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Innovation Lead - Social Innovation - posAbilities

Oct 31, 2019
Vancouver & Lower Mainland, British Columbia

Position: Innovation Lead

Location: Metro Vancouver, BC

Start Date: Fall 2019

Term: 37.5 hours per week, 12-Month Term

A rare opportunity! Join posAbilities in bringing R&D into the social sector! For more than five years, we’ve engaged hundreds of people across B.C to develop award-winning solutions like Kudoz and Real Talk. This year, we’re launching a third prototype, called Meraki, and we’re looking for dynamic new talent to inject new energy and expertise. Meraki is a subscription service to boxed experiences designed to positively disrupt routine and to increase human connectivity, curiosity, purpose and joy.

posAbilities is looking for an Innovation Lead to help drive the development of new practices and approaches in supporting persons with intellectual disabilities and their families. We have a big ambition: we want to see disruptive changes in the models, outcomes and cultures of social services. But don’t worry, we know this will take a long time.

This position works with Director of Innovation and relevant stakeholders to develop and incubate projects and experiments that grow next practices of posAbilities, its Degrees of Change Partners, and InWithForward.

What might this look like?

In a week, you could be doing anything from planning the flow of prototype development (product development, subscription service development, scripting/messaging, value propositions, etc.) to doing hands-on work making/writing something for it, to capturing learning in WIKIs and with photos. You might read a paper in social psychology or behavioural economics and distill learning that you and the lead Meraki designer can apply to interactions, or you might be piecing together a Theory of Change with InWithForward.

Some days, you will be out in community looking for people who have passions or competencies to share or who have found workarounds/solutions that we might learn from. It’s not about asking for help—it’s about pursuing opportunities that bring mutual value and benefit to everyone involved. Other days you will be going online to look for emergent practices, pre-existing learning, or models and successes that we can apply in our context. Other times it may involve contacting people or organizations directly, both locally and internationally, who can supply us with insight or who may want to be engaged with us.

You will find yourself supporting the lead Meraki designer to find, recruit and assist muses to develop content for a Meraki box and, shortly after that, head out into the field with her to test it (and other prototypes and platforms that we’re developing) with different possible users and glean learning for the next iteration.

Every week will consist of team planning and team reflection, and every month will involve a written contribution to the InWithForward’s newsletter and to posAbilities blogs or websites.

First, a little about you…

You have bachelor’s degree or higher and a minimum of 3 – 5 years of experience in social R&D/Innovation (working knowledge of the social service sector is an asset but not a requirement). At the same time, you recognize that the heart and soul of innovation involves reaching outside of social services and into community. And you know that “new” doesn’t mean “better.”

It’s important to you to find purpose and joy in your work, which is something that contributes to your drive to be your best and to do your best. You’re a self-starter who brings lots of enthusiasm and passion into your work. This entrepreneurial mindset and spirit results in a “can-do” approach to even the most challenging of briefs. This includes being able to jump headfirst and wholeheartedly into taking an idea from early stage prototype to scalable solution

You’re an interdisciplinary thinker and doer who loves inquiry-led creative processes. You’re both deeply curious while also pragmatic, able to figure out what sort of (flexible) structures, tasks or details are needed to move projects forward. You know how to ask research questions and apply that learning to making—and you can iterate and pivot quickly.

You've read through our Degrees of Change website and the InWithForward website to get a sense of what we’re about, and our vision and methods resonate for you. You can see yourself being dedicated to making the vision become a reality. And you have some reference points for what transformative social innovation looks like.

Lastly, you have some successful management experience, and you’re comfortable with digital technology, including social media, Slack, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Suites, etc.

Things you’re really good at:

  • Intellectual curiosity

  • Grit and persistence

  • Taking initiative
  • Team player

  • Cutting through complexity by making/doing

  • Bringing a systems lens 

  • Confident communicator

What else is involved in the role?

Project stewardship

  • Highly motivated to complete tasks/duties/daily maintenance in a timely manner
  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex projects and guide them through from early-stage design to implementation
  • Familiar with agile and waterfall project management
  • Able to make process flow and systems diagrams

Mobilization & partnerships

  • Seeks out and collaborates effectively with new partners and stakeholders to engage in service design
  • Mobilizes community members (often the “unusual” suspects) and their passions and skills
  • Identifies internal stakeholders; builds and manages relationships
  • Serves as an internal resource to agency teams engaged in innovation and experiment
  • Enjoys collaborating with diverse, cross-functional teams
  • Grows innovation networks and partnerships

Team building

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • A motivational coach and leader
  • Brings vision, creativity and inspiration to projects
  • Demonstrates strong emotional intelligence; good with people and managing complex interpersonal situations
  • A great listener, but confident and courageous to articulate a reasoned point of view

Social Research and Development

  • Engages in social science research (e.g. social psychology, sociology, economics, public health) in order to find evidence-based theories to underpin projects and prototypes; distills key learning
  • Understanding of/experience with ethnographic methods a strong asset
  • Experience in design methodologies including hands-on making and rapid-fire prototyping
  • Comfortable working with quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods
  • Comfortable with complexity and emergence
  • Leads, or participates in, workshops exploring R&D and innovation methods
  • Respects and leverages existing innovative practice; builds connections
  • Reads and researches relevant innovation literature; attends relevant workshops and conferences


  • Excellent verbal and written communication
  • Good public speaker and presenter
  • Compelling storyteller: knows how to craft a narrative in different forms.
  • Presents projects, prototypes and findings (and associated methods or theories) in clear and compelling ways
  • Packages learning into shareable stories for different audiences
  • Prepares website content and uses social media and traditional communication methods to communicate research insights, innovation methods and relevant team updates.
  • Confidently communicates project story and current needs

How To Apply

Stage 1:  Please send your cover letter, resume, and portfolio to portfolio should consist of:

  • Samples of previous work
  • A statement, video or drawing that describes what you bring to this role

Due: September 30th, 2019.

Stage 2:  Shortlisted candidates will be called for interviews.

Stage 3: A further shortlist of candidates will be invited to spend a day with our Meraki team and design contents for you own Meraki Box (a prototype of a subscription service for boxed experiences—more information will be provided).

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