Director, Innovation Center and Projects (4 year fixed term contract)


Graduate School of Media & Communications


Nairobi, Kenya


Chartered in 1983, Aga Khan University (AKU) is a private, autonomous and self-governing international university, with 13 teaching sites in 6 countries over three continents (www.aku.edu). An integral part of the Aga Khan Development Network (www.akdn.org), AKU provides higher education in several disciplines, carries out research pertinent to the countries and operates 7 hospitals (soon 8) and over 325 outreach clinics, all at international standards. It has almost 2,500 students and 14,000 staff. The University is both a model of academic excellence and an agent of social change. As an international institution, AKU operates on the core principles of quality, relevance, impact and access.

Function Overview:

Launched in 2015, the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) is the premier source of education and tailored training for journalists, communicators and media executives and entrepreneurs in East Africa and beyond.
Guided by the principles of global excellence and local relevance, GSMC helps individuals to transform their careers and organizations to seize on opportunities and reap the benefits of innovation.

Position Overview:
The Director, Innovation Centre, will be responsible for the launch of a new Media Innovation Centre aimed at enhancing the media viability in East Africa. Working in collaboration with project partners, Deutsche Welle Akademie, the director will ensure the delivery of high-quality value-added services to the media innovators and entrepreneurs and oversee the proper implementation of the centre’s strategic planning process and annual work plan.

Funded by KfW as part of the Futures Project, the Innovation Centre aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship to enhance media viability through a combination of research, training, mentorship, coaching, incubation/acceleration services and knowledge sharing. The Innovation Centre will be based in Nairobi, to provide space, time and support for concrete leading-edge innovation projects that strengthen Media Viability across the region.

Working with the Project Implementation Team, the Director will be responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of the innovation centre and show-casing its impact across the region and beyond. He/she will be responsible for shaping a sustainable business model to support the Innovation Centre beyond the life of the grant.
The successful applicant must be a self-starter, who is highly organized and creative who takes a hands-on approach to project leadership and implementation. This is a full-time position that requires an energetic, collaborative and forward-thinking individual

Reports to: The Interim Dean, Graduate School of Media and Communications


•    Working in collaboration with DWA and the Media Viability Network team, lead the Innovation Centre Strategic Planning process.
•    Lead the implementation of the Innovation Centre Strategic Plan and annual work planning process. 
•    Develop a sustainable business model to ensure project funding beyond the life of the grant including fundraising, grants and other sources of revenue.
•    Establish a professional advisory committee
•    Develop a centre business plan and act as liaison between public and private sectors in application and implementation of business development programs.
•    Work closely with corporates, media organisations (small and large) and development institutions to encourage and support innovation for media viability.
•    Identify opportunities to capitalize on both existing and new opportunities within the community to provide resources and a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators.
•    Oversee the commercialization and development of innovative products and services
•    Lead fundraising activities
•    Represent the centre at events aimed at fostering media innovative for media viability and show-casing the Futures Project outcomes. 
•    Working in collaboration with Future Project partners and the Associate Dean for Professional Development and Executive Education, to recruit clients to the Centre. 
•    Foster a research led and evidence-based approach to Innovation for Media Viability in East Africa.
•    Working closely with the research associate, monitor ongoing research for early identification of intellectual property arising from the centre research projects
•    Develop research networks by fostering relationships with industry and the academy
•    Undertake cutting edge research to inform the Innovation Agenda and enhance GSMC research priorities
•    Convene and attend events to report research outcomes to industry and other stakeholders including conferences
•    Track innovation activities and potential research partners.
•    Commission and oversee relevant market research into the training needs of media innovators.
•    Teach into Innovation Centre trainings programs and thought-leadership events
•    Contribute to the design and delivery of   AKU-GSMC academic programs, including the MA in Digital Journalism and Executive Masters in Media Leadership & Innovation
•    Working with AKU-GSMC faculty, establish an innovation pipeline from GSMC programs to Innovation Centre activities.
•    Build a network of trainers and experts who can design and deliver courses in human centred design, start-up methodologies and project management.
•    Foster a community of practice around Innovation for Media Viability.
•    Working with AKU TLNet and DWA, ensure quality programming through a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative evaluation and review framework


•    Should possess a postgraduate degree or equivalent qualification from a reputable institution, preferably in relevant technical area such as media innovation, media economics, media viability
•    A proven track record in applied research in a field relevant to the Centre activities;
•    Proven experience as a high impact teacher in academic and professional development programs;
•    Track record in building and supporting business relationships and partnerships;
•    Knowledge of the IP protection, IP rights law, and IP policy;
•    Proven experience working with diverse creative teams
•    Appropriate work experience within the academic and/or industrial environment, ideally involving the identification and commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) through licensing and/or new enterprise development
•    Proven experience in successful strategic planning and implementation
•    Strong local and international networks
•    Proven ability to work in ambiguity with minimum supervision.
•    Demonstrable capacity to lead innovation
•    Proven capacity to secure funding, sponsorship and investment.
•    Strong verbal and written communication skills
•    Ability to lead the center in state-of-the-art technology and emerging practices
•    Experience and/or education in relevant areas such as facilities management, planning, entrepreneurship, event management, volunteer management, use of social media, marketing
•    Self-starter capable of identifying and assessing opportunities for commercialisation and networking with academics and industrialists to realize those opportunities

To Apply

​Interested candidates should submit a Cover letter, detailed Curriculum Vitae, names and email contacts of three professional referees, telephone contact, e-mail address and copies of relevant academic certificates as well as transcripts to, the Manager, Human Resources, Aga Khan University’s Campus Nairobi, Kenya. P. O. Box 30270-00100 or by email to hr.universityke@aku.edu .  Applications by email are preferred.
Only short listed candidates will be contacted.

Applications should be submitted latest by March 23, 2019