Innovation Manager (Education)

Innovation Manager (Education)

Full time | Permanent | UK or Rwanda preferred | £35,000 to £45,000 per annum

Deadline: 9am GMT +1, 4th September 2023

How could a global NGO test ideas they have on how to ensure education for out of school children? How can Lean Impact be used by a grassroots organisation  in Africa to improve the implementation of their EdTech product? How can we complement ‘traditional’ research methodologies like RCTs with new approaches from the world of design, innovation, and startup?

These are just some of the questions we’re exploring in our work. To tackle them, we are on the lookout for talented and driven Innovation Managers to join us.

At Brink we create a vision of the future world we’d like to see, then use a blend of innovation methods to design and run experiments in the real world, gathering evidence of what works to validate or disprove our thinking.

We want to build a diverse team, with people from a range of backgrounds. You might be a researcher at an academic institution, interested in bridging the gap between theory and practice. Or, you might deploy user research, design thinking or service design approaches in an innovation lab. You might work for a startup or grassroots organisation, eager to bring an understanding of ‘impact’ and metrics to a broader portfolio of work. Or, you might work for a philanthropy, investor or funding institution and want to move closer to the chalkface, supporting promising ideas to generate and apply evidence directly.

Or, you might have a background we haven’t considered. Either way, we want to hear from you.

The role

Here’s an overview of what’s expected:

Brink is a Founding Member of the EdTech Hub, a global research partnership. Together with partners, we’re creating a movement for evidence-based decision making in edtech, so decision makers tackling the global learning crisis can harness technology more effectively. You’ll be responsible for:

  • Working with academic and development partners to set up and run sandboxes as part of the EdTech Hub’s portfolio of work across our focus countries Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, Bangladesh and Pakistan
  • Directly supporting teams on the ground (from entrepreneurs, NGOs, universities to government partners) to design research and conduct analysis to support implementation of EdTech
  • Advocating for the EdTech Hub’s use of innovation tools and methods to generate evidence and implement iteratively, drawing on a range of methods and principles

Ideal candidates will be able to demonstrate:

1. Researcher with entrepreneurial spirit

  • Confident designing research and conducting analysis, drawing on a range of methods like lean startup, user-centred design, qualitative and quantitative research
  • Scientific but human, mixing an understanding of how people “tick” with a desire to test ideas thoroughly and with rigour
  • An understanding that innovation is about managing uncertainty and risk. As such you are able to hold teams to account, while always being on their side and encouraging them to take steps into the unknown to learn more
  • Able to act strategically, on behalf of teams, making connections and joining useful dots for them. You retain this strategic mindset even when faced with numerous and constantly shifting priorities

2. Communication and influence

  • Natural facilitator, with the confidence to help teams tease apart their facts, opinions and guesses. Enjoys enabling innovation in others
  • An effective communicator, able to relay messages clearly and influence across different organisational and geographical contexts and virtually over audio and video

3. Global outlook and experience

  • Enjoys problem-solving with others in different contexts, from global governments to grassroots innovators in developing countries
  • Curious about the latest trends in technology and innovation, and how these may impact emerging markets
  • Culturally sensitive, able to understand and empathise with international contexts and explore how values and beliefs play a role in innovation

4. Interpersonal skills (being a ‘Brinkster’)

  • Growth mindset: keen and eager to experiment and learn, comfortable with not knowing all the answers yet and happy to let stuff go when it doesn’t quite hit the mark
  • Is ‘interoperable’: quickly establishes rapport with all kinds of people
  • Enjoys ‘making others shine': Brink is a low-ego zone that thrives on making our colleagues, clients and collaborators shine
  • Self-starter: proactive, can 'get on with it', has a sense of agency and a point of view

In addition to the above, we would be excited to see:

  • Experience of working with governments in low and middle income countries, particularly in government as a scaling pathway for new ideas, or how to support governments to apply evidence in decision making
  • Evidence of ‘thinking out loud’. This could be an active social media presence, a personal blog or newsletter, or presence at events and conferences. We are particularly excited to see someone with a desire to grow into a thought leader in the world of global education, technology, and evidence.
  • Experience of different approaches to designing funds, including an understanding of different financial instruments and grant structures.

