Job title: Innovation Lead

Function: Innovation

Reporting to: Executive Director

Number of direct reports (managed by you): People: 0

Location: Blended: campus, office, remote

Internal / external focus (typically): 30 / 70

Decision-making line of sight: 2-5 years


Who We Are

PYDA exists to “launch young South African talent to be the difference”. It is our deeply held belief that we attract staff and students who are filled with talent. We are not creators of talent or fixers - our role is to create a context and environment where individuals are able to develop their innate talents and be the difference.


This Theory of Change delivers deep, transformative and systemic change. We do so by attracting and developing 18 – 25-year-old, talented, previously disadvantaged South Africans for employment in demand led sectors. Our innovative programmes combine personal development skills (35%) with industry-specific vocational training and practical work experience.


The ability of the Academy to deliver work ready, talented graduates, who are able to add value in the employment space within a short period of time, helps us to meet our objective of creating these meaningful opportunities. Most recently this has focused on the FMCG, Wine Sales & Marketing, Digital Economy and related sectors.


Our uniqueness… our MAGIC, is built on the creation of a dynamic learning environment through integrating all these aspects holistically with our rituals, work practices, and continuous feedback. The personal development aspect of the programmes is our USP and the differentiator. Through this approach we ultimately achieve the sustainable change we strive for.


We live our VALUES daily. They are Boldness & Courage, Transparency, Learning, Excellence and being Relationship driven.


The Role

In this senior role you are a key partner and driver in the implementation of the Academy’s strategic objectives and being the ‘holder’ of our people. You need to love and stand for our culture, our goals and what we do.

A typical day in this role

  • We don’t know yet! This role is still new to us

  • You will design your first 90 days and we’ll see what emerges

  • What we do know is that you need to be able to push for your ideas and helps others to see the possibilities/ potential of them


Role Purpose

The core purpose of the Innovation function is to deepen impact of our work through identifying & creating additional economic outcomes for young South Africans. The Innovation Lead role researches, explores and generates options which will deliver this impact through a systematic and intentional process. A key component of this role is to pilot, measure and recommend the feasibility of proposed activities to the Executive Director and/or the Academy Board. Right now, you are critical to the team as an enabler of the current Innovation activities. The role will grow into a more generative direction as it is established. Certainly, you will always be looking both outside and inside of the Academy at “what more…” and be the advocate for this space.


We ALL do:

  • Meet our strategic objectives and create the culture

  • Model our culture and ethos and to internally co-create a dynamic learning environment through modelling of and participation in programme rituals, practices and feedback processes

  • Build relationships and support liaison with external stakeholders, partners and the broader PYDA community

  • Advocate for Innovation that is aligned to our vision and benefits our young talent


Your responsibilities

  • Environment scan & Analysis

o Research and identify appropriate best practice ideas (small business development & economic outcomes) and communicate these ideas to the relevant function head for implementation

o Consistently research and scan the environment for new trends & developments and that could impact the current and/or future work of the Academy

o Thoroughly research all new ideas/projects and analyse the performance and viability of these projects

o Analyse the performance of the Innovation portfolio and identify opportunities for improvement

o Analyse the performance of the initiatives and it’s feasibility/viability/ match/ alignment


  • Innovation Management

o Oversee the portfolio of Innovation Initiatives

o Seek and develop new ideas and options

o Lead & implement innovation processes from idea to pilot and including the development of the business case

o Manage Innovation projects

o Create Structures and Processes so that innovation happens. Ensure that innovation is on the agenda, part of the discussion and given the attention needed

o Develop new innovation products or services from our initial programmes (speaks to enablement) through grounded information and principles


  • Innovation Project & Business Development (researches opportunities, explores options, make business case and pilots)

o Income generation for the academy: lead and participate in the development and selling of a specific product e.g. recruitment camps, short programmes, programmes for external clients, joint venture with students e.g. a rural call centre. These activities have an outcome of financial earnings for the Academy that are outside of the funding typically received

o Training and skills development for our young talent that is innovation-led: commercially focused as well as technologically advanced

o Small business development e.g., our Youth-led business initiatives that foster the development of small businesses within and beyond the Academy


Skills & Attributes

You need to be a/an:

  • Enabler: build Innovation in the space, disseminate the necessary knowledge of innovation and be able trains others on how to do it

  • Strong project and change manager

  • Promote and advocate for the culture/ innovation for our young talent

  • Leader: create a compelling vision and strategy for Innovation within the Academy and successfully lead others in that direction

  • Astute: have solid strategic insight, insight into future trends and technologies, business acumen, and analytical thinking

  • High attention to detail

  • Resilient: have a sense of hope, mental toughness

  • Enterprising/ Campaigning mindset: be trailblazer and future focused

  • Empathetic: have compassion for and responsiveness to the environment you work in

  • Persuasive: be able to influence and campaign for all things Innovation!


Qualifications & Experience

Your track record and experience must reflect the following:

  • 5-10 years’ experience in delivery of projects/ programmes or business solutions is essential

  • Exposure or experience in Innovation work is preferred

  • Fluency in 2 official South African languages, one of which must be English

  • A passion for the Academy’s work and values

  • A relevant tertiary qualification

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • A passion and ability to connect with young people

  • Strong self-leadership and emotional intelligence, including being assertive, decisive, and able to navigate conflict

  • An ability to deliver to required outcomes and standards

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English

  • Ability to work under pressure and manage deadlines

  • Be able to work with and rally a team

  • A valid driver’s license and car

  • South African citizenship


The successful candidate will be expected to work in the busy open plan Stellenbosch office as well as remotely and at other sites. A driver’s license and own vehicle is essential.


PYDA salary packages are competitive within the NGO environment in Western Cape region. The Academy believes in lifelong learning and continuous personal development for all staff.


In order to be considered for this role you will need to submit a two page CV, a motivation of 300 words, detail of your current and /or salary expectation, confirmation of your driver’s license and own vehicle, names and contact details of two referees – to applications@pyda.co.za.


Closing date: 10 September 2021

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