Skip to Job Description
Innovation Manager (Gender Equity, Adolescents and Youth Portfolio), P-4, Office of Innovation, Stockholm, Sweden, #128989
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
P-4 Mid-level Professional Full-time Internationallly Recruited
Job Expired 15 Jun 2024
Posted 1 month ago
Job Description

UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.

UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.


For every child, hope...

The Office of Innovation (OoI) works to catalyse UNICEF's and all its partners’ expertise and resources against key children-outcomes bottlenecks, with a view to continuously ideate and scale the most effective solutions with transformational potential at scale to achieve the child-related SDGs. 

The office is doing this by continuously exploring new ways of accelerating results for children, investing across a range of mid to late stage solutions, and harnessing internal and external expertise towards continuously iterating and finetuning the most promising solutions for children through a systematic portfolio management approach, and leveraging all stakeholders’ innovation energy, knowhow and resources from intergovernmental, multilateral, private sector and non-governmental fora (think tank, academia).

For every child, innovate…


The world is failing to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the current way of working isn’t delivering the scale of results needed to improve children’s lives. New approaches to financing, programming, data and digitalization are critical for UNICEF to support partner governments improving outcomes for children across most key areas of development.   


The Office of Innovation (OOI) is responsible for sourcing, adapting, iterating, and scaling innovation solutions to address the world’s biggest development and humanitarian problems.  The office takes a portfolio approach to managing innovations that we believe will have a transformative impact on children’s lives.  

OOI takes a problem-led approach, carefully defining the needs of children, teachers, health workers, parents and government partners and finding solutions to solve the problems identified. A solution can be physical product (e.g a diagnostic), a cutting-edge technology, a new financial model, an AI data model, a new way of working or even a new process. UNICEF takes a systems approach to innovation, trying to understand the entire value chain and designing solutions to meet the user needs within it, and then tapping into or generating demand.   

OOI Portfolios are centred around the problems they aim to solve. A collection of solutions from around the world that UNICEF believes will deliver transformative change for children is what constitutes a portfolio.  How Portfolio Managers select, invest, focus, prioritise and drive the direction and multi-country scale of the solutions is key to the successes and failures an innovation portfolio will experience. 


How can you make a difference? 

UNICEF acknowledges the global struggle to meet Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing the need for innovative approaches in financing, programming, and digitalization to better children's lives. The Office of Innovation (OOI) leads this effort, adopting a problem-centric approach to sourcing, adapting, iterating, and scaling innovative solutions that address the world’s most pressing development and humanitarian challenges. OOI takes a portfolio approach, carefully curating collections of solutions from around the world that have the potential to deliver transformative change for children. This portfolio management is crucial, as it determines the success and failures of the innovation portfolio.


OOI Portfolios are centered around the problems they aim to solve, representing a diverse range of solutions, from physical products to cutting-edge technologies and new financial models. UNICEF's innovation strategy takes a systems approach, seeking to understand the entire value chain and designing solutions to meet the needs of end-users, while also generating demand.

In this dynamic landscape, Innovation Managers play a pivotal role. They deeply understand problems, identify solutions, and manage relationships with innovation owners and stakeholders. Operating with limited resources, Innovation Managers must be industrious, proactive, and decisive in their decision-making. They lead project delivery, ensuring alignment with UNICEF's strategic objectives and promoting systematic innovation. Key competencies include effective listening, decisiveness, humility, and objectivity.

  1. Develop and maintain the innovation portfolio vision.
  2. Driving Gamechangers initiative country roll-out, continuous learning and improvement.
  3. Work with Country Office, Regional Office, and HQ colleagues to understand and validate the key problems to solve.
  4. Lead the development of new solutions leveraging UNICEF’s strengths.
  5. Effectively manage innovation projects and support project managers where OOI is not playing the leadership role.
  6. Define scope, set objectives, and develop solution roadmaps taking an agile approach.
  7. Establish project teams on key initiatives.
  8. Develop business cases for priority innovation initiatives, clearly outlining and projecting needs and demand.
  9. Frequently revisit, interrogate, and improve business plans.
  10. Source solutions, both internally working with country offices and externally working with the private sector and academia.
  11. Working with Generation Unlimited on developing youth innovation and inclusive solutions to support learning-to-earning e.g Fundoo.
  12. Identify gaps where no solution exists, and UNICEF need to drive the creation of new innovative solutions.
  13. Raise funds to support portfolio initiatives.
  14. Keep colleagues informed of emerging trends and technologies by issuing briefs, thought pieces and Point of Views (POVs) on innovation opportunities.
  15. Lead a review of the portfolio based on the 5D model at least annually.
  16. Plan and host industry consultations to incentivize R&D and understand what is possible.
  17. Work with MEELR colleagues to develop validation frameworks to build evidence base of portfolio solutions.
  18. Drive scale up of evidence-based solutions across multiple countries working closely with regional and country office colleagues.
  19. Represent UNICEF Innovation at high profile engagements and speaking events.
  20. Contract consultants, companies, and partner organisations to support delivery of innovation programmes and solutions.
  21. Manage consultants for specialist tasks.
  22. Manage grants under the supervision of the Senior Advisor.
  23. Ensure INVENT, the UNICEF knowledge management platform, is up to date and accurately representing the latest in innovation work in your field.
  24. Work closely with the communications team to develop communications assets to drive awareness, attract donors and market solutions.
  25. Engage the UNICEF innovation governance structure for progressing, pausing, and exiting major global innovation initiatives.
  26. Foster collaboration with other UNICEF divisions including Programme Group, Supply Division, Division of Data Analytics and Planning and ICTD.
  27. Establish and engage in relevant networks (internal and external).

If you would like to know more about this position, please review the complete Job Description here:  Innovation Manager(Gender Equity, Adolescents and Youth Portfolio)_P4.pdf


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

Minimum requirements:


  • Education:
  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: Business Administration, Innovation, or related field.
  • A first degree plus an additional 2 years of experience, may be accepted in lieu of a Master’s degree.


  • Work Experience: 
  • A minimum of 8 years of relevant professional experience is required at national and international levels in innovation.
  • Experience managing portfolios in private or public sectors is an asset.
  • A demonstrable understanding of systems innovation is important.
  • Knowledge of and experience working with Artificial Intelligence is highly desired.
  • Track record in scaling innovative solutions (in product, data, policy, tech, finance) is highly desirable.
  • Track record of initiating ambitions gender equity or inclusive innovation solutions is highly desired.
  • Experience innovating to solve issues faced by adolescent and young boys and girls is an advantage.
  • Experience working and living in middle- and lower-income countries is an asset.

Desired skills: outstanding ability to listen and give positive criticism, decisiveness, humility and objectivity.

Language knowledge: Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) is an asset.


For every Child, you demonstrate...

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships

(2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness

(3) Drive to achieve results for impact

(4) Innovates and embraces change

(5) Manages ambiguity and complexity

(6) Thinks and acts strategically

(7) Works collaboratively with others 


Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

We offer a wide range of measures to include a more diverse workforce, such as paid parental leave, time off for breastfeeding purposes, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). 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 is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance. Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.



As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. 

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason. 

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

In case of any questions, please contact:


This position is no longer open.