Executive Officer/Innovation Center Manager (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:
Reporting to the Director of the newly formed Innovation Centre, the Executive Officer will implement the Futures Project innovation agenda and manage innovation activities. The successful candidate will work with the Futures Project leadership to establish the Innovation Centre’s processes and manage innovators in the Residence Program and Centre training activities.

Funded by KfW, the Futures Project has two main aims:
•    To provide the knowledge and skills to bolster rural and community media outlets as well as medium sized and major media firms, and
•    To provide an intellectual and practical innovation hub, where a sustainability agenda for East Africa’s media can be imagined, tested and put into action.

In order to achieve these aims, the Futures Project involves two separate - but related - sub-projects:  Formation of an Innovation Centre in Nairobi and establishment of Media Viability Network comprising partners from across the region.

The ideal candidate will be a self-starter, with outstanding communication skills and a proven capacity to foster and manage innovation in a complex setting

Reports to: The Director, Innovation Center, Graduate School of Media and Communications


•    Assist in preparing the annual work plan and budget;
•    Manage the operation and maintenance of the Innovation Centre, including repairs, equipment, and supplies within budget guidelines
•    Manage the preparation and filing of necessary reports, budgets, acquisition of government licenses and grant use reports as per the grant agreement with the donor
•    Ensure that sub-grants are disbursed in a timely and efficient manner
•    In consultation with stakeholders, develop and manage Innovation Centre accelerator services, including the Innovator in Residence Program and project grants program.
•    Lead the client support activities of the Innovation Centre, including quality training programs, business advisory/mentoring, access to finance, access to information and access to policy;
•     Convene events and a comprehensive suite of activities and informational sessions to support the centre activities and engage relevant stakeholders on issues relevant to media start-ups and innovation for media viability.
•    Mentor innovators, other participants and staff.
•    With support from the legal department, develop licenses/assignments and other commercialization agreements, to support the commercialization of innovation
•    In consultation with relevant grant partners, develop collaboration agreements to support the innovation process, network activities and commercialization of innovation.
•    Develop and maintain a rapport with clients, mentors, support staff, administration, project members, partner organizations and other stakeholders as needed to carry out job responsibilities in a professional manner.
•    Provide clear guidance on matters relating to intellectual property and its management, as they arise and work closely with the legal department to ensure the best interests of all. 
•    Design and lead due diligence processes to assess the originality of innovation and its  commercialisation potential
•    Develop and expand opportunities for  commercialisation and development of  innovative products and services
•    Working with the Centre director and other stakeholders, identify financiers to support incubation activities.
•    Establish regular meetings and contacts with internal and external stakeholders to ensure seamless delivery across all aspects of the Futures Project.
•    Liaise and set up meetings  with Innovation Centre staff and the Project team to ensure that they are well supported and know where to go for support


•    A post-graduate qualification in business/technology/media innovation or related area.
•    A minimum of five years administrative management experience preferably in an innovation hub
•    Experience in and/or knowledge of the media and communications environment in the region
•    Preference will be given to people with start-up experience.
•    Strong verbal and written communication skills
•    Ability to lead the centre in state-of-the-art technology and emerging media 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 commercialization and networking with academics and industries to realize those opportunities
•    A strong network within the East African region.

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