Director of Innovation & Practice

Job Title: Director of Innovation & Practice 

Hours: 4-5 days per week

Location: London/Remote

Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer

Terms: Permanent 

Salary: £60,000 – £85,000 per annum 

In Summary 

We are looking for an experienced and dynamic leader to shape our work to support systemic change, in places and on issues that matter most to communities. You will be proficient at conceiving, developing and executing large scale, complex programmes and initiatives and ideally have worked successfully across business, health, charitable and public sectors. You will bring an understanding and talent for working at a deep structural and systemic level. You will be adept at turning theory into practice and have a talent for building trust and credibility with a variety of partners and people. As our Director of Innovation & Practice you will be responsible for our existing work to support and scale venture-based and community-led innovation, with a primary focus on our place-based practice. You will bring new models, concepts, and ideas for growing this work and be able to evidence how you have successfully achieved this in previous roles. You’ll be used to working in a fast-paced, lean, collaborative work environment, with a willingness to be ‘hands-on’ as well as a strategic thinker. Passionate about our mission, you’ll be a low-ego leader, a great team player, and committed to supporting the wider work of the Young Foundation as a member of the senior leadership team.  

 About the Young Foundation 

Connected, thriving communities are the foundation of our society. They keep us safer, happier and healthier – more resilient and able to face shared challenges. 

Today, The Young Foundation’s mission is to develop better connected and more sustainable communities across the UK. As a UKRI accredited Independent Research Organisation, social innovator and community development practitioner, we combine all our skills and expertise to further that mission. 

We amplify the stories and lived experiences of people in our communities; using this as a spur to drive locally-led community action and enterprise. We use what we learn across different communities to spot national patterns of need and opportunity; working with national partners to support innovative ideas to tackle those shared challenges. 

Through our Institute for Community Studies, we are bringing together our own – and other people’s – work, we are building a shared body of evidence, tools and insight about how communities are taking action on the issues that affect them.  

We are experts in understanding the changing role of communities in the 21st century. Find out more about our work and history and the Institute for Community Studies 

 Key Responsibilities 


  • Working from our theory for change and strategic goals, develop a plan for supporting and scaling our existing, practical work to involve and innovate with communities. 
  • Conceive, develop and deliver new models and initiatives to support systemic, multi-sector working to create stronger communities and more inclusive local economies. 
  • Evolve and grow our infrastructure to support mission-led businesses and social ventures 
  • Secure sustained, long-term funding partnerships which directly support our place-based and thematic systems practice.
  • Work in collaboration with the CEO, board and Senior Management team to drive 


  • Build strong relationships with local, regional and national stakeholders to disseminate practical learning and insights from our work 
  • Provide leadership and line management support for our Head of Ventures and Head of Community Programmes; supporting them to deliver high quality, impactful work and providing an enabling and supportive environment for their teams to flourish and grow. 
  • Work closely with the Director of Research and senior members of the research team to maximise opportunities for integrated initiatives which build on the combined strengths of The Young Foundation areas of practice
  • Have a strong focus on the quality of delivery of programmes, ensuring that our partners expectations and needs are met, at all times.
  • As a member of the Senior Management Team, be jointly accountable for the smooth and effective running of the organisation; taking ownership of specific corporate tasks, as required.  
  • Monitor and report on the impact of all our Innovation & Practice activities to the CEO and board of trustees 

Essential Skills & Experience Required 

You will: 

  • Have proven previous experience working in partnership across all sectors; and a track record of managing complex, multi-faceted initiatives to tackle complex societal challenges 
  • Be able to evidence a track record of securing income, and long-term strategic funding partnerships  
  • 21st Century Leader: You will bring a low-ego, collaborative, action-oriented and creative mindset and experience of being part of a senior management team 
  • Connector: Evidence existing, strong professional networks across civic, central & local government and health sectors, with corporate networks desirable
  • An effective communicator: Have a proven ability to communicate at all levels – as comfortable and credible in a community centre as a ministerial office
  • Systems Thinker: Be able to evidence an understanding of complex social issues and how to most effectively create and sustain activities which tackle structural inequality and exclusion
  • Organiser: Have impeccable organisational skills; an ability to work in a dynamic environment and prioritise effectively
  • Energiser: Be positive and passionate about the role of communities to catalyse social change 

 How to Apply 

With reference to the Job Specification, please complete this application form and return it to 

Please also submit CV’s as separate attachment but is not a requirement for the selection process and applications without application form will not be accepted 

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 31st August 2021 at 11:59pm. The selection process will consist of two interviews. The first interview will assess candidates experience and competencies against all essential criteria for the role.  

First round interviews will be conducted on Wednesday 8th September and Friday 10th September and Second round interviews will be held the following week. 

The Young Foundation is an equal opportunities employer and as part of our commitment to increasing the diversity of our team we actively encourage people from Black and Ethnic Minority or other under-represented groups to apply for this role. We positively encourage applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity. 


Please complete our equality and Diversity monitoring form and send alongside your application. This information will not be seen by the hiring manager or impact your application 


You must have the right to live and work in the UK. Applicants who require a work permit in order to take up employment will not be considered. 

Upon sending your application you will receive an automated response to say we have received your application. We regret that we will only be able to reply, and give feedback, to short-listed applicants.