The mission of Open Knowledge International is to open up all essential public interest information and see it utilized to create insight that drives change. To this end we work to create a global movement for open knowledge, supporting a network of leaders and local groups around the world; we facilitate coordination and knowledge sharing within the movement; we build collaboration with other change-making organisations both within our space and outside; and, finally, we prototype and provide a home for pioneering products.

A decade after its foundation, Open Knowledge International is ready for its next phase of development. We started as an organisation that led the quest for the opening up of existing data sets – and in today’s world most of the big data portals run on CKAN, an open source software product developed first by us.

Today, it is not only about opening up of data; it is making sure that this data is usable, useful and – most importantly – used, to improve people’s lives. Our current projects (OpenSpending, OpenTrials, School of Data, and many more) all aim towards giving people access to data, the knowledge to understand it, and the power to use it in our everyday lives.

With this development comes a new organisational structure, new processes that support this mission, and new ways of working together. Therefore, for the first time in our history, we are now looking for a dedicated COO to support us in developing and sustaining a world-class organisation.

Chief Operating Officer

(flexible location, 30 hours to full time)

Here is what we need you to do:

  • Develop and implement a lean project management model that supports the diverse project portfolio of Open Knowledge International, and that enables staff and contractors to plan, execute, and deliver high-impact projects;
  • Design strategies, policies and practices so that they fit our needs as a distributed organisation that spawns across many countries and timezones. This includes – but is not limited to – internal communications tools, ways to collaborate effectively in teams, and methods to assess and report on progress and impact;
  • Being a virtual organisation (without a central office) challenges us to have great and supportive HR processes in place, which take people’s experience and expectations into account, and support development of individual staff and of the organisation as a whole. You will be responsible for leading this, as well as helping us find and retain great talent;
  • Work with our Chief of Finance on all financial processes around budget planning, tracking, and reporting.

To be able to fulfill this role, you will need extensive experience in running the internal processes of a mid-sized organisation, preferably within a (partial) virtual organisation as well. You will have a proven track record of project management skills, both in running projects yourself, and in implementing methodology. You can show that you have implemented a variety of processes in organisations, and that these organisations performed better afterwards. Demonstrable experience in dealing with legal matters is required, as well as a solid understanding of Human Resources, especially regarding the professional and personal development of staff, both in terms of high-level strategy and the day-to-day operations.

Personally, you have a demonstrated commitment to working collaboratively, with respect and a focus on results over credit.

You are comfortable working with people from different cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds. You are happy to share your knowledge with others, and you find working in transparent and highly visible environments interesting and fun.

Instead of your formal education, we believe that your track record over the last 10 years speaks clearly of your abilities. You communicate in English like a native.

We demand a lot, but we offer a great opportunity as well: together with the CEO and the Portfolio Director, the COO forms the Senior Management Team of Open Knowledge International. You will be at the heart of the development of Open Knowledge International, able to make a huge impact and shape our future.

We also encourage people who are looking to re-enter the workplace to apply, and are willing to adjust working hours to suit.

You should be based somewhere in between the time zones UTC -1 to +3. You can work from home, with flexibility offered and required. You will be compensated with a market salary, in line with the parameters of a non-profit-organisation.

Interested? Then send us a motivational letter and a one page CV via Please indicate your current country of residence, as well as your salary expectations (in GBP) and your earliest availability.

Early application is encouraged, as we are looking to fill the position as soon as possible. This vacancy will close when we find a suitable candidate.

If you have any questions, please direct them to Naomi Lillie, via mail naomi.lillie [at]

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The official voice of the Open Knowledge Foundation.