Consultancy: Communication Lead, Office of Innovation

UN Children's Fund, New York, United States

Skill Required:, Media and Communication
Preferred Experience: 
3 to 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
30th June, 2018

Job Description

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.

Our team

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.”

How can you make a difference?

We are seeking an experienced communications professional who wants to work with a dynamic team in a global context and sell a story about global change. Some of your duties will include:

  • External: Help raise the profile of UNICEF as an innovative organization by highlighting new approaches to solving big problems. This could mean writing and placing an op-ed on the intersection of tech and development, working with our events team to produce consistent messaging over major global events, or highlighting our major partnerships through joint media and speaking opportunities.
  • Internal for UNICEF: Support internal communication about new technologies and projects to help various parts of our complex international organization become comfortable with new products, solutions and platforms; their applications and opportunities for children; and how we can scale them in UNICEF’s operations around the world. This could include planning internal communications strategies, staff trainings, and working with a small communications team to do social media and internal production.
  • Office of Innovation Team: Ensure that the Office of Innovation, which is spread across five continents, has the appropriate key messages and resources. Help them distill complex ideas and approaches into easy-to-understand solutions for internal and external audiences. Make sure their work fits within the larger UNICEF narrative and approach.
  • Dedicated support to Innovation priority projects: Urbanization, Data Science, Innovation Fund, U-Report

You will work with a supporting Digital and Social Media Strategist, and will work closely with the events and partnerships leads, as well as the design team. You will also maintain relationships with key units across UNICEF, including the Division of Communications, Partnerships and Programme Divisions, and UNICEF National Committees.

The candidate must be a strategic thinker -- understanding the range of communications tools and channels available to the Office of Innovation, and how best to reach key audiences. In addition, the role requires someone with strong awareness of leading outlets (traditional and digital media); the ability to work with a range of media partners; and working knowledge of both UNICEF and the technology sector’s communications environments.

Ideally, the candidate should also have a good knowledge of the Office of Innovation’s key messages and portfolio focus areas -- Urbanization, mobile tech in developing countries, open source, data science, blockchain, AI, VR, Drones, satellites and imagery mapping, wearable technology, humanitarian and emergency response, and design thinking -- to name a few.


  • Overall leadership on communications strategy and delivery, including

key objectives:

  • Tell clear unified story of how innovation supports UNICEF’s goals, and serves as a core strategy for reaching the world’s most marginalized children and improving their lives
  • Increase awareness and understanding of how UNICEF innovates for children – to strengthen support (including partnerships) for UNICEF’s innovation work and impact

And key results:

  • Delivering clear, comprehensive messages to/through tech media -- that UNICEF is a global leader in using technology to deliver results for children
  • Improve UNICEF’s standing as a go-to partner in high-growth, high-impact areas of the technology industry
  • Unified communications activities (linked to global UNICEF campaigns) that reach the individuals and groups whose support is essential to telling the innovation story
  • Improved internal narrative and understanding of how UNICEF’s innovations support achieving results
  • Strategic advice to senior management on communications opportunities and key messages
  • Create opportunities for Innovation stories and projects to feature in campaigns, events and channels managed by priority partners (internal to UNICEF and external)
  • Develop initiative- and event-specific communications strategies for priority projects


  • Oversee communications team, and collaborative project / campaign management with partnerships, events and design leads
  • Develop and distribute weekly planner of key communications moments and upcoming opportunities -- to share with senior management and ensure coordination
  • Present (to senior management and team leads) communications plan for the coming year
  • Manage relationships with UNICEF communications focal points and external partners
  • Media relationships for Office of Innovation, and coordinate media engagement for Innovation senior management


  • Urbanization -- top-tier media and event engagement around the launch of major research; follow-up support to new partnerships; and ongoing media and stakeholder engagement
  • Innovation Fund -- highlighting Innovation Fund start-up companies through traditional and new media; promoting opportunities for engagement (donors and recipients); and working with UNICEF Country Offices to broaden range of projects and involvement
  • Data Science -- tell the story of how UNICEF Innovation is working with data -- and a growing range of partners -- to better inform decision-making. Highlight the important role of partners and opportunities for engagement.
  • U-Report -- support to campaign and ongoing efforts to grow user base, expand UNICEF internal and partner buy-in, and amplify content on digital and social channels.          


  • Oversee updates and brand consistency of global platforms including UNICEFStories,,  the UNICEF Intranet, quarterly updates to Executive Director, annual office reports
  • Create and manage overarching narrative and story for Office of Innovation and UNICEF’s innovation work --  clear, accessible to key internal and external audiences
  • Provide overall communications support, expertise, and advice to people, and projects across the Office of Innovation
  • Work closely with the Digital and Social Media Strategist -- as well as UNICEF’s Division of Communications and UNICEF National Committees -- to manage and maximize activity on UNICEF Innovation social media channels
  • Develop assets to support implementation of Communications plans, in close collaboration with Office of Innovation’s team leads
  • Manage tools for effective communication (including media monitoring, social and digital analytics, visual design templates etc.) to ensure work is presentable and engaging
  • Compile communications resources for Office of Innovation team, including bios, subject areas and key messaging for events and media, and other helpful information.

To quality as an advocate for every child, you will have.

  • Advanced university degree (Master's of higher) in relevant field (Communication, Journalism, Public Relations or related areas); or equivalent practical experience
  • At least 8 years of progressively responsible experience and a track record of working with print and broadcast media, interactive digital media, internal communications, and/or stakeholder engagement (two of which should be at management level)
  • Experience working within the development sector, ideally at UNICEF or the UN, and a background/education in international relations
  • Solid understanding of the role technology plays in the development and humanitarian sectors, as well as the UN system
  • Ability to see the big picture and connect multiple story threads into one greater narrative
  • Strong leadership skills, capacity to prioritize and manage a diverse range of partners, projects and activities
  • Great interpersonal skills and the ability to unite fragmented, and occasionally opposing, teams and ideas
  • Project management skills including task prioritization, budget monitoring, and results-driven strategies
  • Strong experience working with reporters (traditional and new media) and a range of publications -- especially in the tech and development sectors
  • Good management skills and the ability to deliver against multiple priorities and deadlines
  • Knowledge of UNICEF Office of Innovation’s key messaging and focus areas (including urbanization, data science, working with start-ups and a range of other partners, mobile tech and real-time information, and others) a plus
  • Ability to work with a diverse team in a rapidly-changing work environment and adapt to unforeseen changes
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience working in the social impact space
  • Ability to quickly create reports/presentations in standard office software (Microsoft Office suite, Google docs, Keynote, etc)
  • Fluency in English. Competence in another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) an asset.

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/her own health insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel
  • Consultants are responsible for assuming costs for obtaining visas and travel insurance


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