Senior Innovation Advisor

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 31 July 2019
  • Arlington, Virginia, United States
  • Closing on 30 August 2019
  • Current

Job Description

Social Solutions International, Inc. is a woman and minority-owned company. Social Solutions emphasizes quality research and evaluation, training and technical assistance, and institutional support services. We are a mission-driven organization that believes that superior science can improve the world. Social Solutions is dedicated to the creation of social and health solutions to improve the welfare of underserved populations worldwide.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contracted through Social Solutions International to recruit and hire a qualified individual for a Senior Innovation Advisor.

BACKGROUND:

USAID’s Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact (CII), within the Bureau for Global Health, was developed to accelerate the development, introduction and scale-up of priority global health interventions. To do so, CII promotes and reinforces innovative, business-minded approaches to address the key bottlenecks in development, introduction and scale-up – applying business and marketplace principles to accelerate impact against some of the world’s most important health challenges.

Despite the existence of hundreds of technologies to improve global health, relatively few are available to save lives in the developing world, where morbidity and mortality burdens are greatest. An antiseptic that costs less than 10 cents could be used to reduce neonatal infection across South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A low-cost rapid diagnostic test could ensure a feverish child receives the treatment she needs. A new treatment used to treat HIV in the US could be introduced in sub-Saharan Africa. All of these technologies exist, yet none reaches more than a tiny fraction of the mothers and babies whose lives they could save. Those technologies that do eventually reach those hardest-to-reach populations often take far too long to get there.

To address these and other challenges, the Center:

  • Serves as a catalyst, driving innovation and partnerships;
  • Works with the Bureau’s technical offices to help prioritize existing and new innovations and interventions that align directly with the Agency’s priorities in global health;
  • Supports rapid introduction of and/or access to these priority interventions; and
  • Seeks not only to develop best practices in innovation, introduction and uptake across sectors, but to push the boundaries of current thinking to improve the health and efficiency of the marketplace.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The Senior Innovation Advisor is a unique role, leading the development and execution of USAID’s Bureau for Global Health’s innovation strategy. As such, he/she serves as the Agency subject-matter expert for CII’s Innovation Team as it works to catalyze and accelerate the development and introduction of groundbreaking innovations for health, including innovations sourced through the breadth of Global Health’s Grand Challenges – Saving Lives at Birth, Zika and Future Threats, Fighting Ebola, and Health Supply Chains. Additionally, he/she will design and direct the Innovation Team’s efforts to build innovation capacity across the Bureau for Global Health, design and build innovation ecosystems in USAID priority countries, and, in coordination with other donors and partners, shape markets to accelerate the progress of promising technologies, service delivery approaches, and systems (e.g., UAVs, AI, Block Chain, etc.) and how they can be applied to help achieve global health goals.

The Senior Innovation Advisor is expected to have substantial experience in entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization, and leverages his/her background to develop and execute strategies in supporting the Grand Challenge and other future innovation programs. He/she must possess, or will be expected to rapidly develop, deep knowledge and strategic perspectives on particular innovations and interventions that have been selected and to think creatively on partnerships that would help to foster their success and maximize their impact. Identifying opportunities for private sector engagement and collaborations with local actors will be an important aspect of these innovation support strategies. Additionally, he/she must have experience with human-centered design and its application to global health programming – from products and services to program and business-model design.

The Senior Innovation Advisor often needs to act independently and entrepreneurially in this role and engage strategically with the broader business community, while keeping the CII Director apprised of developments. This role requires creative thinking, comfort with ambiguity, business-savvy and experience to both develop and implement innovative and impactful public-private partnerships that accelerate progress towards USAID’s global health priorities. The candidate must be able to function well independently and in teams, and have a commitment to excellence and producing results. The Center places great value on the following personal qualities: resourcefulness, responsibility, tenacity, energy, sense of humor, and positive attitude.

