Introducing Portfolios, hiring Managers

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.

Portfolios at Open Knowledge International

At Open Knowledge International, we are creating a new organisational structure that will help us to grow into our next phase of development. This will better enable us to support new and existing open knowledge initiatives to help people to improve their lives and the societies that they live in.

We are excited to be hiring for the roles of three Portfolio Managers, who will each lead a portfolio of products in a different stage of development:

  • In the portfolio Planting the Seeds we focus on developing prototypes and early-stage products. When a new approach to the use of data can be tested, or the application of open data in a new field becomes more relevant, this is where we trial whether our ideas are sound and are able to generate wider traction. This portfolio is closely connected to our cutting-edge research work;
  • The Growing the Trees portfolio focuses on those products that have proven to be viable and deserve broader investment to really affect change through innovative applications of open data. Examples might include initiatives such as our OpenTrials project developed with Ben Goldacre. We build these initiatives into platforms that shape the world. All of our products here are collaborative in nature, and we seek to develop partnerships with other organisations and stakeholders who share our interest in using data to improve the world;
  • When products have sufficient traction from other organisations and communities they move onto the third portfolio, Harvesting the Fruits. In this portfolio we focus on a mature governance structure of the products that involve high-level buy-in from other key organisations. We seek to sustain the products together with those stakeholders and the focus is on building lasting partnerships, while ensuring that new innovative ideas can be generated from those mature products.

For each of these portfolios we are looking for an enthusiastic and passionate

Portfolio Manager

(flexible location, full time)

As a Portfolio Manager, we expect you to lead the strategic development of the portfolio, as well as monitoring and reporting progress on the portfolio. You will function as a product manager for existing and new products. You will develop and manage the budget of your portfolio, and will be responsible for staffing all projects together with project managers. You will collaborate closely with the other Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Director, and support the CEO in fundraising. You understand how open licenses in software, content and data enable collaborative innovation and have demonstrable experience in these.

While these qualifications are similar for all the Portfolio Managers, we define specific profiles for each Portfolio Manager which matches the stage of development of the products within each portfolio. Please have a read through our role descriptions below and have a think whether you are the kind of person that would thrive in an innovative, very dynamic environment; whether you excel more when executing on a few key initiatives, and really want to build those into highly successful products; or whether you are a better fit building lasting partnerships and coalitions around products that have demonstrated their value to the world.

Portfolio Manager Planting the Seeds

  • You are excited by the opportunities that new technology and the availability of data present, to help citizens and civil society organisations to shape the world around us – which could include, for example, social, democratic and environmental impacts
  • You thrive on developing new concepts and ideas, and know what to do to develop those into early-stage products
  • You know how to evaluate early-stage products over a period of 6-12 months, and how to develop clear metrics of success
  • You understand how innovative projects are successfully executed and are not afraid to make tough decisions to cease activity
  • You have practical and hands-on experience of working in an innovative tech-related environment, for example in a ‘lab’ or incubator
  • You are able to handle multiple projects at the same time and have demonstrable skills in leading multiple teams

Portfolio Manager Growing the Trees

  • You relish the opportunity to develop and oversee a portfolio of products that are built on data and can change the world
  • You understand the opportunity that data, through online technology, offers to impact our lives
  • You know how to build a sustainable open source software product, including how to build a sustainable network of contributors and stakeholders who take an active role in developing the product
  • You can move a product out of prototype and roll it into multiple markets at the same time. For this, you use proven marketing techniques and you have the ability to tweak products according to customer and market needs
  • You know how to work with Theories of Change and how to apply them to products’ development cycles to achieve the maximum value
  • You know how to build partnerships around products and develop them into mature collaborative initiatives

Portfolio Manager Harvesting the Fruits

  • You are a coalition builder who excels in fostering long-lasting partnerships with demonstrable value and impact
  • You naturally develop products and partnerships into sustainable networks, and would know how to represent and coordinate with Open Knowledge International as one partner amongst others
  • You support networks and partners in sharing responsibility for products, moving from full ownership by Open Knowledge International to collaboration and collective ownership
  • You consider future sustainability for products, developing – together with networks – a roadmap for future roll-outs
  • You are invested in partnerships and know how to work with diverse communities, including with volunteers
  • You are enthusiastic about open knowledge, and would be able to represent Open Knowledge International in diverse networks and projects

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 5 years speaks clearly of your abilities. You communicate in English like a native speaker.

We demand a lot, but we offer a great opportunity as well: together with the other two Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Director, this Portfolio Manager leads the strategic focus of Open Knowledge International. You will be at the heart of the development of projects and products, 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 https://okfn.org/about/jobs/. 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 positions as soon as possible. These vacancies will close when we find a suitable candidate.

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