How might we help turn 12 African cities into a smart cities cohort? What are the innovation, systems-thinking and human-centred design methods we can bring to each city to help them learn from each other and create change at pace? What are the local partnerships we could facilitate to achieve impact at scale?

We’re kicking off a programme to explore how 12 cities across Africa can work together to create better futures using tech. This is amazing work for someone interested in innovation, participation and experimentation methods and who is French English bilingual.

Data ethics, digital voting, e-mobility, tech-enabled waste-collection...these are the kinds of challenges the ASToN network of twelve cities across Africa will be tackling, together. Over a 3-year programme, they’ll be collaborating and building up local stakeholder relationships to radically transform how the cities operate. They have imagined a better future as a progressive network of smart cities, and Brink is supporting them to get there.  

We’re seeking a talented and curious Innovation Manager, bilingual in French and English to join us and enable the cities towards their mission. We’re particularly interested in people with experience in any of human-centred design, systems-thinking, innovation management, participation or experimentation methods. Regardless of your background, if you’re a hybrid thinker, who has proven innovation management skills and experience in one or more of those areas, and wants to put them to use making meaningful impact in the world, we’d love to hear from you.

Ideal candidates will be able to demonstrate: 

1. Curiosity on behalf of the team and the problem: acting in service of the team and the problem at hand

  • Natural facilitator, with the confidence to help teams tease apart their facts, opinions and guesses. You find smart, incremental ways to validate their key assumptions. You enjoy enabling innovation and change in others

  • Understanding that innovation is about managing uncertainty and risk accountably, measurably and as such you are able to hold city teams to account - while always being on their side

  • Curious about the latest trends in technology and innovation, and how these may impact emerging African markets, particularly around smart city themes

  • T-shaped skillset, you know innovation methodologies like HCD, Lean Startup or systems-thinking and have toolkits to draw from and repurpose for new contexts. But you’re no purist and believe in blending the right tools for the circumstance

2. Communication and mindset

  • An effective bilingual communicator, able to relay messages clearly across different organisational and geographical contexts in English and French

  • Able to act strategically, entrepreneurially on behalf of the city teams, making connections and joining useful dots for them. You hold this strategic mindset even when faced with numerous and constantly shifting priorities

3. Global outlook and experience

  • Enjoys travelling and working with others in different contexts, from global governments to grassroots innovators in developing countries

  • Has lived and worked abroad or is well-travelled, able to understand international and particularly African contexts, and the cultural sensitivities that’ll be a part of this work

4.   Interpersonal skills (being a ‘Brinkster’):

  • Growth mindset, keen and eager to experiment and learn across a series of city visits, comfortable with not knowing all the answers yet, and happy to let stuff go when it doesn’t quite hit the mark

  • Is ‘interoperable’, quickly establishes rapport with all kinds of people

  • Enjoys ‘making others shine', Brink is a low-ego zone that thrives on making our colleagues, clients and collaborators shine 

If you’re interested in applying, please submit a CV with covering letter outlining why you’re interested, what you’d bring to this role and your salary expectations. Please also confirm you are eligible to work in the UK and are available for frequent travel to Africa.

Send everything to with the email subject: I’d like to be your Bilingual Innovation Manager

We are assessing applications as they come in because we’d like someone to join us as soon as possible, so there’s no need to wait for the deadline. Whenever you apply, we’ll get back to you to confirm we’ve received your application and let you know next steps. The final deadline to apply is extended to Tuesday 29th October at 11:59am BST

Annual salary circa £35,000 - £43,000

Questions candidates often ask us:

How many years of experience does the Bilingual Innovation Manager need to have? 

This role is likely best for someone’s second or third job, who is looking to break into international and impact work. It’s a remarkable opportunity to establish a new network of cities across Africa and design and test innovation methodologies. The right person will have an opportunity to establish their career brilliantly on this work.

As a general rule, we hold ‘number of years’ much more loosely than valuable experience, skills, capabilities, potential, and passion for the work.

Does the Bilingual Innovation Manager need to have Africa experience?

While we believe in the power of ‘not knowing how things are done around here’ to bring a fresh approach to systems and protocols, we are looking for someone who understands the Africa context and the cultural differences that will be at play across the 12 cities.

Where is this role based?

This role is London-based with regular travel to meet with the pioneering cities across Africa and to collaborate with the client in Paris.