Title: Instructional Designer – UN Data Innovation Lab
Location: Flexible; NYHQ and Remote Based
Language(s): English
Travel: N/A
Duration of contract: 45 days (8 February 2016 through 20 January 2017)

Background & Rationale

Although the Data Revolution is already transforming private sector and civil society in profound ways, there remains limited institutional knowledge and technical capacity within the UN system for accessing the myriad sources of existing and new data (incl. real-time) available today, analysing them to gain new insights for programme implementation, and harnessing them to improve decision-making[1].

Availability and access to data is essential to measuring progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Relevant, reliable and up-to-date data are critical to assess the effectiveness of programmes, allocate funding to successful interventions and accurately track progress on a local level and across different population groups. To harness the power of the data revolution for sustainable development, a UN working group, led by WFP and UNICEF is developing a series of Data Innovation Lab workshops to take place over the next 12-18 months.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting to end hunger: Every year WFP’s food assistance reaches more than 80 million people in 80 countries worldwide. Innovation is critical for enabling WFP to achieve its goal of Zero Hunger and the organisation has repeatedly proven its ability to innovate at small and large scale. WFP has recently established a new Innovation Accelerator to systematically support innovations, enable more rapid development of ideas as well as the development of potentially “disruptive” early innovations. WFP recognises the power of new and emerging data sources and actively looks for opportunities to leverage data to transform its operations and improve communications with the people it serves. Where possible, WFP partners with other humanitarian actors, academia and the private sector to push innovations for Zero Hunger forward.

UNICEF has been innovating for children for more than 50 years. The work in this area is led by an Innovation Unit in New York that supports the organization – and particularly our 135 country offices – in finding solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children. The 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. Since 2007 UNICEF’s Innovation Unit has worked with partners to develop open-source, equity-focused solutions including those that have created nationwide systems for real-time information on children in countries throughout East Africa, real-time tracking of the distribution of more than 25 million insecticide treated mosquito nets in Nigeria; and mentored and supported more than 1,000 youth entrepreneurship projects through the Kosovo Innovation Lab.

WFP and UNICEF are jointly leading the development of the Data Innovation Lab, the purpose of which is to provide the UN system with the capability to investigate, design, develop, prototype and test applications of emerging digital data sources in support of global efforts to achieve the data revolution for sustainable development. The Lab will bring together private sector partners, academic centres of excellence, and leading experts in data privacy to harness new types of data, data mining and visualisation technologies, and novel analytical methodologies


The purpose of this position is to support lead UN agencies in designing a strong programme across six 2-day workshops that will support the desired learnings and outcomes of the Data Innovation Lab workshops, drawing on relevant pedagogy and tested theories of learning. Data Innovation Lab workshops should leveraging the deep knowledge and expertise already available outside of the UN, bringing together UN staff with leading partners in academia and the private sector, and providing a space to identify and discuss cross-cutting challenges, align on overall strategies to develop solutions and enable agencies to efficiently utilise all available data for decision-making.


The required work falls into three main areas:

  • Design an overarching narrative and curriculum for the six workshops to ensure continuity and actionable outputs
  • Identify essential content, relevant experts, potential speakers, and potential partners
  • Draw on proven methodologies and best practices to design substantive and engaging agendas for each workshop that align with specific outcomes and objectives

Expected results: (measurable results)

The consultant will work closely with WFP and UNICEF to develop an overarching framework based on the existing Data Innovation Lab concept note and proposed objectives. The remaining work will be direct support for each of the 6 events, spread out over 12-18 months.

  1. Creation of a survey to asses existing capabilities
  2. Review and revision of current materials and structure for the Data Innovation Labs
  3. Design of overarching structure for the six events
  4. Identification of essential content, potential speakers and partners
  5. Relevant instructional methods identified
  6. Draft agenda for each event produced

For each workshop:

  1. Specific methodologies and activities identified and proposed to lead agency
  2. Revised agenda presented to lead agency for feedback, integrating outputs from previous events
  3. Event agenda finalized


Start date:               8 February 2016                      End date: 20 January 2017


  • Deliverable: Creation of a survey to asses existing capabilities
    Duration: (Estimated # of Days)
    Deadline: February 2016
  • Deliverables:
    – Review and revision of current materials and structure for the Data Innovation Labs
    – Design of overarching structure for the six events
    – Draft agenda for each event produced
    Duration: (Estimated # of Days)
    Deadline: March 2016
  • Deliverable: Identification of essential content, potential speakers and partners
    Duration: (Estimated # of Days): Ongoing
    Deadline: January 2017
  • Deliverable: Relevant instructional methods identified
    Duration: (Estimated # of Days): Ongoing
    Deadline: January 2017
    For each event:
    1. Specific methodologies and activities identified and proposed to lead agency
    2. Revised agenda presented to lead agency for feedback, integrating outputs from previous events
    3. Event agenda finalized
    Duration: (Estimated # of Days): Ongoing
    Deadline: January 2017

Total: 45 Days

Duty Station

Flexible location with no travel expected.

Key competences, technical background, and experience required Deadline

  • At least 5 years of professional experience in instructional design, databases, machine learning, visualization, system design, or related field.
  • Experience with innovative teaching methodologies
  • Self-starter and able to time-manage oneself
  • Fluency in English
  • Demonstrated ability to work with people of various professional, academic and cultural backgrounds.

[1] Data Revolution: Proposed UN System Initiatives, CEB, 2015

How to Apply

Applicants are requested to send their submissions to pdconsultants@unicef.org with subject line:

“Instructional Designer – UN Data Innovation Lab” by 2nd February 2016, 5:00pm EST.

Applications must include:

· Cover letter,

· CV

· P-11 form[1] – http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc, and

· Proposed work schedule outlining plan for completion of deliverables and associated timeframe,

· Indicate where you heard about this advertisement

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered. Payment will be made as a lump sum at the end of the consultancy.

NOTE: Files should not exceed 5.0MB limit

UNICEF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

[1] P 11 form can be downloaded from our website at http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc