Emergency Housing Studio Director

New Lab supports entrepreneurs who are defining the future of technology and human experience. Based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New Lab provides the tools and community that unite and support 650+ innovative entrepreneurs, designers, and engineers representing over 150 companies in a variety of fields—including robotics, A.I., urban technology, and energy—and fosters collaboration and advancement across disciplines. 

New Lab is seeking a Director to join the team to run a new Studio program focused on Emergency Housing. This new Studio program will apply emerging technology and human-centered design to the urgent challenge of providing secure, sustainable, rapidly-deployable housing for people in need. By developing an ecosystem of community leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, architects, engineers, and leading technologists, the program will support the development of emerging technologies and new concepts for housing solutions designed to provide refugees and displaced people with dignified, safe, rapidly deployable shelter.  

The Emergency Housing Studio Director will report to the VP of Product and Programs and work across the New Lab organization, including engaging New Lab’s co-founders, to shape and deliver this new program. The Director will lead the operations of the multi-year Studio and oversee all related activities including partnership development, research, workshops, open calls, prototyping and piloting. 

The Director will leverage and rely on Studio advisors, experts, design leads and partners. Technical support will come from New Lab’s product realization team and outside technical experts that will be engaged as needed to support the Studio’s activities.  

Professional and/or academic experience or exposure to international development, urban planning, design and architecture is critical. Prior experience operating innovation programs and strategic initiatives that leverage technology and design to address humanitarian response is a plus.

 

Key Responsibilities

  • Program Execution: The Director’s primary function will be to manage all aspects of the Emergency Housing Studio from the initial research and discovery phase through to attracting teams and partners to design and execute projects. Key activities include: establishing KPIs and reporting structures with external stakeholders, developing and tracking program timelines and phases (from problem definition through product development and piloting), establishing milestones and tracking budgets, recruiting startups, advisors, experts and new program partners, organizing and hosting events and ensuring the alignment of all collaborators over the cycle of the program. 
  • Management: The Director will oversee a Program Manager on the New Lab team who will help to support the operations and execution of the program. The Director will identify and secure the overall contributors for the Studio from site partners and community leaders, academics to entrepreneurs, workshop facilitators to advisors. Under the Director’s management New Lab will bring all key stakeholders together to ensure the program is a complete success. 
  • Ecosystem Expertise: The Director will have a great grasp of interrelated issues relevant to the emergency and refugee housing space, other organizations around the world committed to this work and a sense of where this program can offer unique value. The Director will be invested in getting to know the New Lab member community and our broader ecosystem to determine how the community can best add impact. They will attend relevant events and conferences and stay up to date on relevant trends in architecture, humanitarian response, frontier technology, product design and social enterprise. The Director will be plugged into these ecosystems and serve as a stellar New Lab ambassador and champion. 
  • Program & Product Materials: The Director will create partnership cultivation tools and a communications strategy that reflect the New Lab brand and program mission including decks, written proposals and blog posts. They will work closely with the Chief Product Officer and VP of Product and Programs to ensure that partners are aware of program progress, needs and opportunities and that the New Lab Business Development and Marketing teams can help to add value to the efforts. Additionally, the Director will proactively seek out RFPs and partnership opportunities to complement and grow the existing support for the Emergency Housing Studio.  

 

Experience

  • 4+ years full-time professional experience or the equivalent including role(s) serving as the representative of an organization to external partners and audiences
  • Experience developing, resourcing and leading complex projects spanning multiple technical specialties and diverse geographies
  • Familiarity with design thinking and agile methodologies of product development
  • Experience or exposure to architecture, engineering, design and urban planning
  • Experience or exposure to working with organizations committed to addressing humanitarian crises, emergency response and international development
  • Familiarity working with government, NGOs, technologists and entrepreneurs
  • Full spectrum project management experience with demonstrated ability to build strategies that take into account the demands of multiple stakeholders to keep projects on time, on budget and ensure the quality of all deliverables
  • Experience developing and tracking both quantitative and qualitative program metrics 
  • Familiarity with Google’s business tools (docs, team drives, slides, sheets etc)
  • Proficiency with Excel and project management tools such as Trello and Monday

 

Skills & Attributes

  • A highly organized mature self-starter with professional demeanor and strong interpersonal skills
  • Intercultural knowledge and appreciation
  • Ability to build strategic partnerships, inspire trust and cohesion across collaborators 
  • Excellent oral, written and presentation skills; executive presence
  • Creative, strategic thinker with a bias for action and a willingness to contribute to ensure the job gets done
  • Comfortable conversing with entrepreneurs, technologists, scientists, government officials, policy-makers, corporate partners, philanthropic donors and an understanding how to adapt tone and messaging for each audience
  • Excited by setting ambitious goals, seeing projects through to completion and being part of a fast-moving, lean organization
  • Adept at working both collaboratively and independently and managing cross-functional teams (across and up)
  • Passionate about the potential for frontier technologies, innovation, and startups to support mission driven initiatives 
  • Able to flourish with minimal guidance, be proactive, and handle uncertainty and ambiguity 
  • Willingness to travel

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