United Nations Foundation

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Manager, Insights, DIAL

Manager, Insights, DIAL

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Regular Full-Time

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DIAL is a new global alliance to enable the digital ecosystem to deliver greater scale, efficiency, and social impact as it creates more inclusive digital economies in emerging markets.  Working with partners, DIAL generates evidence of what works through a series of demonstration projects, distils insights and tools to promote scale-up and replication, and provides mechanisms to encourage knowledge sharing, collaboration, and co-investment throughout the ecosystem.  

DIAL is a donor-funded program hosted within the UN Foundation and based in the UN Foundation’s Washington, D.C. office.  The incumbent will be an employee of the UN Foundation.


The Manager, Insights will be a member of the Insights and Impact focus area within DIAL. The Manager will collaborate with external partners and colleagues across DIAL. The Manager will report to the Director, Insights. 


The Insights and Impact focus area in DIAL invests in the digital development sector to help it realize a common vision, voice, and assets.  Key goals include closing critical insights gaps and promoting more collaborative adoption of proven policy, practice, and investment. Insights and Impact works to uncover evidence based good practices in funding, designing and deploying digital services.  It does this through investing in exciting and cutting-edge knowledge generation and research activities and working to amplify their impact within the digital development community.  


The Insights and Impact team has a unique opportunity to invest in experimental research, along with the ability and mandate from DIAL’s board to shape a completely new research agenda each year.  This flexibility ensures DIAL’s influence model and investments are keeping pace with the rapidly evolving digital development and technology landscapes worldwide.  


This role is ideal for a person passionate about digital development who wants to help solve some of the biggest issues facing the sector.  The role will help shape and deliver DIAL’s analytic products, curation, and dissemination strategy. If you are an experienced professional ready to frame and influence digital development’s current and future agenda, this may be the right next career move.


The Manager will have two key areas of responsibility:


  • Project supervision: end to end ownership of select DIAL research investments, from conceptualization and design, execution, to dissemination and impact.
  • Insights generation: partnership development and generating ideas for new lines of enquiry.


Project Supervision


Drive the delivery of select research projects from conceptualization phase through to completion, including research design, hypothesis, managing potential research vendors, dissemination activities:

  • Commission and oversee successful delivery of multiple projects generating priority insights for the digital development community, for example, best practice case studies, meta-analyses of common success factors across digital verticals (financial services, agriculture, health etc.).
  • Develop and refine the strategy and approach for the knowledge products, including the audiences, analysis framework, partners, impact and dissemination channels (online, meetings, publications, etc.)
  • Analyze findings, write and publish results in the form of blog posts, social media, white papers and long-format reports.
  • Manage external vendors supporting DIAL’s research efforts, including selection, contract pricing and regular reporting.


The Insights and Impact team has committed to an ambitious research agenda as part of the broader portfolio.  The Manager will supervise the delivery of specific research investments; its analysis, interviews, written synthesis, and blogs/communication for his/her assigned projects.  

For example, with the support and supervision of the Director, the Manager will advance the existing thinking and drive the execution of two key FY17 research investments determined by the Insights and Impact team:  internet coverage and adoption; and working with the development community in its push to achieve the critical UN SDGs related to internet access.   


Insights Generation


The Manager will also generate new lines of inquiry. The Manager, Insights will be a core team member that will influence and help develop the team’s research agenda and investments in FY18 and beyond. To do so, the Manager will:


Engage with the digital development community to understand relevant topics, trends and to identify potential research partners:

  • The Manager, Insights will help develop relationships with key actors, and identify opportunities for DIAL investments, which may take the form of grant funding, research partnerships, policy guidance and/or technical support.  The Manager will create insights from conversations with counterparts of public and private organizations, including global technology players such as Facebook, Google, WhatsApp, Mobile Network Operators, regulators and supervisors of central banks and/or relevant ministries in developing countries
  • The Manager will interact with other programmatic teams at DIAL (Data for Development and Platforms and Services) to determine mutual connections across DIAL’s multiple investments.


Analyze the tradeoff among different investment opportunities and align investments to the team’s current and future agenda:

  • Develop hypotheses and potential research approaches and methodologies
  • Identify potential cost/benefits including opportunity costs, SWOT etc., to increase the likelihood DIAL and the broader digital development community maximizes its return on investment


General Team Support


When needed, the Manager may be asked to support other initiatives within the Insights and Impact team or general priorities for DIAL. 


Selection Criteria:

  • Demonstrated excellence for producing intellectual capital and driving thought leadership, either in a development or private sector setting
  • 5+ years of relevant professional experience, including, but not limited to, international development, strategy consulting firm, or the private sector
  • Experience in the digital development space and familiarity with diverse stakeholders in the development community
  • Strategic thinking, clear ability to structure opportunities and tradeoffs, creative problem solving to bring focus and clarity to the research agenda
  • Excellent writing skills along with a passion for writing short format and long format pieces; interest in innovation for new ways to communicate technically complex materials
  • Entrepreneurial, with a talent for creative problem solving, perseverance, flexibility and resilience. A self-starter who enjoys being a thought partner on new ventures
  • Detail oriented. Results oriented
  • Master’s degree or higher in relevant field such as international relations, international development, business, economics, finance or related subject.  


This is a unique full-time direct-hire opportunity to work at the cutting edge of technology and international development. Applicants should demonstrate a willingness to commit to, and enthusiasm for traveling up to, 15% of the time.

Benefits & Compensation:

For full-time employees we offer an excellent range of benefits, including a choice of two health plans through CareFirst (PPO or HDHP). Dental insurance, vision discount plan, Life Insurance, Supplemental Life Insurance, Short-Term Disability, Long-Term Disability, Long-Term Care Insurance, Health Club Discounts, Commuter Benefits, Employee Assistance Program and Warby Parker discounts.


12 Paid holidays, 4 weeks of vacation, 10 sick days, 3 personal days and 8 weeks of parental leave (mother or father).  Access to the UNFCU Credit Union, 150% match on our 403b retirement plan, Flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and discounted Zipcar membership.