Design Lead, Clean Cooking Alliance

  • Washington, DC
  • Full Time
  • Employment Opportunity
  • Experienced

Position Overview

The Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) works with a global network of partners to build an inclusive industry that makes clean cooking accessible to the three billion people who live each day without it. Established in 2010, the CCA is driving consumer demand, mobilizing investment to build a pipeline of scalable businesses, and fostering an enabling environment that allows the sector to thrive. Clean cooking transforms lives by improving health, protecting the climate and environment, empowering women, and helping consumers save time and money. In alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, CCA is working to achieve universal access to clean cooking by 2030.

CCA seeks to make high-impact clean cooking solutions desirable, affordable, and accessible for consumers and viable for businesses to provide sustainably at scale. It supports companies that design, manufacture, distribute, and retail biomass, ethanol, biogas, and LPG-based clean cooking solutions in addition to more efficient wood and charcoal cookstoves. It also supports technology innovation with the aim to commercialize new technologies such as highly energy-efficient electric cookers for off-grid/mini-grid communities.

The Market Strengthening team’s  mission is to foster the development of  a pipeline of sustainable, scalable, and investable clean cooking businesses that are able to attract capital to scale and replicate, accelerating the transition to cleaner cooking technologies that meet consumers’ needs. The three areas of interventions of the Market Strengthening team include the Venture Catalyst, the Market Catalyst, and the Demand Catalyst. The Venture Catalyst focuses on improving the pipeline of investment-ready businesses through business-level interventions; the Market Catalyst focuses on improving the enabling environment that helps such businesses succeed through market-level interventions; and the Demand Catalyst focuses on understanding consumers and driving demand through interventions targeted at consumers. Gender is a core and cross-cutting theme of the three Catalysts.

The Design Lead will join the Market Strengthening team to contribute  to the research, design, prototyping, piloting and improvements of technical interventions, analytic tools, knowledge products, services, processes experiences and partnerships that target clean cooking ecosystem actors including businesses, funders, market intermediaries, governments and consumers, to address gaps that hinder the growth of  a strong and sustainable clean cooking market. The Design Lead will have three roles:

  1. Leading and supporting the design and implementation of innovative and user-centered CCA initiatives, around enterprises, consumers, civil-society groups, and policymakers. Initiatives include, for example, the User Insights Lab, which aims to harvest and disseminate actionable insights on the needs and behaviors of customers of clean cooking solutions through design research, data analytics and collaborative user-centered innovation projects. Another example includes the development of support mechanisms to accelerate the diffusion of clean cooking among street vendors in Haiti.
  2. Supporting innovation and user-centered design capabilities and practices as well as collaboration among CCA stakeholders. This includes, for example, supporting businesses in CCA’s Venture Catalyst portfolio. Another example includes working with multiple stakeholders to co-create collaborative country-level clean cooking ecosystem interventions.
  3. Leading the development of strategies, processes, and capabilities for managing innovation within CCA, though, for example, the development of frameworks, tools, and methodologies, and by providing guidance and coaching to the team. This includes, for example, the facilitation of design processes to develop new strategies or initiatives within the team.

The Design Lead will also work closely with the Strategy and Development team, the Evidence and Impact team as well as the Chief of Staff on strategic cross-cutting CCA initiatives relevant to the work of the Market Strengthening team.

This role is US or UK based with a preference for Washington, DC and London.

Essential Functions

  • Identification, scoping, and design of opportunities for new initiatives for the Market Strengthening team and for cross-cutting CCA areas
  • Leadership or support in the piloting and implementation of Market Strengthening team initiatives
  • Design and facilitation of workshops with key stakeholders for the purpose of multi-stakeholder coordination, multi-stakeholder problem-solving, and co-creation
  • Development of prototypes for new Market Strengthening interventions, services, tools, and processes
  • Development of design and innovation processes and capabilities within the Market Strengthening team
  • Contributions to the development of Market Strengthening program processes, and the touchpoints and experience of stakeholders around those processes (stakeholders include Venture Catalyst companies, policymakers, and others)
  • Development and implementation of agile learning approaches around new or existing initiatives.
  • Facilitation of design initiatives across CCA and partner teams to embed design principles in projects and initiative development
  • Sourcing and building of a network of talented collaborators and partners outside of CCA who can support the development of new Market Strengthening initiatives and the implementation of design-related initiatives.
  • Assessment of the capabilities of companies and other clean cooking ecosystem organizations around user insight generation, design, and innovation management.
  • Technical assistance to companies on market development, product development, and commercialization processes
  • Design and implementation of networking and resource sharing programs for stakeholders, such as Venture Catalyst companies
  • Other duties as assigned.

Selection Criteria

  • Graduate degree and at least 10 years of related professional experience required
  • Design research, including applied behavioral science
  • Facilitation of multi-stakeholder collaboration and co-creation processes
  • Prototyping, experimentation, and piloting products, services, and processes
  • Interest in and ability to lead some activity streams and support others where needed.
  • Ability to cultivate effective working relationships with people, internally and externally, from a wide variety of types of organizations, cultural backgrounds, and areas of expertise.
  • Management of innovation processes
  • Management  of project teams and facilitation of design projects, including through remote collaboration tools
  • Experience in low and middle-income countries, that conveys credibility amongst stakeholders including senior management teams of companies, investors, government officials, and other ecosystem professionals, particularly among those working towards social and environmental impact
  • Demonstrated interest in the social and environmental impact dimensions of the products and business models that CCA supports, and the ability to liaise and collaborate with other colleagues within CCA and those in the sector at large. Energetic and positive attitude
  • Solutions-oriented and able to manage and advance multiple tasks and responsibilities in a dynamic, fast-paced environment
  • Strategic thinking
  • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills
  • Problem-solver with a proactive, no-task-is-too-small nature who takes initiative
  • Team-oriented, supportive work style, and able to work independently
  • Excellent communicator, able to synthesize and convey complex information clearly in written an oral forms, in particular development of visual assets to present design findings
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress
  • High ethical standards and the ability to maintain confidentiality and discretion with sensitive information
  • Ability to learn new systems and collaboration platforms efficiently
  • Proficiency in Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint), with particular emphasis on the ability to create compelling and professional PowerPoint materials
  • Experience with the commercialization of products or services preferred
  • Experience using data to drive design research and design solutions preferred
  • Thought leadership on design and innovation management with regards to social issues preferred
  • Experience working on consumer financing, payment systems, microbusinesses, public health, policy development, energy access, clean cooking fuels, and cookstoves in low and middle-income countries preferred
  • Working within an entrepreneurial setting either within an early-stage business or in support of early-stage businesses preferred
  • Experience with marketing preferred
  • Ability to work in French preferred
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle stress.
  • Ability to meet regular attendance/tardiness policy

Benefits & Compensation 

For full-time, benefit eligible employees, UNF offers an excellent range of benefits, including:

  • a choice between two health plans through UnitedHealthcare (PPO or HDHP with HSA)
  • dental insurance
  • vision insurance
  • flexible spending accounts
  • 403b retirement savings plan with a generous matching contribution
  • group term and supplemental life insurance
  • short-term disability
  • long-term disability
  • health club discounts
  • commuter subsidy
  • back-up care
  • employee assistance program

Additionally, all benefit eligible employees have 12 paid holidays, 20 vacation days, 10 sick days, 3 personal days, and 8 weeks of family leave care.

The United Nations Foundation is proud to be an equal opportunity and affirmative-action employer. The United Nations Foundation provides equal employment opportunity to all employees and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

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