Job Descriptions: Government, Non-profits, Education

By Scott Kirsner |  December 1, 2013

We’re assembling collection of job descriptions for a wide array of innovation-related roles, including in the non-profit, government, and education sectors. We hope it’ll be useful as you’re trying to build out your own innovation team — or to see how other companies describe what innovation means to them, who innovation leaders report to, etc.

You can help. E-mail us with job descriptions you’ve seen, or used at your organization.

(Please note: Some of these searches may be on-going, but most aren’t. Please check with the company, LinkedIn, or Indeed to confirm.)

Chief Innovation Officer, City of Austin, Texas


Under the director of the City Manager’s Office, the Chief Innovation Officer will work with internal and external partners on behalf of the City Manager to develop, test, organize and encourage innovative best practices in local government administration with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation within the City of Austin.

Duties, Functions and Responsibilities:

Essential duties and functions, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, may include the following. Other related duties may be assigned.

  1. Develop demonstration projects jointly with internal staff that can improve the quality of life in Austin and serve as models for other communities.
  2. Develop and manage a life-cycle process for test projects, to include design, deployment, testing, and performance evaluation.
  3. Serve as a consultant and facilitator for City employees, local businesses and organizations seeking to develop new solutions to civic challenges.
  4. Forge partnerships with local community groups, companies, universities and school systems that can support the research and development of innovative solutions.
  5. Assist internal and external partners in the identification of resources necessary to support innovation.
  6. Plan and execute programs that promote local development of innovative solutions.
  7. Represents the City and serve as liaison and convener with other local, state and federal agencies and related NGOs to align community innovation with broader regional and national programs.
  8. Explore and import innovations from other communities for testing where they may be applicable. 
  9. Work in partnership with the CIO on identification, development and testing of civic technologies and projects that advance the City’s Open Government mission. 
  10. Meet regularly with City of Austin leadership, Council Committees and community boards to facilitate breakthrough idea development.
  11. Responsible for the creation, development, monitoring, and administering the Innovation Office budget.

Responsibilities – Supervisor and/or Leadership Exercised:

  • Responsible for leadership of multi-functional, cross-departmental teams that may consist of employees from all levels of the organization. 

Supervisor and/or Leadership Exercised:

  • Responsible for the full range of supervisory activities including selection, training, evaluation, counseling and recommendation for dismissal.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Must possess required knowledge, skills, abilities and experience and be able to explain and demonstrate, with or without reasonable accommodations, that the essential functions of the job can be performed.
  • Knowledge of best practices and available tools for insourcing, crowdsourcing and community-sourcing innovative solutions.
  • Knowledge of the principles and methods for lean startup and rapid prototyping of projects.
  • Knowledge of fiscal planning, performance management and budget administration.
  • Knowledge of supervisory and managerial techniques and principles.
  • Knowledge of the principles of open government, transparency and community engagement.
  • Skill in recognizing transformational opportunities and applying them in a real-world setting.
  • Skill in handling and prioritizing multiple tasks and projects.
  • Skill in collecting, analyzing and interpreting applicable research data.
  • Skill in preparing and analyzing budgets, reports and studies.
  • Skill in identifying and securing alternative funding sources for projects.
  • Skill in facilitating organizational change initiatives.
  • Ability to inspire creative thought and problem-solving that can transform our service to residents.
  • Ability to forge partnerships within and outside of an organization in pursuit of innovative breakthroughs.
  • Ability to work with internal leadership on projects that can unleash the creative potential of staff at all levels of a large organization.
  • Ability to maintain effective communication and working relationships with Boards and Commissions, city executives, employees and the public.
  • Ability to develop strategic direction and program priorities collaboratively with multiple stakeholders within and outside of government.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university, plus seven (7) years of work experience thatdemonstrates organizational development, creative leadership, and change management skills.

Chief Innovation Officer, Georgia State University

The Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) is responsible for securing, and through the Chief Technology Officer, creatively deploying and supporting, the informational resources and programs necessary to support the goals articulated in the university strategic plan.  The CIO is a champion for technological innovation in all facets of university operations, including administration, teaching and research, and will take a lead role in developing and articulating a shared digital vision for the university that may involve wholesale business model changes.  The CIO will make forward-looking assessments of technological developments and insure the strategic plan is consonant with them.  Legal, particularly property rights issues, frequently accompany digital content development, thus, the CIO should be familiar with the basics of digital property rights and privacy law.

Essential Functions

  • The CIO works with senior management members to create a digital vision for the university, and to identify the opportunities for differentiating digital capabilities and solutions.
  • Leads the process to identify and evaluate internal digital asset capabilities and strengths.  Assesses external digital opportunities and threats as key inputs to making the best decisions on business strategy.
  • Leads the development of digital business strategies and ensures integration with the enterprise strategic planning process, and the resulting business strategy and plans.  Provides a single point of coordinating and executive oversight for all digital initiatives and transformation projects.
  • Ensures that the enterprise is developing the digital assets and capabilities that will be needed to thrive in the mid- and long-term.
  • Acts as a champion and change agent in leading the organizational changes required to create and sustain enterprise digital capabilities.
  • Defines and reports on metrics that represent progress against digital goals.
  • Acts as a thought leader on emerging digital business models and technologies, articulating the digital future and the enterprise’s role in it internally and externally.  Builds and maintains external relationships with industry bodies, vendors and technology analysts to learn and influence.


  • Bachelor’s degree and fifteen or more years of business experience, ideally in business management, IT management or marketing.

Salary Negotiable

Preferred Hiring Qualifications 

  • Deep understanding of the evolving digital world on both the demand side (how people/companies are using technology) and the supply side (emerging technologies)
  • Extensive knowledge of digital marketing, analytics, supply chain management and CRM
  • Strong business acumen, including domain-specific knowledge of the enterprise and its business units
  • Excellent analytical, strategic conceptual thinking and consulting skills
  • Strong influence and negotiation skills
  • Ability to effectively drive people, process and technology change in a dynamic and complex operating environment

Chief Innovation Officer, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Hennepin County is seeking to fill a position as a Chief Innovation Officer (CINO). This position will work with and report to the Assistant County Administrator of Operations. The CINO will develop and articulate a future-focused vision for contributions from the Center of Innovation and Excellence to Hennepin County’s mission and identify opportunities to maximize mission impact and drive alignment with organization strategic objectives. The Center of Innovation and Excellence consists of Business Representatives embedded in each business line to coordinate innovation solutions. 

The primary duties and responsibilities of this position include:

  • Lead the strategy initiative by the following:
    • Direct the county’s strategic planning process, track the county’s performance measures, and develop and drive achievement of the Center of Innovation and Excellence to support Hennepin County’s strategic plan.
    • Nurture existing strategic partnerships and seek to establish new partnerships to work collaboratively in implementing strategic program objectives.
    • Ensure existing division programs are relevant, align with organizational strategic objectives, and have sound, consistent business plans and business models in place.
  • Lead the continuous improvement initiative by the following:
    • Provide consultation to the organization on innovation tools.
    • Recognize promising ideas and find ways to introduce them into the organization’s future plans and discard ideas that are ineffective, costly, or beyond the scope of the organization’s mission or abilities to develop.
    • Strategize with teams to transform general ideas into workable solutions; lead cross-functional projects and teams, ensuring successful project evaluations and implementations.
    • Represent the Center of Innovation and Excellence as a contributing member on organization-wide strategy development, mission achievement, and fostering cross-divisional collaboration.
    • Evaluate the progress of innovation and adjust the pace or direction of new projects in accordance with the goal of program impact, expansion, and overall growth; develop and document tasks, timelines and milestones, facilitate group meetings and document group findings; develop the infrastructure needed to monitor goals, objectives, and business plans.
  • Lead the performance initiative by the following:
    • Lead the development and oversight of the Center of Innovation and Excellence budget, and participate in and contribute to the development and monitoring of related annual budgets; identify and lead efforts in pursuing federal grant opportunities.
    • Keep all new projects in line with the county’s mission; ensure all innovation programs are managed within goals, timelines, and budgets.
  • Lead the evaluation initiative by the following:
    • Evaluate and assess division program business models and identify strategies and opportunities for service improvement and/or program elimination; develop and recommend policies, guidelines, and alternatives for key county programs.
    • Identify key relationships and foster innovative partnerships among local officials, nonprofits, foundations, and other entities in the community and foster collaboration, partnerships, and the sharing of information.
    • Collaborate enterprise-wide to enhance Hennepin County’s value proposition and produce well-integrated programs and services across the organization.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Best Qualified Candidates will have:
    • One of the following:
      • A master’s degree or higher in business, public administration, and/or another related field to the position plus at least five years of experience in the administration of programs and projects.
      • A bachelor’s degree in one of the above fields plusat least six years of experience in the administration of programs and projects.
      • Experience can be substituted for education on a year for year basis.
      • Experience creating and evaluating programs, and creating and implementing innovative solutions/redesign.
      • Strong business knowledge, understanding of a variety of business practices, and familiarity with public sector organizations.
      • Ability and willingness to take calculated risks and manage expectations of both internal development teams and existing and potential customers.
    • Excellent:
      • Planning, coordination, organization, and problem-solving skills with ability to think both strategically and tactically.
      • Research and analytical skills to track and predict trends.Interpersonal skills and the ability to persuasively sell ideas.
    • Ability to:
      • Collaborate with executives, creative teams, research and development, and product development teams.
      • Lead a creative team of individuals by planning, directing, and coordinating work to find ways to nurture innovative thinking across all areas of the organization.
      • Work creatively within a budget and use innovation to find ways of more effectively managing resources.
      • Establish effective relationships with elected officials, administrators, directors and managers, community leaders and groups, and the general public.
      • Evaluate current and proposed programs and identify areas of potential improvement.

Chief Innovation Officer, Moneythink

Moneythink is a rapidly-growing nonprofit focused on teaching financial education to young Americans. They currently operate within 28 university campuses across 16 states, serving almost 2,000 students weekly. Through peer mentorship and a newly designed Economic Opportunity Curriculum, Moneythink aims to increase economic opportunity, enable social mobility, and fight poverty in low-income communities nationwide. Moneythink is the only movement of young people working to restore the economic health of America through financial education. Moneythink is seeking a Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) who will lead their educational design, digital engagement, and data infrastructure efforts. The CIO role will combine analytical rigor, creative thinking, and strategic direction to guide program innovations, operational enhancements, and technology development. This involves providing a fantastic educational experience, guiding product / program decisions, and building strong relationships with team members and external stakeholders.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Integrate cutting-edge research on behavioral science and education to drive towards key learning outcomes.
  • Use program data and industry research to identify critical leading indicators and incorporate into Moneythink’s educational design.
  • Refresh and deepen Moneythink’s curricular offering to provide useful and relevant knowledge & skills, while maintaining high engagement for program participants.
  • Develop a product roadmap for their emerging technology product, Moneythink Mobile.
  • Collaborate with designers, developers, and educators acting as a project manager for the initial pilot in Chicago.
  • Lead the design and development of data collection tools and strategies, gathering information at the student, school, and chapter level. 
  • Analyze data to identify key operational needs within the program model and provide that information to the Operations team.  

We’re looking for:

  • Someone with 5+ Years of relevant experience.
  • Someone with an entrepreneurial mindset who works well in ambiguity.
  • Someone with the proven ability to think strategically and creatively with the ability to generate out-of-the-box solutions.
  • Someone with strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well with a group, independently, and with stakeholders of diverse backgrounds.
  • Someone with strong project management and analytical skills; a demonstrated ability to take primary responsibility for a diverse number of projects and to complete them in a timely manner with limited supervision.
  • Someone who believes in the power of youth to change the world, but also appreciates the value of a strategic, business-minded approach to driving social change. 
  • Someone willing to learn things they don’t know, and do whatever it takes to get the job done.  

And Ideally:

  • Someone with a masters degree in Design, Education, or a related field.Someone with experience in mobile development and/or product management.