Job Opportunity: Technical Support Adviser, Office of Innovation
Job Opportunity: Case Studies – Innovations to Scale

Role: Innovation Business Model Specialist
Job Number: 517758
 | Vacancy Link
Location: Remote
Duration: 11.5 months
Work-Type: Consultancy

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, innovate…

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives.  The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions.

UNICEF’s Office of Innovation creates opportunities for the world’s children by focusing on where new markets can meet their vital needs. We do this by:

  • Connecting youth communities (or more broadly — anyone disconnected or under-served) to decision-makers, and to each other, to deliver informed, relevant and sustained programmes that build better, stronger futures for children.
  • Provoking change for children through an entrepreneurial approach — in a traditionally risk-averse field — to harness rapidly moving innovations and apply them to serve the needs of all children.
  • Creating new models of partnership that leverage core business values across the public, private and academic sectors in order to deliver fast, and lasting results for children.

The Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively.


We’re an interdisciplinary team around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling new technologies and practices. With our partners, we focus on convening and collaborating on new and different solutions, low- and high-tech,  by:

  • Looking at the 2-5 year horizon to evaluate emerging and trending technologies and to see how UNICEF can work with the private sector on doing better business while improving essential services for children;

  • Investing in early stage solutions that show great potential to positively impact children in the 0-2 year future including the Venture Fund that invests in open source technology solutions from start-ups based in UNICEF’s programme countries;

  • Identifying proven solutions that can be implemented at national scale in multiple countries – taking the ideas that help thousands in one country, bringing them to dozens of countries across multiple sectors, and impacting the lives of millions of children.”


To date, the Office of Innovation (OoI) supported the scale up of innovations through UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre (GIC). The GIC was launched in May 2015, with a vision to inspire and support the scale-up of new technologies and approaches to UNICEF’s work and that of its partners to achieve powerful impact for all children.

The above UNICEF-adopted IDIA framework for the phases of innovation is especially relevant in understanding the past and future focus of how the OoI supports scale. The OoI focused on stages 4, 5 and 6. Applying a demand-driven, centre-of-excellence model, the OoI managed a portfolio of that was refined over time to focus on 7 innovations. The OoI scaled these from a handful of pilots to robust platforms in 85 countries that as of June 2018, have changed the lives of 115 million people.

The OoI also focused on contributing to building organizational capacity to scale innovation. As a result, UNICEF today is much better positioned to adopt and adapt innovative solutions — hundreds of staff have been through a variety of capacity development opportunities ranging from joint missions to learning programmes, positions have been reprofiled, and new innovation and ICT4D positions (staff and consultancy) have been established in country offices, business analysts in each regional office and new capacity in headquarters.

The OoI will now narrow its focus on the remaining gap between the Proof of Concept and Transition to Scale phases, where the OoI has unique and proven expertise, demonstrated success, and is well placed within the organization to provide this expertise across sectors and regions, provide value in the chain that links to and supports scaling by others.

Accelerate to Scale (A2S) will solve selected problems, shine the light on solutions sourced both internally and externally and help them be successful by doing, demonstrating, documenting and disseminating what can be done. The Office of Innovation (OoI) will allocate A2S resources to supporting specific new innovations that may be both internal and external to accelerate them to scale, directly supporting implementation to produce i) packaged deployment strategy and resources; ii) a validated business model and iii) systematically documented evidence of results. Capturing and disseminating this learning, best practices, processes and tools will support other people to undertake the scaling and sustainable scale of the innovation.

The lack of a business model is hindering a number of innovations from being able to move out of the ‘Transition to Scale’ phase and scale sustainably, even though they may be adopted and adapted in many countries. A2S will bring on board expertise to support the engine of growth modeling. UNICEF is now seeking a consultant with this expertise.

How can you make a difference?

Working closely with the Senior Advisor on Innovation (Scale), the Innovation Business Model Specialist will provide technical expertise and support related to developing and validating business models for sustainable scale for identified solutions being supported through Accelerate to Scale. The assignment will require an ability to understand complex, abstract concepts, and to apply business modeling within a development context.


  • Collect background information in collaboration with the Evidence Strategist and Deployment Specialist
  • Analyse information to understand the solution from a business perspective, such as but not limited to:
  • Defining the potential market for the solution
    • Clarifying and articulating the value proposition i.e. the user problem, solutions to the problem and why the user(s) will find value in the solution.
    • Size the value of market segment — how many people/entities share the problem and validate the opportunity i.e. identify the payer role(s), who would pay
  • Capture the baseline Total Cost of Ownership. Investigate how aspects of the model can be improved and costs reduced over time based on evidence (not theory), such as economies of scale etc. Articulate in terms of potential future Total Cost of Ownership.
  • Together with Deployment Specialist and with inputs from Evidence Strategist, prepare a recommendation to A2S on the result of the assessed need and opportunity. If recommendation is to continue, include the work plan.
  • Explore a range of potential business models and identify the one(s) that are best suited to the given solution and the conditions necessary for its success, including factors such as but not limited to opportunities to partner, government uptake, types of funding modalities that may be applicable. Make use of analogous experiences and examples.
  • Undertake small experiments to test and validate the possible business model(s) and document the results.
  • Iterate, refine and identify a narrow set of recommended engine of growth models that can be sustainable. Fully document these such that:
  • An office/organization interested in implementing this solution:
    • Understands the Total Cost of Ownership over time i.e. from initial start-up costs through to sustaining it over time
    • Is provided with a full set of resources to be able to easily adopt and adapt the business model, such as but not limited to decks, budgeting tools/calculators,
    • Is provided with the documented and full business case to take to a potential funder or partner
  • Any cost elements or assumptions outside of the implementing office is similarly clear in terms of Total Cost of Ownership over time
  • Support the Evidence Strategist and Deployment roles, if/as required, on related aspects such as cost-benefit analyses, cost effectiveness etc.
  • Big picture/global perspective — the individual solutions and their application across country contexts will give rise to broader patterns and insights relating to recurring barriers or opportunities, models more likely to succeed given certain conditions etc. Produce a reflective document that captures these insights, to be delivered at the conclusion of this consultancy.
  • Document work on an ongoing basis, including but not limited to case booking, blog posts/articles, webinars, social media and similar. May be required to present work in internal and external fora.

NOTE: The context for this work is in the development sector. All work must bear in mind accessibility and relevance to this sector including, for example, language and terminology used in development and by UNICEF to ensure maximum comprehensibility, uptake and utility of all deliverables.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Social Sciences, Business, Economics, International Relations, Social Policy, Social Development, or other relevant disciplines; or equivalent related practical experience.
  • At least 8 years of professional experience.
  • Significant experience with project management, with an ability to translate complex ideas from various fields into unified, clear guidance is a must.
  • Demonstrated expertise and experience of developing sustainable business models for growth, especially in the development sector.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience with processing large amount of information and synthesizing it.
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills. Ability to work collaboratively in a team and in a diverse work environment.
  • Knowledge of United Nations – particularly UNICEF – programming, processes and work streams.
  • Strong project management and self-management.
  • Fluency in English is required.

Payment details and further considerations

  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his own health insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel

Application must include

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • A sample of work related to assignment as described in this Terms of Reference

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.


Opening Date Thu Nov 15 2018 09:00:00 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) Eastern Standard Time
Closing Date Thu Nov 29 2018 23:55:00 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) 


Job Opportunity: Technical Support Adviser, Office of Innovation
Job Opportunity: Case Studies – Innovations to Scale