Chief Innovation Officer, Research and Development
- International Rescue Committee
- Where to Apply
The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.
The IRC has defined a new strategic mission and vision to extend IRC’s thought leadership and operational leadership in the sector. A key strategic initiative is Research & Development (R&D), aimed at investing in the design, development, and scaling of new humanitarian interventions and delivery models. R&D seeks to apply best practices from human-centered design, rapid iteration, cross-functional problem-solving, and a portfolio management function in the humanitarian context. Combining these capabilities in IRC’s extensive field presence, supported deep sector expertise from our research capability, we believe it is possible to design and scale breakthrough humanitarian programs that could impact millions of people most affected by conflict and disasters.
How do you halve the time and cost it takes to get cash to families in a war zone? How do you vaccinate the 22 million children who live in the most remote, crisis-affected areas on Earth? How do you reduce violence against women and children in a scalable, culturally appropriate way? – It will be your job to help IRC answer these questions.
Based in IRC Headquarters in New York City, the Chief Innovation Officer will set the lab’s strategic direction, manage a portfolio of design projects in the R&D lab, and be an internal and external leader of innovation in the humanitarian sector. Reporting directly to the CEO and an R&D Governing Board, he/she will lead the launch of the R&D lab in 2016, and ensure the development of rigorous, effective design methods that lead to true humanitarian breakthroughs. This role will also be responsible for providing leadership in fundraising, developing high-impact partnerships for the lab, and ensuring effective collaboration with other functions at IRC. You will have extensive opportunity to work on the most challenging and meaningful issues the world faces, alongside some of the leading humanitarian sector innovators, social entrepreneurs, and thought leaders in the world.
Provide strategic direction for R&D priorities
Define and steer strategic vision and long-term goals for R&D at the IRC, aligned with organizational priorities and mission
Set performance targets and ensure R&D projects deliver effectively in terms of their quality, timeliness, budget, and use of R&D methods
Support the development and application of an IRC R&D method and process, including problem identification, design, ideation, and rapid prototyping processes to build a portfolio of R&D projects
Lead a team of 5-10 people based in New York and oversee resource management, including budgeting and team workforce planning
Provide leadership and make critical decisions to direct R&D activities and vision, identifying solutions to complex problems
Establish IRC as sector leader in R&D
Lead communication of the R&D team vision, both internally and externally
Establish a strong and reputable external profile for the IRC R&D as a semi-autonomous “lab”
Ensure the R&D lab facilitates strong sectorial collaboration with other NGOs in the humanitarian sector
Collaborate with the R&D board and CEO, communicating progress and identifying support required to overcome challenges
Drive fundraising and partnership
Set direction for long-term fundraising strategy, in collaboration with IRC Revenue department
Develop high-impact strategic partnerships to participate in project development and take innovations to scale
Identify and cultivate relationships with public and private sector organizations for potential funding, partnership and advocacy opportunities
Master’s degree with 12-15 years of experience in design, innovation and/or research and development and in humanitarian or development contexts
Experience leading and developing a team of senior professional, enabling them to perform in a highly creative and collaborative work environment
Successful experience creating and implementing a vision and a strategy, as well as engaging the teams and a variety of stakeholders to deliver against this strategy
A track record of successful products/services design, testing and launch (preferably in development/humanitarian contexts)
Experience in fundraising and partnership development, with a track record of cultivating successful relationships
Superb analytical and creative problem solving skills to tackle complex problems
Strong presentation and writing skills
Strong leadership, management and decision making skills
Excellent interpersonal skills, able to communicate with colleagues on all levels in a distributed, multicultural professional environment
Fluency in French and/or Arabic
Experience/familiarity with NGO setting
Standard office work environment
Potential to travel to IRC program locations up to 20% of the time
Please apply on our website.