Terms of Reference

Title: Visual Strategy Consultant
Department: Innovation Unit, Division of Research and Policy
Duration: 11.5 months
Duty Station: New York, USA


UNICEF has been innovating for children for more than 60 years. The work in this area is supported by an Innovation Unit in New York that supports the organization’s 135+ country offices in finding solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children. The UNICEF 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 Unit in New York: to support early stage innovation in UNICEF programmes on the ground and the organization at large through partnerships, technologies, and connections

  • Innovations node in San Francisco: to builds partnerships with the technology sector, and will help scale social innovation start-ups.

  • Global Innovation Centre in Nairobi: to scale-up and implement proven, successful innovations globally and foster collaboration among entities in the global south

  • A network of Innovation Labs around the world 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.


The overall objective of this consultancy is to provide a strong design and visual strategy expertise to support and build strong brand identities and communication assets for the innovations at the Innovation Unit in New York, the Global Innovation Centre and across our various innovation labs worldwide. The consultant will report to the Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Director for guidance and general supervision.

The ideal candidate needs to be able to take large amounts of information from various sources and structure it into aesthetically and technically clear guidance for different audiences. It will require an ability to communicate complex, abstract concepts using visual and written language with proven experience in design thinking and organizational change. The candidate must be able to work in a fast-changing environment and have a strong understanding of social innovation in development. Additionally, we seek someone with experience coordinating projects and events alongside other staff members who come from diverse backgrounds in communications, operations, private and academic partnerships and technology and field work.


  1. Review all current documentation of innovations and internal communications and rework these assets to create a series of consistent documentation that can be issued to UNICEF Country Offices

  2. Establish specific goals, objectives and strategies for the Visual Strategy team, in collaboration with co-leads, country office and HQ colleagues, in order to effectively contribute to the implementation of innovation projects and initiatives.

  3. Gather and process information on existing innovation initiatives to determine new and compelling ways of presenting this information

  4. Develop the necessary guidance, design and/or packaging materials around innovations to be easily used and reworked by staff and key stakeholders

  5. User research: Liaise closely with technical and programmatic key stakeholders to ensure newly created materials are useful and allow for more efficient practices.

  6. Coordination: Support with coordinating events and presentations for the staff, which includes working with internal UNICEF staff to book rooms, develop floor plans and run throughs and create print and digital collateral for the events, while ensuring these materials are available in a timely manner.


Month 1 (August 2015):

  • Get up to speed with Innovation projects and events for 2015. These include the annual report, Innovation Fund website, partnership collaborations, the General Assembly meetings and several other events slated for the remainder of 2015.

  • Identify and present a plan of action around areas needing additional design support (i.e. print production of the annual report, presentation decks for speakers, packaging of any materials to present to partners, packaging branding of any projects scaling-up, coordinating event requirements for the General Assembly and other events, etc.).

Month 2 (September 2015):

  • Work with the team to prepare for the General Assembly meetings and side events. (i.e. print production of any promotional collateral, presentation decks for speakers, packaging of any materials to present to partners, packaging branding of any projects scaling-up, coordinating event requirements for the General Assembly and other events, tech/AV support.).

Month 3 (October 2015):

  • Package any outcomes generated from the General Assembly. Work with the Communications specialist to present interesting outcomes, findings or summary reports.

  • Work alongside technical developers and the Innovation Fund manager to review of the progress of the Innovation Fund website. In particular, assess the user experience and user interface, comment on the current state of the site and brainstorm potential assets to build-out for the site in preparation for an increase in user growth.

  • Progress forward on updated variations of our interactive online innovation map. Asses problem areas and work with developers to implement improvements based on user feedback.

Month 4 (November 2015):

  • Assess internal design and communication materials in the Innovation Unit, Country Offices and Innovation Labs – review both success areas and identify gaps. These include onboarding materials, branding work, online and digital media and various templates to support projects and staff. This also includes a review of our data assets management system amongst our team – how can we best share files and where can we archive projects and design assets.

  • Present findings and work with the team to identify specific areas of focus. Specific focuses should be on some of our flagship products under the RapidPro suite – what has been created, how best can we share our resources and what additional materials need to be created for users, deployment specialists, project managers, partners and potential clients.

Month 5 (December 2015):

  • Gather information from the team to develop a visual narrative for various innovation products by working with the communications specialist and the innovation team in New York and the Global Innovation Centre. This includes creating initial iterations of printed materials, presentation assets for partners and exhibition design materials which help exemplify and promote UNICEF Innovation products for internal and external audiences.

  • Finalize innovation projects map.

Month 6 (January 2016):

  • Country Office support – design scoping mission. Set-up 1-2 field office visits for the year to determine ways to support country offices with more talented and competitive design support in ways that are cost-saving and efficient. Keep in mind ways to provide pro-bono services, low-cost methods alongside traditional methods of onboarding additional staff support. Summary report backs are to be written, packaged and presented upon return.

