Innovations for Poverty Action is seeking a senior director to lead its Right-Fit Evidence (RFE) advisory unit, following the internal promotion of its founding Senior Director.
Job Position: Senior Director, Right-Fit Evidence Unit
About the Organization
Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor. In recent decades, trillions of dollars have been spent on programs designed to reduce global poverty, but clear evidence on which programs succeed is rare, and when evidence does exist, decision-makers often do not know about it.
IPA exists to bring together leading researchers and these decision-makers to ensure that the evidence we create leads to tangible impact on the world. Since its founding in 2002, IPA has worked with over 600 leading academics to conduct over 900 evaluations in 52 countries. This research has informed hundreds of successful programs that now impact millions of individuals worldwide.
About IPA’s Right-Fit Evidence Unit
Complementing the well-known work of IPA in the production and use of impact evaluations, IPA’s Right-Fit Evidence unit is a data and evidence advisory team working with funders, implementers, and government agencies in the international development sector. The RFE unit helps our clients and partners develop strategies and approaches to optimize their learning from data and evidence at large.
For funders, this may mean setting learning agendas or lean reporting requirements that allow them to build evidence across their portfolios without overburdening their grantees or discouraging experimentation and iteration. For implementing organizations, this may mean collaboratively developing concrete learning goals, identifying gaps within their current MEL systems, and providing technical support to teams to strengthen internal MEL capabilities.
Since its inception in 2017, the RFE Unit has grown to a team of 30 members worldwide and has worked on 50+ advisory engagements. The team is expected to continue to grow its advisory work, but also to expand its influence on the sector by furthering its contribution to the best practices and debates around M&E, learning, and evidence in general, using the lessons learned over the last five years.
About the role:
You will lead a team of 30+ members, and directly oversee 4 directors and associate directors. The role is primarily a leadership and management role. It will involve strategic leadership, oversight of the development and delivery of advisory engagements, as well as being a champion for RFE’s external communication, internal collaboration, and team strengthening.
The position can be based in New York, NY, Washington, DC or any existing IPA Country Office in Africa or Latin America (remote is also possible for the right candidate in a a number of other US states as well as at least France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and the UK).
Lead the development, implementation, and adaptation of the strategy of the RFE Unit
- Coordinate regular strategic planning, and provide oversight and accountability for the implementation of the strategy
- Keep abreast of external trends affecting the work of the unit and lead the adaptation of the strategy and priorities of the unit accordingly
Oversee the development and delivery of high-impact advisory engagements
- Oversee and directly contribute to the business development for various RFE engagements (e.g. donor advisory, learning agenda development, MEL system diagnostics, donor advisory, community of practice facilitation, process evaluations, MEL technical assistance to implementers, etc.), including developing and managing relationships with potential clients/funders, contributing to the engagement design, and reviewing technical and financial proposals
- Support teams of RFE consultants in their delivery of those engagements. For most engagements, at the delivery stage the senior director will primarily act as a coach to the director or associate director leading the engagement. That involvement may be more intense for particularly complex and/or strategic engagements.
- Drive continuous improvement of RFE’s service offering towards high-impact advisory services
Drive IPA’s Right-Fit Evidence visibility and sector influence
- Represent the RFE unit – and more broadly IPA – in various fora, with a wide range of stakeholders, and in particular with global funders
- Lead external communication about the work of the unit, and sector-wide influence activities more broadly
- Oversee and take part in the production of Right-Fit Evidence public resources
- Steward a set of critical funder relationships for IPA as a whole
Champion RFE’s collaboration with other IPA teams
- Facilitate RFE’s collaboration with country offices a well as IPA’s policy and sector teams in the development and delivery of cross-cutting engagements, and work towards an integration of principles and approaches developed by RFE in IPA’s work as a whole
- Provide inputs to IPA’s global strategic directions beyond the RFE Unit
Lead RFE team strengthening and operations
- Coordinate and guide RFE’s management team to build an inclusive and impact-oriented culture, and sound processes supporting it
- In collaboration with IPA’s HR team, drive talent acquisition, talent development and employee experience for the RFE Unit
- Manage the finances of the unit