Director, Innovation Lab - Public Sector

"As the lab director of an innovative government agency, I am all about the development of new products, services, partnerships, and even philanthropic programs to bridge the gap between what is and what should be. I work with a team of diverse and talented individuals (experts in user experience design, facilitation and collaboration, research, technical development and marketing) ensuring high levels of creativity while keeping everyone focused on the project goal and timelines. I rely heavily on the social innovation spiral in which we look at problems to be solved, develop and test prototypes for potential solutions, and retest those prototypes aimed at scaling and creating systemic change. It is a juggling act, and one that I love!"

Salary Range:

$128,000 - $194,000

The Tip

Join a club that is outside of your comfort zone. There is magic in being different

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Systems Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Understand systems thinking

  • Analyze and map systems

  • Identify and make plans for future trends

  • Thrive in ambiguity and manage complexity

  • Recognize trends, opportunities and underlying patterns

 

Human-Centered Design & Design Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Apply human-centered design principles to solve problems

  • Think laterally

  • Identify patterns

  • Work with third-party groups, such as think tanks, labs and accelerators

  • Ability to formulate research questions

  • Conduct secondary, qualitative and/or quantitative research

  • Synthesize key issues

 

 

Communication, Collaboration & Facilitation

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Use contextual knowledge

  • Communicate effectively in all formats

  • Design and facilitate collective impact initiatives

  • Facilitate small & large groups

  • Cultivate new collaborations and partnerships across sectors

  • Develop & execute workshops, training sessions and/or events

  • Use technology and specialized collaboration tools

  • Compelling presentation & report writing skills

Changemaking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Be authentic, empathetic and ethical

  • Apply changemaking principles to create impact

  • Ask questions

  • Embrace challenges as opportunities to create systemic change

  • Demonstrate long-term social impact and sustainability

  • Break down silos and leverage relationships

  • Engage a changemaker mindset

 

Oversight & Knowledge Management

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Manage operations & resources; provide oversight

  • Leverage stakeholder relationships

  • Develop and implement program schedules

  • Budget management & oversight

  • Evaluate social, financial and collective impact

 

Core Transferable Skills

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communications skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing) with a minor in social innovation

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

  • Ongoing professional development courses to increase knowledge of lean startups, agile methods, and design thinking

 

My MBA introduced me to the importance of discipline and process. However it really was my time studying social innovation that the world really opened up for me and I realized that business as a field was changing and that I wanted to be a part of that change.

 

Employment Experiences:
  • My first job was as a swimming instructor. Each summer I progressed until I was head lifeguard leading a team of 20 instructors and 15 guards.

  • In my first job after university, I worked as a marketing data analyst

  • My second job was as a data analyst in a civic innovation lab

 

Teaching swimming ensured I could deliver the same information to a variety of people and it taught me about gaining trust before delivering the message. In the civic innovation lab, I observed the finesse required to take a good idea and bring it to life.

Community Experiences:
  • Volunteered for the food bank and became passionate about ensuring everyone had enough food to eat. The food bank allowed me to experiment with different delivery models to determine the most efficient way to meet the target audience.

  • Initiated a university-wide competition for lean startups, loaning money to the winner

 

While delivering food to people experiencing homelessness, I saw a van that contained laundry machines. This opened my mind to the product side of innovation. In my startup competition, I learned not everything is as it first appears—I lost some money on that loan.

Contextual Experiences:
  • Completing projects in university classes for social innovation and marketing was how I learned about innovation labs

 

I developed a strong work ethic and a reputation for getting things done no matter what and with minimal direction. It made me a natural to work in the lab environment.

Relationships:
  • Sought to foster good working relationships with all the people I became dependent upon for deliverables. They need to know me well enough to understand my intentions, even when we are often working in a fluid and creative environment.

 

I understand motivation and how or why people do what they do. I need to know how to read people and know who’s having a bad day and how to deal with that, so I always get the best out of them."