  • Based on the results from the field office visits, identify needs/gaps for creative talent (designers, developers and other creatives) and share with co-leads for feedback; Support in drafting TORs, streamline the interview and hiring process and provide guidance to staff who are not familiar with coordinating projects which require deliverables requiring a high-level of visual design work.

Month 7 (February 2016):

  • Continued: Figure out ways to support country offices with more talented and competitive design support in ways that are cost-saving and efficient.

  • Finalize TORs in conjunction with Operations team and provide support in streamlining the interview and hiring process to VS staff and consultants.

  • Begin to organize the team’s work and brainstorm designerly ways to publish past, current and future design and interaction projects for use in promotion and upcoming events/talks. Consider how this plays into the 2016 Annual Report.

  • Conceptualize ways in which the design team can present their work – through brown bags, a potential portfolio website, presentation decks, outreach to external audiences interested in organizational change through design.

Month 8 (March 2016):

  • Continued: Conceptualize and present iterations on ways to support country offices with more talented and competitive design support in ways that are cost-saving and efficient.

  • Continued: Focus and execute at least one concept on how the Innovation Unit should communicate what we do and who we are, which will coincide with the upcoming 2016 Annual Report.

  • Begin working with the team to establish 2016 academic engagements which involve creative thinking and design. Work with our Partnerships Lead to build-out project scopes for the 2016 summer and fall.

Month 9 (April 2016):

  • Provide design support for upcoming innovation projects and ensure this design work compliments other innovation projects that are scaling-up. This includes explorations and design execution in branding identity work, communication pieces and more technical guidance pieces.

Month 10 (May 2016):

  • Present to country offices new ways of identifying additional talent to support various needs. Work with the Communications specialist to articulate this through our blog and newsletter and global calls.

Month 11 (June/July 2016):

  • Support with onboarding any summer interns under the Visual Strategy team. This includes coordinating meetings, clarifying project briefs and getting interns/fellows on boarded.

  • Write-up, package and submit handover report highlighting work accomplished, challenges and lessons learned. This must also include accessible links and documents to all files created for UNICEF and the UNICEF Innovation Unit during the duration of the contract.

Ongoing Deliverables – Month 1-11.5:

  1. Working with the various innovation labs to support their respective projects related to youth engagement, access to information and real-time information. Work would include ideating innovative ways to present these projects through digital and traditional forms of media so that the Innovation Unit team members can easily share stories of their work and contextualize and simplify complex ideas around technology, future outlooks and scale-up.

  2. Strengthening partnerships with academia and design organizations and supporting in creating models for countries to implement and scale.

  3. Support on sculpting TOR’s for designers, developers and other creatives. Work alongside staff to identify quality candidates for any upcoming positions.

  4. Continue to assist on user interface design, process and system design, data visualizations and diagrams for various programme areas.


01 August 2015 – 15 July 2016 (11.5 months). No payment for weekends and UN holidays. Travel anticipated. Destination(s) TBD.


  • University degree in a relevant field (i.e. Media Design, Design for Social Impact/Social Innovation) is required. Advanced university degree preferred.

  • At least 5 years of professional experience in design (print, digital, UX/UI), data visualization, event planning, and/other relevant areas

  • Experience in exhibition design and both small and large-scale event coordination.

  • Experience in leading projects from start to end and communicating feedback to designers and developers.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • Experience with processing and synthesizing large amounts of information

  • Proven experience in translating complex ideas from various fields into unified, clear guidance

  • Strong design preparation and production skills

  • Knowledge of design platforms like Adobe Creative Suite, design techniques, software, data visualization and business-related functions such as marketing and advertising

  • Experience creating strong designs on non-design platforms like Microsoft Powerpoint and developing accessible templates for users who do not have access or knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite

  • Experience creating visually appealing technical guidance pieces

  • Ability to work in a team and in a diverse and rapidly-changing work environment

  • Resourceful, agile and capable of multitasking

Additional knowledge:

  • Knowledge of SMS technology and mobile usage in developing countries and a familiarity with UNICEF Innovation Labs is a plus.

  • Familiarity with open-source technology.

  • Familiarity with development/programming language.


Fluency in English is required.  Knowledge of another official UN language is an asset.

Competencies of Successful Candidate

i) Core Values:

–  Commitment
–  Diversity and Inclusion
–  Integrity

ii) Core Competencies:

–  Communication
–  Working with People
–  Drive for Results

iii) Functional Competencies:

–  Leading and Supervising
–  Formulating Strategies and Concepts
–  Analyzing
–  Relating and Networking
–  Persuading and Influencing
–  Creating and Innovating

To Apply:
Please submit the following materials to unicef.jobs@gmail.com with the Subject line –  “Application: Visual Strategy Consultant”:

  1. Resume/CV

  2. Cover letter

  3. Work samples/portfolio (URL to your website or PDF are acceptable)

  4. UN Personal History (P-11) form  (http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc)

Note: Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in USD) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

Application Deadline: 2015 July 9, 5pm EST

Questions can be directed to unicef.jobs@gmail.com with the Subject line: “QUERY: Visual Strategy Consultant”