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Terms of Reference – Innovation Partnerships Consultant, San Francisco


  • Title: Innovation Partnerships Consultant, San Francisco
  • Purpose: Support the management of Innovation partnerships portfolio
  • Location: San Francisco
  • Duration: 11 months
  • Start Date: TBD
  • Reporting To: Innovation Unit Co-Lead, with support from Partnerships Lead


UNICEF has been innovating for children for more than 60 years. The work in this area is coordinated by an Innovation Unit with teams in New York and San Francisco, which support the organization’s 135+ country offices in finding solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children. UNICEF’s Innovation work includes both policy and practice of innovation in UNICEF, and the larger UN. UNICEF is engaged in testing and scaling up new partnerships, technologies, and collaborations in some of the world’s most difficult operating environments. UNICEF’s system of innovation throughout the organization includes:

  • Innovation Unitin New York: to support UNICEF programmes on the ground and the organisation at large through partnerships, technologies, and connections
  • Innovation node in San Francisco: to build partnerships with the technology sector
  • Global Innovation Centrein Nairobi: to identify and field tests scalable innovations
  • A network of Innovation Labsaround the world (from Armenia to Zambia): to bring together the private sector, academia, and the public sector to develop solutions for key social issues, and ensure we are always watching for new ideas from unexpected places.

In San Francisco there has been a focus on two areas of work. One is in engaging technology companies to provide expertise, products and services, co-creation opportunities and financial support to extend the reach of UNICEF’s current innovation activities. The second area is in creating opportunities to make UNICEF a critical part of conversations on how “doing good is good business” – engaging strategically with partners around their core business drivers, especially in the areas where we have recognized future growth opportunities, and where there is the potential for significant impact on children: identity, transport, wearables, financial inclusion and learning.


A key pillar of Innovation work at UNICEF is partnership with the private sector, academia, and other civil society actors. The Innovation Partnership Specialist is responsible for providing support for the private sector portfolio that is handled by the Innovation Unit in San Francisco, in close coordination with the NYHQ Innovation Unit, PFP in Geneva, and Global Innovation Center in Nairobi.

Specific Tasks 

Main Responsibilities

  1. Provide support to a key UNICEF partnership with a strategic technology company, which is expected to include some of the following work: assistance with various aspects of the design and launch of a challenge (Wearables / Smart Products for Social Impact), including project management duties; assistance with co-ordination of a market research report, including release of the RFP, selection of partner, and report development and composition. All coordination and additional activities will be to support the partnership activities and meet activity deadlines, so may shift as partnership develops.
  1. Support the effective relationship management for other assigned private sector partners from the portfolio, the specifics of which will depend on the fluctuating needs and opportunities within each relationship.
  1. Regular updating of partnership database, and pro-active communication with Innovation colleagues and PFP to encourage knowledge sharing around partnership activities and opportunities.
  1. Help partnerships team to write, edit and organize materials produced for partners, as well as for internal stakeholders.
  1. Proactively scout for new opportunities with tech sector partners, as well as contribute to on-going strategy development with current tech partners.
  1. As needed, represent UNICEF Innovation Unit and the partnerships team at external events and within the UNICEF global innovation network.

Expected Deliverables

  1. Month 1: Provide planning and logistical support for the launch of key strategic partnership in May 2015, as well as 2-week event in June which involves connecting visiting UNICEF experts to private sector partners
  2. Month 2: Successful launch of key strategic partnership; support to June event
  3. Month 3: Support to and regular reporting on partnerships with key social networks that extend UNICEF’s innovation work. Support exchange with UNICEF colleagues that will be visiting San Francisco as part of Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program
  4. Month 4: Prepare and coordinate review of proposed project entries for Wearables / Smart Product Challenge; create inventory of projects for judging committee and assist with narrowing of entrants.
  5. Month 5: Coordinate 2nd half reporting to internal stakeholders on progress with partnerships with key social networks that extend UNICEF’s innovation work
  6. Month 6: Provide supervision of major partnerships, including challenges as well as support for end of Wearables challenge, announcement of winners, etc.
  7. Month 7: Help with follow-up with challenge winners, ecosystem of partners; help with planning of innovation meeting content that Partnerships team is responsible for
  8. Month 8: Presentation prepared for all Innovation colleagues on status and opportunities in partnerships work at annual meeting
  9. Month 9: Coordinate workplan templates and materials for 2016 planning
  10. Month 10: Prepare and present updates for internal stakeholders on the tech partnerships strategy for 2016
  11. Month 11: Roll-out activities for year 2 of key strategic partnership

* The work as the partnerships specialist requires simultaneous implementation of various tasks and deliverables throughout the contract period as specified above, including regular support and communication activities. All monthly and ongoing tasks and deliverables, and all related documentation will therefore be included in monthly progress reports.

Qualifications and Competencies of Successful Candidate

Qualifications and experiences

  • University degree in Social Sciences, International Relations, Social Policy, Social Development, Community Development, Information Technology, or other relevant disciplines.
  • Five years of progressively responsible professional work experience at the national and international levels in programme and relationship management
  • Experience in start-up companies/organisations is an asset. Entrepreneurial failures are considered as valuable experience.
  • Experience in project management and rolling out of large scale projects especially in hard to reach areas in developing countries is highly desirable.
  • Proven capacity to work with and lead collaborative teams across different locations and with different technical skills
  • A strong understanding of UNICEF’s mission and vision as well as its programmes through direct or indirect work experience with UNICEF.
  • Proven ability to manage relationships with partners, including government ministries, youth coalitions, universities, intellectual leaders, UN organizations, NGOs and the private sector
  • Strong writing and communication skills and the aptitude to handle competing messages and priorities with multiple audiences
  • Familiarity with information systems and communication technologies is an asset.


  • Entrepreneurial, creative, and innovative thinker who can also translate ideas into practical applications
  • Ability to think strategically, and act with initiative to deliver results
  • Strong nuanced teamwork skills – balancing initiatives with the collaborative approach that is often called for in our distributed team
  • Analytical, negotiating, communication and advocacy skills.
  • Project management skills including task prioritization, budget monitoring, regular progress updates to all stakeholders
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships, both within and outside the organization.


Qualified candidates are requested to send a cover letter, a curriculum vitae in English, a requested monthly rate, and a United Nations Personal History Form P-11 (, to by 6 March 2015, making reference to “Innovation Partnerships Consultant – San Francisco”

**Applications submitted without a monthly rate will not be considered. **

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