The Senior Innovation Advisor receives overall onsite direction from the Director of the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact, and performs the following major duties (reasonable accommodation may be provided to allow individuals with disabilities to perform the duties of the position):

  • Advises the strategy and execution of CII’s Innovation Portfolio;
  • Contributes and provides strategic guidance as a core member of CII’s Leadership Team, helping to set priorities for the Center, seize opportunities to maximize impact, and effectively support the Bureau for Global Health’s priorities;
  • Identifies and develops initiatives, partnerships, and/or activities that support innovations and their applications to global health challenges;
  • Builds and maintains key relationships with senior executives at manufacturers, developers and other implementing organizations as well as senior officials from foundations and governmental, multilateral and nongovernmental organizations to advance product introduction and uptake priorities;
  • Supports the success of CII innovation programs by helping to initiate continued engagement with partners, including but not limited to developing timelines and leading outreach efforts;
  • While working independently and providing guidance to a team of contractor staff, provides leadership and direction to a diverse portfolio of innovators, identifying opportunities for scale-up and technical assistance (human-centered design, business-model design, private sector engagement, market assessments, etc.) as well as facilitating effective CII project management for Agency-funded innovators;
  • Advises and lends subject-matter expertise, particularly from the private sector, to projects applying business-minded thinking and human-centered design with Agency-supported innovators;
  • Works closely with the CII Innovation Team to help build and support a community of innovators, including contributing ideas and resources;
  • Keeps abreast of major developments in innovative programming, science and technology, service delivery approaches, and demand-side creation, both internal and external to USAID and its partners, and identifies opportunities to apply these developments to global health goals;
  • Develops and implements strategy for building innovation capacity across the Bureau for Global Health and in health teams across USAID’s country Missions;
  • Brings strong user-centered design focus to CII’s work;
  • Works with partners to disseminate lessons learned and promote new advances, both within this community and to external audiences, including participating in and presenting at international and domestic meetings, workshops, and conferences;
  • Presents USAID programs and policies at relevant meetings with external parties and conferences;
  • Identifies, prioritizes and pursues opportunities and new initiatives for the Center;
  • Prepares reports, project plans and templates as needed.

Other related tasks or responsibilities may be assigned based on organizational and programming needs.

Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree (MBA Preferred) and 11+ years of relevant experience designing and implementing innovation initiatives, preferably in the private sector OR Bachelor’s degree and 13+ years of relevant experience designing and implementing innovation initiatives, preferably in the private sector;
  • Strong understanding of ‘shared value’ for global health (business incentives for engaging in global health) and opportunities for private sector engagement;
  • Experience managing and leading others in a complex bureaucratic environment;
  • Entrepreneurial mindset, with a demonstrated ability to operate independently, self-motivate, be flexible, and set and achieve ambitious targets;
  • Strong understanding of human-centered design;
  • Familiarity with global health innovation strongly desired;
  • Exceptional strategy development, analytical and communication (written and verbal) skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and synthesize information, apply it to new and unfamiliar contexts, and to develop priorities, solutions, and strategies to address issues and gaps;
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build relationships and communicate effectively with people of varied professional, cultural, and educational backgrounds;
  • Ability to be effective in high-pressure situations, juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, problem solve in a fast-paced environment and set priorities;
  • Ability to understand incentive structures, and engage and persuade senior-level executives and other stakeholders;
  • Detail-oriented with strong organization, work planning and project management skills;
  • High level of proficiency in Microsoft Office, particularly Excel and PowerPoint;
  • Willingness to travel both domestically and internationally;
  • The ability to obtain and maintain, at a minimum, a facility access clearance;
  • US Citizenship or permanent residency required.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit, stand and walk. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 20 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, color vision, and ability to adjust focus.

WORK ENVIRONMENT:

At the permanent duty station in Arlington, VA, work is typically performed in a climate-controlled office environment.

About the Organization

Social Solutions International offer competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits. Social Solutions is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic protected by law.

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