innovation for improved delivery on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and OCA priorities. A 2022/2023 research exercise (Scaling the Summit) conducted by the team looked at innovation scaling practices within the UN System; it identified significant barriers in the existing support mechanisms for scaling innovations and in facilitating their widespread adoption. In response to this, the team’s activities have been set up to make innovation scaling knowledge and support more available broadly across the UN System. Amongst the team’s activities are the:

UN Global Pulse Scale Accelerator, a structured programme for innovations from across the UN System to develop scale strategies and receive catalytic support to implement the strategies.

Innovation capability advisory service, to provide tailored support and advice to any UN agencies, funds and programmes (including other parts of the UN Global Pulse network) seeking to embed capabilities within their entities to enable innovation scaling.

UN Innovation Scaling Group, a special interest group co-managed with the UN Innovation Network (UNIN) to serve as the go-to space for UN colleagues to share experiences and knowledge around innovation scaling.

Under the direct supervision of the Head of Programmes of UN Global Pulse Finland, the incumbent will execute the following duties:

1. Strategic Planning and thought leadership

2. Programme Management

3. Team Leadership

4. Collaboration and Resource Mobilization

1. Strategic Planning and thought leadership:
Coordinate the development of the Innovation Scaling strategy and oversee the frequent testing and validation of assumptions.

Coordinate and facilitate the conceptualization of the Innovation Scaling service offering.

Mobilize relevant expertise to help design the service offering for the Innovation Scaling workstream.

Identify opportunities in areas relevant to Innovation Scaling and lead engagements of UN Global Pulse for strategic positioning across the UN system under the guidance of Head of Programmes.

2. Programme Management:

Ensure that an Innovation Scaling team Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning framework is in place and that it relates to the overall UN Global Pulse framework.

Coordinate the Innovation Scaling team’s contribution to network level activities across regions as a resource for Innovation Scaling methods and practices.

Oversee the day to day implementation of UN Global Pulse Innovation Scaling work and coordinate efforts for rolling out Innovation Scaling activities.

Oversee the dissemination of good practices, lessons learned and relevant knowledge products relating to Innovation Scaling and management to the wider UN Global Pulse network.

3. Team Leadership:

Work closely with the senior management to secure sufficient and relevant staffing for the Innovation Scaling team to best deliver on planned activities.

Engage team members with relevant partners and ensure they have up to date skills and knowledge related to their tasks.

Support team members in advancing their career prospects and scope of work related to their career goals.

Ensure regular team communication and joint activities are in place to foster a positive team spirit and cordial team relationships.

Liaise and manage relationships with relevant senior experts and consultants to ensure delivery of set objectives to achieve the office and network priorities in the area of innovation capability and scaling.

4. Collaboration and Resource Mobilization:

Leverage existing networks and connections within the UN system to communicate about the work of Innovation Scaling for the purposes of additional resource mobilisation.

Under the guidance of senior management harness opportunities for engaging with new partners to mobilize support for Innovation Scaling.

Ensure visibility of the Innovation Scaling portfolio through communication assets development and engagement in high visibility events.

Contribute to internal and external technical reports, proposals, concept notes and relevant communication materials in the area of innovation management and scaling.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent), preferably in a field related to Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology Management, or a related field.

A first-level university degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent) in combination with 2 additional years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


Required Experience:

A minimum of 5 years of experience in one or more of the following: innovation scaling, innovation management, or planning of innovation activities/projects supporting scale, solution or service design.

Desired Experience: The following experience is optional. Candidates who do not have it are welcome to apply

Experience in innovation management in the international social development and/or humanitarian fields.

Experience in measuring impact through design or implementation of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning frameworks or other impact measurement models.

Experience in managing teams and contractors, preferably in innovation development type of work.

Experience in designing and implementing innovative concepts in a UN context for improved impact and service offering.

Knowledge of innovation scaling in theory and in practice and knowledge of the most recent best practices.

Proven track record of successfully managing innovations through prototyping, piloting and towards successful scaling is a plus.

Language Requirements:

Fluency in English (write, read, speak) is required.

Knowledge of another United Nations official language is an advantage.

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