Innovation Specialist (Open Source), UNICEF Office of Innovation, Stockholm, Sweden (closes 13 May 2022)

Hi all, I am sharing staff position that opened in UNICEF recently. The application deadline is 13 May 2022. The position will be based in Stockholm, Sweden. Visa sponsorship is possible. This is the beginning of an effort of constructing an Open Source Program Office at UNICEF. A university degree plus 5-7 years of experience are required for the post. Full details are below.


The UNICEF Office of Innovation (OOI) is looking for an Open-Source Lead to support implementation of UNICEF Ventures’ engagement in the Digital Public Goods Alliance.

UNICEF’s Ventures’ and its Venture Fund’s investment thesis is fundamentally tied to and based on open-source principles. The Ventures team has supported UNICEF to develop practice in the open-source space, culminating in the co-leadership of the Digital Public Goods Alliance. At this stage of the team’s practice, UNICEF Ventures is looking for an experienced specialist that can guide team-wide open-source practices through development of standards and at a practical level, explore the development of organization-wide hub for open-source expertise, engage across the UN system, and lead technical collaborations with key stakeholders from the open-source community.

Overall, this position is responsible for:

Review practices develop standards and oversee execution of open standards for Ventures-led and -supported open source solutions.

  • Develop and oversee execution of relevant technical standards to guide development, piloting and acceleration of frontier tech solutions and DPGs, developed and supported by the Ventures team.
  • Provide direct development support and oversight to products led by various tech area-specific leads (blockchain, UAVs, AI) and support oversight of relevant technical consultants, vendors, and other resources.
  • Advise on internal projects and prototypes related to promoting DPGs and open-source community engagement.

Provide and coordinate technical support to nominated and vetted DPGs in line with UNICEF’s priorities, including to Venture Fund portfolio companies and CO-led projects, and related development of tools.

  • Complementing the efforts by other team members, provide ongoing support to individual early stage and growth projects and pilots to ensure alignment with best practices, relevant standards.
  • Identify common technical support needs and establish systems for the delivery
  • Leading a technical review at key moments of Venture Fund portfolio projects’ investment journey to identify and address gaps in the quality of open-source best practices.
  • Providing guidance to UNICEF-led innovation projects on the DPG vetting process and meeting the DPG standard.
  • Coordinate any technical consultants and resources.

Explore the establishment of an office source project office hosted within UNICEF Ventures.

  • Assess team- and organizational needs and develop the concept note for a way forward, including in consultation with other relevant teams in OOI and across UNICEF.
  • Map out OSPO-related efforts in other, similar organizations and gather lessons learned.
  • If considered an appropriate approach, develop project plan, budget, and execute establishment and initial priority activities.

Build and manage technical collaborations and partnerships for DPG development, deployment, and adaptation

  • Identify and lead engagement with potential technical collaborators and networks that can provide technical support and other resources to DPGs, with a focus on those aligned with UNICEF’s mission.
  • Support the DPGA Secretariat in engagements with current and prospective members on application of technical standards and practices, development of partnership priorities and collaboration opportunities.

Represent UNICEF in relevant technical fora and working groups including the DPG Standard Working Group, relevant Communities of Practice.

  • Represent UNICEF in relevant DPGA-led technical working groups and communities of practice, with a focus on technical standards and practices, to support application of consistent approaches.
  • Lead UN-wide engagement on open source, including efforts to assess current practice, develop system-wide approaches and tools.
  • In collaboration with the DPGA Secretariat and other members of the UNICEF Ventures team identify and pursue opportunities to promote DPG-related standards and approaches with corporate and other stakeholders.



To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Education: An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in engineering, technology, computer science, or another relevant field.
    • A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.
  • Experience: A minimum of five years of relevant professional experience in open-source project or community management, development, or strategy development. 7 years in lieu of an advanced degree.

Skills and expertise:

  • Demonstrated expertise in required technical areas, including software quality assurance, Open-Source license strategies (copyleft vs. permissive), documentation and community management, developing and piloting Open-Source technology products.
  • Experience in delivering guidance, technical support and mentorship to individuals, teams, start-ups, or other groups on complex challenges.
  • Experience with professional software engineering practices and best practices for the full software development life cycle and exposure to a variety of languages, frameworks, and toolchains.
  • Experience engaging with stakeholders from different backgrounds and coordinating multi stakeholder activities, including for the purposes of development and promotion of technical standards and collaborations.
  • In-depth knowledge of the open-source software and open data eco-systems
  • Demonstrated strategy development and project management skills, including coordination of resources and consultants.
  • Must be able to write and review code as an individual contributor and provide track record of own open-source development
  • Piloting and scaling of technology solutions in UNICEF programme countries desired; developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Familiarity with international development.


About UNICEF Office of Innovation

UNICEF has a history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships, and technologies are critical for achieve improved outcomes for children. The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF that sits at the unique intersection of working on material global issues, startup thinking, technology and partnerships that can scale solutions. We look to form partnerships around frontier technologies (including AI, drones, and UAVs, blockchain, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, and 3D-printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion markets and 1 billion person needs.

The Office of Innovation currently co-hosts the Secretariat for the Digital Public Goods Alliance, established in follow-up to the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation. In its report, the Panel recommends as 1B “that a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, engaging talent and pooling data sets, in a manner that respects privacy, in areas related to attaining the SDGs”. Norway, Sierra Leone, UNICEF and iSPIRT, the four initial champions are working to implement this recommendation.

The Office of Innovation’s Venture Fund is a pooled funding vehicle specially designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that can benefit children. The core motivation of the Innovation Fund is to identify clusters or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology – so that UNICEF can both shape markets and learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children. We invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children.


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