In addition to your annual salary you’ll have access to extra things to support you to be your best self, in and out of the office.

🐙 A role that isn’t available for anyone else and shaped around you and your interests
🏖 ‘Take what you need’ annual leave
🧠 Dedicated coaching and therapy for your mental health and wellbeing from platform partner Oliva
🐣 16 weeks full pay parental leave
🎒 Brink retreats and away days
📚 Kindle with unlimited books
🎓 Generous training budget
🏡 Workspace expense budget for working from home
🚴‍♀️ Access to a cycle to work scheme (if in UK)

How we work:

  • A team of around 30 (and growing) people that genuinely enjoy spending time together, online and in person where possible
  • Remote-first approach
  • If based in the UK, you can work outside of the UK for a maximum of 100 days within the tax year. If based elsewhere, local tax laws regarding working abroad apply.
  • Flexible working hours; you take ownership over how you get your work done
  • Dedicated learning time at our ‘Dojo Days’
  • Certain set days over the year where we require the team to be together in real life. This is usually for around one week in mid January and for another week in mid July. Depending on your location it may also include travel and overnight stays.

How to apply

If you’re interested in joining us, please click on our beautiful ‘apply here’ button. This will take you to an online application form where we will ask you to upload your CV as well as a response to the following questions:

  1. Please write us a one page letter that includes...
    • Your story and why you believe this is the right role for you.
    • A case study or piece of work you’re proud of - include links out to websites, videos or other places where we can see your work. Ideally this work will be ‘live’ and out in the world.
    • A recommendation for a book, article, podcast or something else that’s shaped your thinking lately.
  2. Please answer the question below with a 2 minute video, 500 words, voice recording or any other format which you would prefer - we’re open to the weird and wonderful
    • If you had to choose one of Lean Impact or Design Thinking to address complex (i.e. Social or climate) problems, which method would you choose, and why?
      You are encouraged to be as creative as you are comfortable with and choose any structure or layout to present your information, as long as you keep it under 50mb.

Please note that once you are in the online application form, there is no option to save and return. So please feel free to pop in just to have a look and come back later when you're ready.

📅 The deadline for this application is 9am GMT +1, 4th September 2023. You will receive an email from the system to confirm your application has been received and we will be in touch (we aim for within 2 weeks) to let you know if we’ll be taking it further.

💻 We’ll be hosting a Virtual Hiring Open Day on Tuesday 29th August at 1pm BST (GMT+1). This is your chance to hear more about Brink and what it's like to work here. The session will also include space to join individual breakout rooms to learn more about the specific role you are interested in applying for, where you'll have the chance to ask any questions you have. Sign up now.

You can find the timeline below:

  • Application Launch: 4th August 2024
  • Closing date: 9am GMT +1, 4th September 2023
  • Candidate coffees: w/c 4th September 2023
  • First stage interviews: w/c 11th September 2023
  • Second stage interview: w/c 25th September 2023
  • Final offer by: 11th October 2023
  • Start date: ASAP

🔗 Our commitment as Brink

Diversity is in our DNA at Brink and we’re proud of the broad range of Brinksters we have on board. We also know there is always room for improvement which is why we track diversity in all its guises to see how we’re doing, and make efforts to cast our hiring net as wide as possible. Our latest survey shows we could do better in some areas, so we’re particularly encouraging applications from people of the Global Ethnic Majority, people over 50, parents, neurodiverse people and/or those living with a disability.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability or age. We are happy to discuss any reasonable adjustments individuals may require in the recruitment process, on commencement, or once in post.

❓❗ Questions that people often ask us

How many years of experience do I have to have?

We don’t like to score people based on the “number of years” or higher education qualifications they have to show. We do think this role needs someone whose career is underway though, and we certainly need to see evidence of the key skills we’ve mentioned, as well as ability to work directly with clients.

Where is this role based?

Brink is a remote team and we work all over the place from London, Nairobi, Cape Town, Kigali and Amsterdam. For this role our preference is for UK or Rwanda based applicants, however we will consider (on a case by case basis) candidates based in countries that are on London time +/- 3 hours.

Please note that we are unable to employ anyone that does not have the right to work in the country they live in and work from. If you plan to work on an existing visa, there is a section on the application form where you can let us know the type and expiry date.