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National Innovation Service

Director, Equitable Systems Design

– New York, New York
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Experienced
Compensation $90,000 - $120,000

Director, Equitable Systems Design

The National Innovation Service (NIS)



The National Innovation Service (NIS) is a team of dedicated individuals that works to design equitable public institutions in partnership with impacted communities to drive systems transformation. We do this by creating collaborative coalitions between communities, public sector partners, and other relevant stakeholders focused on making change with those most impacted at the center of decision-making processes. Our work is to build new public sector institutions that produce equitable outcomes.

Our team draws on a variety of disciplines and experiences to deliver this work, privileging direct experience of the problems we address and merging practices from service design, policy analysis, systems thinking, community organizing, and change management. We develop strategies and roadmaps for transformation and also remain committed partners throughout implementation. As we establish and test pathways forward with our partners, we are working to advance equity-based policy and legislation at the local, state, and national levels, as well as the development of new products and services. 

For a sense of our work you can check out our first partnership was with King County and the City of Seattle in Fall 2018. For more details, click here. We’re seeking leaders with an all-hands-on-deck mentality to build our team from the ground up.  



We strive to attract and develop individuals who reflect a broad spectrum of diversity, including (but by no means limited to) racial, ethnic, gender identity, and socioeconomic dimensions. We believe that inclusion of diverse perspectives is essential to achieving long-term, systemic change. We explicitly seek applications from those who self-identify as coming from historically marginalized communities to enrich and elevate our equity-centered approach to problem-solving.



The Director of Equitable Systems Design will help design and manage the day-to-day of NIS’ community engagement processes while developing and maintaining key relationships with stakeholders. They are a systems designer and/or thinker who, preferably, has a social science and public policy background. Because NIS is in its founding stage, each member of the team will also be expected to seek out revenue opportunities and build out strong high-level, high-visibility relationships.

 We encourage you to apply if you believe your skills and experience align with the role described below, as there are many different backgrounds, industries, and lived experiences—including, but not limited to, experiences of economic insecurity, housing instability and homelessness, and mental health challenges—that give rise to ideal candidates. 


As our Director of Equitable Systems Design, you will be accountable for…

Managing Community-Based Research and Design

  • Participating in the design of stakeholder engagement and community-based research processes with senior NIS staff to build a shared understanding of the needs and perspectives of customers, frontline staff, and marginalized communities in our partner communities.

  • Managing the implementation of research processes by coordinating and supporting other NIS staff around, travel, data collection, and community engagement. 

  • Maintain proper data storage protocols and ensure that NIS is compliant with all applicable law and ethical standards.

  • Crafting and facilitating community workshops and stakeholder interviews, while supporting the creation of media assets to document our work.

  • Developing strong relationships with key community leaders and groups to meaningfully engage them in our work.

  • Managing complicated political landscapes with multiple stakeholders. 

  • Building and maintaining an up-to-date understanding of multiple sectors of work including, public health, health systems, homelessness, systems design, information technology, and other critical areas of domestic or foreign policy as they emerge. 

  • Providing routine updates to the Executive Director and other senior staff about current projects underway. 

  • Developing and running multi-stakeholder system transformation processes across the country with the goal of creating systems of governance and program delivery structures that are more equitable and better support historically-marginalized populations.

  • Developing white papers, posters, and conference presentations to help NIS maintain our position as a national leader on community-based design processes. 


  • Participating in the growing of a team dedicated to doing systems transformation work in partnership with communities across the country, including assisting with hiring both senior and junior roles. 

  • Provide direct management support and supervision to staff as needed. 


  • Participating in proposal development as requested. 

  • Proactively look for leveraged opportunities to advance NIS’ mission of transforming The United States into an equitable place to live, one community at a time. 



Strong candidates may...

  • Come from a public policy and/or social science background.

  • Have experience managing stakeholder relationships and working directly with municipalities and civic leadership.

  • Have significant experience in community organizing, community engagement, activism. 

  • Have significant experience in qualitative and quantitative research, data analysis, and implementing changes in complex and dynamic situations.

  • Have significant experience with experience with: 

  • Data analysis software (Dedoose, Nvivo, SPSS, SAS, Tableau, MatLab, etc.)

  • Budgeting software (Scoro, Float, QuickBooks, NetSuite)

  • Project management software (Trello, Asana, ProWorkFlow, Monday)

  • Microsoft Office Suite (especially Excel, Word, and PowerPoint)



We're looking for someone who…

  • Project management: Has direct experience managing projects from start to finish. They understand all the moving parts of a project and how they connect and affect one another. Is able to quickly and easily advise senior leadership on what impact changes may have.

  • Community Process Design: Ability to scope and manage community processes, and can seamlessly embed in a community and establish relationships, and the adaptability to contextualize understanding. 

  • Qualitative Research: Has a background or professional experience doing ethnographic research (focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc.), and has a strong familiarity with multiple research methods and tools.

  • Facilitation: Is a skilled facilitator with a track record of managing large groups to successfully realizing their goals. 

  • Diplomacy: Is able to manage interactions with a number of big personalities. Is diplomatic and clear, as well as be able to build trust and strong relationships.

  • Equity: Is deeply fluent in equity and racial justice concepts and language, understands their own privilege and power, and is able to bring equity impact analysis to life in the context of their tasks.

  • Flexibility: Approaches work with a spirit of “yes” and pushes through obstacles and ambiguity, adapting quickly to changing situations while effectively juggling shifting priorities that are characteristic of early-stage startups.

  • Team Development: Understands that NIS is a new organization, and sees their job as building the team and supporting its growth, anticipating scaling problems and course-correcting when needed.

  • 100% Follow-through: Cares deeply about getting results, stays on top of all specific tasks/follow-up items, and consistently meets deadlines. 



This role requires the willingness and ability to travel up to 30-50%, dependent on project work, to conduct meetings with leaders in the space, represent NIS, and lead project teams as needed.

Salary for this position is competitive. Additionally, we offer a comprehensive benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental, vision, and generous Paid Time Off.

The NIS team operates across the country with staff who live in a number of states, although the majority of our team is based in the New York City area. All U.S. based candidates will be considered, regardless of where they live. International candidates are also welcome to apply, although at this time the NIS team cannot offer relocation support.


We look forward to having our Director of Equitable Systems Design join us as soon as possible.



 The National Innovation Service is committed to a policy of Equal Employment Opportunity and will not discriminate against an applicant or employee based on the basis of race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, alienage or citizenship status, ancestry, nationality, national origin, marital or domestic partnership or civil union status, familial status, sex, pregnancy, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, The National Innovation Service will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.


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  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience
  • Compensation
    $90,000 - $120,000
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