Title:  Innovation Programme Lead

​​Requisition ID: 2244 
Grade: ISA-Specialist 
Country: Austria 
Duty Station: Vienna 
Category: International Consultant 
Type of Job Posting: Internal and External
Employment Type: NonStaff-Regular

Contract Duration: 6 months
Application Deadline: 2-Jun-2023  


Vacancy Announcement
Female candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.



The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. The mission of UNIDO, as described in the Lima Declaration adopted at the fifteenth session of the UNIDO General Conference in 2013 as well as the Abu Dhabi Declaration adopted at the eighteenth session of UNIDO General Conference in 2019, is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States. The relevance of ISID as an integrated approach to all three pillars of sustainable development is recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will frame United Nations and country efforts towards sustainable development. UNIDO’s mandate is fully recognized in SDG-9, which calls to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. The relevance of ISID, however, applies in greater or lesser extent to all SDGs. Accordingly, the Organization’s programmatic focus is structured in four strategic priorities: Creating shared prosperity; Advancing economic competitiveness; Safeguarding the environment; and Strengthening knowledge and institutions.

Each of these programmatic fields of activity contains a number of individual programmes, which are implemented in a holistic manner to achieve effective outcomes and impacts through UNIDO’s four enabling functions: (i) technical cooperation; (ii) analytical and research functions and policy advisory services; (iii) normative functions and standards and quality-related activities; and (iv) convening and partnerships for knowledge transfer, networking and industrial cooperation. Such core functions are carried out in Departments/Offices in its Headquarters, Regional Offices and Hubs and Country Offices.


The position is located under the Innovation Lab (ODG/CSI/LAB). As part of the Office of the Director General, the Innovation Lab mobilises and supports UNIDO teams in the process of scouting, developing, testing and scaling up innovative service delivery solutions. It acts as a clearing house for an organisation-wide network of focal points on innovation in technical cooperation with the objective to enhance the effectiveness and impact of the organisation’s delivery of services.




We are seeking an experienced Innovation Programme Lead to join our growing team. An ideal candidate will have worked in start-up ecosystems for a minimum of 5 years and have proven experience working with innovation incubators and accelerators. As a member of a multidisciplinary team, the candidate will support clients in identifying and developing innovative products for social impact, devise strategies for growth, and build successful innovation ventures. S/he will have knowledge of innovation management systems and human-centric approaches to innovation. In addition, the ideal candidate will have an established track record in providing advice independently, including designing and implementing workshops that facilitate prototyping, testing, and evaluating new ideas, concepts, and business models. The Innovation Programme Lead will work closely with the Innovation Lab Manager to identify and analyse opportunities for innovation and drive the development of new innovation service offers. Her/His responsibilities include:


  • Develop and implement strategies to ensure the successful execution of the Lab’s flagship innovation programmes.
  • Identify, evaluate and select high-potential ideas that align with the programmes’ strategic objectives.
  • Create and lead workshops to facilitate ideation, prototyping, and validation of business concepts.
  • Utilise human-centred approaches, e.g. design thinking methodologies, to identify and validate key client needs and develop products/services that meet these needs.
  • Conduct market research and analysis to identify trends and opportunities for innovation and development of new ideas and business models.
  • Support the teams participating in the innovation programmes in their day-to-day operations, including overseeing project timelines, budgets, and resources.
  • Build and manage a network of industry experts, mentors, and investors to support the growth and success of the innovation programmes.
  • Work with the team to develop and implement effective marketing, communication and advocacy strategies to drive brand recognition, outreach and demand for Lab’s programmes and services.




Education: Advanced university degree in Business Administration, Innovation Management, Economics, or other relevant discipline is required.


Technical and Functional Experience:

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in start-up ecosystems, innovation consultancies, innovation incubators and/or accelerators is required.
  • Ability to research and analyse information independently and recommend solutions is required.
  • Strong knowledge of human-centred approaches to innovation, including design thinking methodologies and experience in running workshops is required.
  • Experience in building and scaling successful ventures from ideation to execution is required.
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills, with the ability to identify and evaluate new business models and opportunities are required.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to build relationships with industry experts, mentors, and investors are required.
  • Proven ability to develop and implement effective business strategies that drive social impact and/or revenue growth is required.
  • Ability to work independently, manage multiple projects, and meet tight deadlines is required.
  • Strong project management skills, with experience overseeing project timelines, budgets, and resources are required.


Languages: Fluency in written and spoken English is required. Fluency and/or working knowledge of another official UN language is desirable.




Core values:

WE LIVE AND ACT WITH INTEGRITY: work honestly, openly and impartially.

WE SHOW PROFESSIONALISM: work hard and competently in a committed and responsible manner.

WE RESPECT DIVERSITY: work together effectively, respectfully and inclusively, regardless of our differences in culture and perspective.


Key competencies:

WE FOCUS ON PEOPLE: cooperate to fully reach our potential –and this is true for our colleagues as well as our clients. Emotional intelligence and receptiveness are vital parts of our UNIDO identity.

WE FOCUS ON RESULTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: focus on planning, organizing and managing our work effectively and efficiently. We are responsible and accountable for achieving our results and meeting our performance standards. This accountability does not end with our colleagues and supervisors, but we also owe it to those we serve and who have trusted us to contribute to a better, safer and healthier world.

WE COMMUNICATE AND EARN TRUST: communicate effectively with one another and build an environment of trust where we can all excel in our work.

WE THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX AND INNOVATE: To stay relevant, we continuously improve, support innovation, share our knowledge and skills, and learn from one another.



This appointment is limited to the specified project(s) only and does not carry any expectation of renewal.
Employees of UNIDO are expected at all times to uphold the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity, both at work and outside.

Only persons who fully and unconditionally commit to these values should consider applying for jobs at UNIDO.

All applications must be submitted online through the Online Recruitment System. Correspondence will be undertaken only with candidates who are being considered at an advanced phase of the selection process. Selected candidate(s) may be required to disclose to the Director General the nature and scope of financial and other personal interests and assets in respect of themselves, their spouses and dependents, under the procedures established by the Director General.


Visit the UNIDO website for details on how to apply: www.unido.org

NOTE: The Director General retains the discretion to make an appointment to this post at a lower level.
Notice to applicants:
UNIDO does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. If you have received a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Vacant positions within UNIDO are advertised on the official UNIDO website. Should you have any questions concerning persons or companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of UNIDO and requesting payment of a fee, please contact: recruitment@unido.org