Director of Influence, Impact and Innovation At Practical Action

About Practical Action

We’re a global change-making group, working with communities who are vulnerable to poverty and climate change to support them to change their world. Together we develop innovative, community powered and locally owned solutions that achieve transformative change in lives and livelihoods. And we work with a range of partners, including governments, business and international organisations to ensure improvements are sustained and scaled and to change the systems that keep people poor and vulnerable.

We were founded in 1969 by radical economist EF Schumacher who challenged the development thinking of the time. He believed in solutions suited to context, equipping people with the skills and knowledge to change their situation, economic systems that work for all and living within the planets means. This ethos continues to fuel all our work. Schumacher was the author of ‘Small is Beautiful: A study of economics as if people mattered’. In our work we start ‘small’, ensuring we understand what is already working but we aim big focusing on what will deliver the systems change required.

We have over 50 years of experience working across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Our group consists of a UK registered charity with experienced country teams, an expert consulting service and an independent development publishing company. We combine these specialisms to multiply our impact and help shape a world that works better for everyone.

Our aims

We work across four thematic areas. Much of our most impactful work combines our expertise across issues to solve complex and interconnected problems such as supporting smallholder farmers with renewable energy to increase yields and open up bigger opportunities for the wider economy.

Harnessing energy that transforms for the one billion people without electricity, and the three billion people without clean cooking solutions. We’re supporting rural communities, displaced people, energy providers and decision makers to put clean energy to work. By 2025, our work with partners will have led to affordable, low-carbon energy access and cleaner cooking for two million people in ‘last mile’ communities and 18 million people through wider systems change.

Building resilience that protects for vulnerable people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by climate change. We’re working to reduce vulnerability and impacts and support people to adapt so that they can continue to thrive in the future. By 2025, 0ur work with partners will have enhanced adaptive approaches so that four million people are better protected against current and future hazards.

Making cities fit for people for the millions of people living in urban slums and settlements without proper sanitation, clean water and waste services. Our work with communities is making cities in poorer countries cleaner, healthier, fairer places for people to live and work, with clean water for drinking and sewage safely contained, collected and processed. By 2025, our work with partners will have led to improved water, sanitation and waste management services for one million people living in slum communities and a further 2.4 million people through wider systems change.

Cultivating farming that works for smallholder farmers struggling to make a sufficient income and adapt to the negative effects of climate change. We’re teaming up with smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, so they can adapt to climate change and achieve a good standard of living. By 2025, our work with partners will have improved food security and incomes for two million people in rural communities and a further one million people through wider systems change.

The Role

Reporting to the Chief Executive, this highly influential director level has their eyes on the big picture, and future trends, shaping Practical Action’s strategy and representing the organisation internationally at a high level to build relationships that enable Practical Action and its partners to deliver greater change.

The post-holder will have a key role in shaping our global strategic direction, identifying and embedding innovative approaches that can take our work to the next level. The post-holder will ensure that we are capturing our impact and ensuring that we, and others are learning from our experience as we shape the next set of compelling and high-impact offers and partnerships that will make long-lasting improvements for people living in poverty and dealing with the impacts of climate change.


Leadership, Strategy Delivery & Impact

  • You will lead and manage a high performing senior team, driving forward strategy and collaborating effectively across Practical Action and externally to ensure the continued development of a set of strategic, viable, and fundable offers which describe the impact we will make in the world.
  • You will guide the group’s approaches – strategic change partnerships, innovative and high quality progamming with communities; consulting, influencing & knowledge brokering to
    ensure the maximum positive impact on the lives of women and men.
  • You will oversee the development and delivery of an effective process to capture and share impact, ensuring learning is incorporated into future plans.

External Representation and Strategic Partnership Building

  • You will engage actively at high levels with the stakeholders critical to achieving our goals: governments, funding partners, companies, international and non-governmental organisations.
  • You will ensure that we are known & respected for our work in key areas, are engaging with relevant issues and partnerships, keeping abreast of future trends and identifying the valued added roles that we can play in systems change to achieve our mission.

People, Capabilities and Leadership

  • You will support the development and implementation of specific group campaigns and strategic fundraising efforts.
  • You will contribute to group-wide capacity building efforts in association with the People and Culture Team.
  • You will support the creation of compelling internal and external communications enabling our stories, learning and impact to be effectively shared in particular with professional audiences crucial to future impact.
  • As a member of the Group Management Team and Senior Leadership Team you will contribute to shaping overall group strategy, and delivery of key organisational projects.

Person Profile


  • High level analytical skills with the ability to interpret global trends and identify potential implications for organisational strategy.
  • A deep understanding of international development, with expertise in a relevant sector and strong interest in poverty reduction and climate resilience.
  • Excellent networking and representational skills, working comfortably with government, donors, private sector and civil society at all levels, with the ability to translate relationships into active high impact partnerships.
  • Good understanding of systems change and ability to translate that to a relevant focus for Practical Action.
  • Proven ability in strategic leadership at a senior level, and leading and managing a team of specialists to work to a group agenda.
  • Excellent facilitation skills with the ability to listen, and to lead.
  • First hand experience of working in different countries.
  • A sound understanding of and commitment to gender equality and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills in English
  • Empathy with Practical Action’s vision, mission and values.


  • Knowledge of monitoring, evaluation and learning strategies.
  • A second language (French, Spanish, Arabic)

How to apply

If you are interested in the role, please follow this link: