Project Manager – Innovation and Product Design, Sanergy, Nairobi

Sanergy is an award-winning social venture that builds healthy, prosperous communities by making hygienic sanitation accessible and affordable in Africa’s urban informal settlements. Our systems-based approach to solving the sanitation crisis involves five key steps: we build a dense network of franchised micro-entrepreneurs, who operate low-cost, high-quality waterless sanitation facilities – called Fresh Life – as small businesses. We provide critical support services – such as access to finance, business analytics, training, and marketing. We collect the waste regularly and safely remove it from the community. We convert the waste into valuable by-products, such as organic fertilizer and renewable energy. Finally, we sell the by-products to Kenyan farms under the brand name Farm Star.
Since November 2011, we have launched nearly 700 Fresh Life Toilets to a network of more than 300 Fresh Life Operators. We have collected and converted over 7,000 tons of waste. At the same time, we have built a team of over 200 people. For our work, we have been recognized by Fast Company as one of the 10 Most Innovative Companies in the World Doing Social Good and one of the 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa.
Job Purpose Statement
The Project Manager will be responsible for managing the development and testing of products and services for potential incorporation into the Fresh Life portfolio.
Reports to: Senior Manager, Future Initiatives
Roles and Responsibilities
Project Management
  • Manage a portfolio of Future Initiatives offerings, moving each through the Future Initiatives process for development and testing
  •  Contribute to the definition of project scope and objectives
  • Develop detailed project plan to monitor progress
  • Ensure that each stage in the Future Initiatives process is completed and documented before advancing the offering to the next stage. The process includes:
○   Conduct initial field and desk research (i.e., technical feasibility, market size, operational feasibility, cost effectiveness, financial viability)
○   Design product or service
○   Develop research plan
○   Implement pilot
○   Analyze pilot results
○   Make recommendation regarding operationalization, further testing or termination of       offering
  • Engage members of the Future Initiatives team with appropriate areas of expertise for stages outside the specialty of the Project Manager
  • Engage other organizational stakeholders and resources as appropriate
  • Manage relationships with external vendors/contractors/consultants as needed, with support from Talent and/or Procurement teams (i.e., develop scope of work, select candidate, monitor progress, ensure completion)
  • Anticipate resource needs (e.g., labor, materials) and ensure necessary resources are available when needed through collaboration with other teams (e.g., Finance, Human Resources, Procurement)
Area of Expertise
While each Project Manager on the Future Initiatives team is responsible for projects from start to finish, each Project Manager brings expertise in one step in the Future Initiatives process. The Project Manager – Innovation and Product Design will provide support for Future Initiatives teammates in the following:
  • Conduct research on technical feasibility of new products/services and existing technologies that can be leveraged
  • Design new products and adapt existing technologies to generate offerings appropriate for the context in which we work
  • Design and build low-cost prototypes of devices/equipment required to test new products/services (e.g., customized ergonomic handcart for waste collection, storage solution for waste containers)
With support from Future Initiatives teammates, the Project Manager – Innovation and Product Design will also:
  • Assess market size, operational feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and overall financial viability of potential offerings
  • Design plans for testing of products and services
  • Manage implementation of testing plans
  • Design plan and tools for data analysis
  • Analyze data to make evidence-based decisions to operationalize, terminate, or conduct additional research on offerings post-pilot
  • Develop strategies for operationalization and scale-up of offerings after successful pilot
Capacity and Process Building
Build tools for Future Initiatives development and testing process and offer support to Future Initiatives teammates.
  • As projects advance out of each stage, ensure the tools for conducting and assessing each stage evolve as necessary to meet the needs of the team
  • Create guidelines to support other Future Initiatives teammates in conducting the stages covered by the area of expertise of the Project Manager
  • Provide support in Project Manager’s area(s) of expertise on projects managed by Future Initiatives teammates
  • Contribute to conceptualization of new offerings for development and testing
  • Engage and communicate transparently with teammates outside of Future Initiatives about new initiatives, ensuring they are sufficiently informed and consulted, but not over-burdened
  • Provide Business Development and Communications teams with high quality information on new products (pitch) and in-progress pilots (reporting) to support their efforts to secure and maintain partners and funding
  • When relevant, communicate directly with external stakeholders for purposes of research/information gathering, knowledge sharing and partnership development
A week in the life of the Project Manager – Innovation and Product Design might include:
  • Attending a meeting with the local Chief to consult on location of pilot activities
  • Leading teammates in a brainstorming workshop to come up with ideas to test in an upcoming pilot
  • Shadowing waste collectors in order to understand how they do their work and identify inefficiencies that can be reduced
  • Building a low-cost prototype of a customized structure for storing full waste containers
  • Preparing project updates for dissemination to internal stakeholders on the Sanergy and Fresh Life team
  • Responding to emails and holding meetings to ensure direct reports, supervisor and other teammates are aware of and understand all important developments on the project
  • Tracking data and monitoring project timeline to allocate resources and plan for the week ahead
  • Documenting progress and delays, reasons for success, opportunities for improvement, and plans to incorporate learning
Job Requirements
  • Degree in design or engineering
  • Master’s degree or comparable work experience
  • Experience in human-centered design and/or design thinking
  • Experience in engineering or product development
  • Experience in conducting primary and secondary research, preferably in a developing country context or regarding issues of development
  • Knowledge of study design and analysis techniques
  • Background in WASH or another area of innovation in global health/development
  • Working knowledge of Swahili strongly preferred
  • 2-5 years work experience, preferably in a developing country context
Personal Attributes
  • Passion for finding new ways to make affordable sanitation accessible to residents of informal settlements
  • Ability to manage time, keep calm under pressure, navigate several moving parts, and meet deadlines with ease
  • Hold a continuous, restless desire to improve yourself, your team, and your organization
  • A collaborative mentality and positive attitude
  • Ability and desire to disregard what has been done before when solving problems (think outside the box)
  • Willingness and desire to get your hands dirty; appreciation for the irreplaceability of hands-on experience
Application Deadline: 28th February 2017

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This material is cross-posted from the Peace and Collaborative Development Network, and appears to be an interesting opportunity for the Humphrey community.   This is meant for information sharing purposes only.  
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