Innovation Advisor

Job Type

Full Time




New York
New York
United States



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, multi-disciplinary problem-solving, and an innovation portfolio management function in the humanitarian context. 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.

Job Overview:

How do you drastically reduce the time and cost it takes to get cash to families in a war zone? How do you create employment opportunities for refugees living in fragile economies? 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.

The Innovation Advisor will contribute to the strategic and analytic development of current and new R&D investments, and will support the ongoing management of projects throughout the design and scaling lifecycle.  Applying your experience with analysis, strategy development, project planning, and research methodologies, you will play a critical role in ensuring the quality and viability of R&D project investments. 

The Innovation Advisor will be critical in contributing to the strategic and operational direction of the IRC’s R&D lab. This role will be a high-visibility position, and will have the unique opportunity to engage leading humanitarian sector innovators, social entrepreneurs, and private sector leaders, and innovation thought leaders in the world.

Major Responsibilities:

a.       Contributing to the design, development and implementation of current projects in the portfolio as well as new projects for the Airbel pipeline, including:

   i.      Supporting the implementation of the employment hub in Jordan to ensure operational excellence and begin crafting out scaling strategies;

   i.      Supporting the development of projects that relate to new financial instruments for the humanitarian sector;

  iii.      Executing and synthesizing key pieces of analysis: issue framing, targeted research reviews, cost analyses, solution product/service design, and R&D project planning

  iv.      Facilitating the prioritization and selection of leading concepts through a rigorous evaluation process

b.      Support Airbel’s departmental growth and strategy, including:

   i.     Supporting the launch and coordination of an advisory network;

   ii.    Supporting the design and implementation of stage gates for the broad portfolio of projects; and

   iii.      Over time, helping R&D recruit and launch design and evaluation teams.

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to:  Director of Innovation Strategy

Position directly supervises:  N/A

Indirect Reporting: N/A

Other Internal and/or external contacts:


·         Chief Innovation Officer

·         Senior Director, Research, Learning and Evaluation

·         Technical Unit Directors and Team Members

·         Country and Regional Directors

·         R&D and Strategy Project Managers

Job Requirements:

Minimum Requirements  

  • Bachelor’s degrees with 2-5 years of experience
  • A track record of designing and launching successful products and/or services (preferably in development/humanitarian contexts)
  • Strong cross-functional, generalist skillset to engage with internal and external participants
  • Superior problem-solving and synthesis skills, strong presentation skills and ability to communicate with senior leaders
  • Strong analytical skills with confidence distilling data into actionable insights
  • Comfortable facilitating project planning, generating critical insights and delivering effective communication  
  • Comfortable managing a project team and/or external resources (e.g. consultants)
  • Ability to work well in a distributed, multi-cultural fast paced environment

Preferred Requirements

  • Experience in a strategy role at either a top tier strategy consulting firm or in the strategy development function of a global organization
  • Previous work in either humanitarian or development contexts
  • Familiarity with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies applied in medicine and social science
  • Experience/familiarity with NGO setting
  • Ability to travel 25% of the time

Working Environment:  

  • Standard work office environment

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply