The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.
As a global humanitarian organization, the IRC has unique capabilities, and is particularly known for rigorous research and evidence-based programs. The IRC’s strategy over the next 5 years builds on these capabilities, and its mission is to extend IRC’s thought and operational leadership in the sector.
A key initiative that supports this strategy is the IRC Research & Development (R&D) lab, aimed at investing in the design, development, and scaling of new humanitarian interventions and delivery models. The lab seeks to apply best practices from human-centered design, rapid iteration and cross-functional problem-solving. Combining these capabilities in IRC’s extensive field presence, supported deep sector expertise from our research capability, we believe it is possible to design and scale breakthrough humanitarian programs that could impact millions of people most affected by conflict and disasters.
How do you drastically reduce the time and cost it takes to get cash to families in a war zone? How do you vaccinate the 22 million children who live in the most remote, crisis-affected areas on Earth? How do you reduce violence against women and children in a scalable, culturally appropriate way? – These and other high priority areas is where the R&D lab wants to innovate and we want you to help us develop projects to address these critical questions.
Based in IRC Headquarters in New York City, the Design Innovation Lead, will drive conception, ideation and design of new solutions, as well as development of projects taking place in the field. This role will be critical in driving high-impact design thinking throughout the IRC, and will have the opportunity to work alongside leading humanitarian sector innovators, social entrepreneurs, and thought leaders in the world. You will have extensive opportunity to travel to the Middle East, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa to work on the most challenging and meaningful issues the world faces today.
Create compelling visions for new solutions:
- Work collaboratively in a core team of 5-8 people based in New York, driving design, ideation, and rapid prototyping processes as we build a portfolio of R&D projects
- Drive the development of visionary humanitarian solutions, leveraging a wide range of conceptual, strategic, and technological trends in various ideation processes
- Ensure that IRC client, staff, and community voices are compellingly represented in the design of new solutions
Promote design-thinking at the IRC:
- Be the in-house expert on human-centered design, which will be widely deployed across R&D projects and core program re-design initiatives within the IRC
- Promote, teach, and explain human-centered design concepts and techniques to IRC program staff
Contribute to individual pilot projects:
- Structure and develop design processes across the portfolio of R&D projects
- Be the authority in structuring meaningful and rigorous design techniques in R&D project plans
- Interact with IRC’s field staff to develop solutions that contribute to portfolio of R&D projects.
- Identify and cultivate relationships with strategic partners who can provide design expertise on projects
- Advise IRC leadership on the quality of design processes employed
- Potential to manage direct reports as the team grows
- Bachelor’s degree with 6-8 years of professional or equivalent academic experience.
- Experience deploying human-centered design techniques in a wide range of product and service design projects
- Confidence in rapid prototyping new services and products (low and high fidelity) and iterating them in response to successive rounds of feedback
- A track record of successful products/services launched (preferably in development/humanitarian contexts)
- Deep understanding of at least one design discipline (e.g. product design, UX, behavioral science)
- Strong synthesis skills and confidence distilling complex data into actionable insights
- Strong ability to lead/moderate design workshops
- Excellent interpersonal skills, able to communicate with colleagues on all levels in a distributed, multicultural professional environment
- Able to train others to use human-centered design disciplines, and manage others conducting design processes
- Fluency in French and/or Arabic
- Work in humanitarian setting or development contexts
- An online portfolio demonstrating conceptual thinking and creative problem solving
- Experience/familiarity with NGO setting
- Standard office work environment
- Potential to travel to IRC program locations up to 25% of the time