Mercy Corps Product Innovation and Partnerships Manager Job in Nairobi, Kenya

Jun 9, 2017

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. Across the more than 40 countries in which we operate, we are working to address root causes of poverty head on, and helping those caught in crisis not only meet their immediate needs, but build a brighter future. 

In taking on these challenges, Mercy Corps does not act alone nor are we satisfied with business as usual. 

In our work, we strive to innovate for greater impact – often through increased take-up of technology and investment in market-driven models. 

 
In our work, we see technology as an enabler to improve scale, access, efficiency, engagement, and effectiveness in our global work.
 
Position: Product Innovation and Partnerships Manager
 
Location: Nairobi

Program / Department Summary: Mercy Corps implements high-quality, analytical development work in very difficult places. 

We have been operating in Kenya since 2008 and are presently implementing development programs across the Central, Rift Valley, North Western and Northern Eastern regions of Kenya.
 
The Google-funded Impact Labs program is a three-year youth employment initiative to stimulate product innovation and technology-oriented solutions to the global youth unemployment challenge. 

Focusing on youth aged 15-35, this initiative will operate in two strategic regional hubs, Jordan and Kenya, serving the Middle East and East Africa. 

This initiative aims to think big, take risks, and test bold solutions by approaching under-employment and unemployment through a business-oriented innovation lens. 

The program seeks to facilitate sustainable tech-enabled employment solutions in collaboration with the private sector to bridge skills and opportunity gaps for youth. 

Product innovations could exist in the job-matching space, in the connection of youth to other livelihoods opportunities in the formal or informal sectors, integration of technology into vocational training, or more.

In Kenya, the program will seek to stimulate solutions serving vulnerable youth populations in Kenya, particularly in areas of geographic vulnerability including North Rift and areas around the LAPSSET corridor.
 
General Position Summary: The Product Innovation and Partnerships Manager is responsible for cultivating, managing and growing partnerships enabling sustainable business solutions to youth employment challenges. 

S/he will develop a pipeline of technology and private sector partners capable of develop game changing innovations, and facilitating relationships with complementary employers, governmental bodies, training institutes, or others. 

S/he will work with these partners to help identify potential product innovations and sustainable solutions, and to convene the right partners to make it a reality. 

S/he is an excellent dealmaker capable of aligning varying incentives and driving projects through a range of challenges.
 
Essential Job Functions:
 
Pipeline Development
  • Map out viable partners and opportunities in a range of economic sectors from construction to retail and agriculture;
  • Develop a pipeline of potential partnerships, including technology partners, employers, training institutes and more, through ongoing and well thought-out outreach;
  • Maintain strong connections with the regional start-up scene, maintaining responsiveness to opportunities.
Product Innovation
  • Work creatively with target partners to ideate and co-develop concepts and innovations for new products and services;
  • Facilitate ‘deals’ between partners to enhance product viability and scale opportunity;
  • Engage technical expertise where required to assist in product innovation, business modeling, or design.
Partner Engagement
  • Conduct Due Diligence, vet, and prepare documentation on longlisted and shortlisted partnerships;
  • Work with procurement and finance teams to ensure that suitable partnership engagement modalities are employed, be they MOUs, contracts, or other.
Partner Support and Relationship Management
  • Provide technical support to partners, including on market research, product development, and human-centered design;
  • Convene different actors and stakeholders for collaborations to enhance scale and sustainability;
  • As required, bring in external expertise to support partners;
  • Problem-solve and drive partnerships between multiple actors through challenges;
  • Take a collaborative and supportive approach when working with private sector partners.
M&E and Learning
  • Work with M&E staff to ensure effective data collection and learning from partners;
  • Participate in, and generate insights, for Thought Leadership events on innovation and business solutions to youth employment.
Other
  • Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission;
  • Other duties as assigned.
Organizational Learning: As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
 
Accountability to Beneficiaries: Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
 
Supervisory Responsibility: None

Accountability
 
Reports Directly To: Impact Labs Program Manager
 
Works Directly With: HR, Logistics, Operations, Impact Labs MEL Coordinator, Impact Labs partners.

Knowledge and Experience:
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in a combination of strategy and business consulting, impact investment, product design, or relevant areas;
  • BA/S or equivalent in business administration, information technology or related field of study. An MBA is an added advantage.
  • Demonstrated expertise in partnership development, facilitating deals, matchmaking and phenomenal emotional intelligence;
  • Experience in Management/Development consulting firms or business incubators/accelerators working with start-ups &  SMEs on business  modelling, strategy and/or product development is required;
  • Experience working in/with start-ups desired. Experience related to employment generation an added advantage;
  • Experience working with impact investment an added advantage;
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement strategy;
  • Exceptional writing skills, and ability to present complex concepts and/or analysis clearly;
  • Experience in, and passion for, youth employment a plus.
Success Factors: The successful Product Innovation and Partnerships Manager will have a phenomenal ability to engage with partners and facilitate relationships. 

S/he will demonstrate excellent emotional intelligence, diplomacy, and drive to push things forward. 

S/he will be a self-starter and a doer, capable of driving the programs with minimal supervision. 

S/he will have a creative mindset, with ability to generate new ideas, coupled with attention to detail. 

S/he will have strong social and collaborative skills, with an ability to maintain an extensive network of partners and professional connections.

How to Apply

Interested candidates who meet the above required qualifications and experience should submit a Cover Letter and detailed Curriculum Vitae (CV) listing three professional references (including a recent supervisor) to ke-hrkenya@mercycorps.org  on or before Friday 23rd June, 2017.

The email subject line must clearly show the job title and location they are applying for.

Applications without an appropriate subject heading will be automatically disqualified.
 
Please do not attach any certificates.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 
 
NB: We do not charge any fees at any stage of the recruitment process.




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