Senior Network Development Adviser (Infrastructure and Design) At Start Network


Start Network has an incredible opportunity for an organisational development practitioner to join our team as Senior Network Development Advisor focusing on infrastructure and design. The role will work with our member hubs to explore the future shape of the network including the localisation of functions currently undertaken by Start Network. We’re looking for candidates who are creative thinkers, experienced in working with experimental approaches using innovation tools and methodologies. Candidates will also have experience rolling out complex organisational or programmatic change, preferably within the humanitarian sector. We’re also looking for individuals with an understanding of innovative global network, and network growth, models. If you’re this person we want to hear from you.


The Senior Network Development Adviser primarily supports locally-led Hubs to develop, grow and become independent, autonomous entities. This will entail working with Hubs to co-design systems, resources and processes to support Hubs on their individual development journeys. Working closely with the Start Network team and based on learning, the adviser will lead on exploring and co-designing resources to support future Hubs. The Adviser will be an advocate for change and will take user-centred and iterative design approaches to ensure that support to Hubs is flexible in meeting their needs and aligned with our vision for systems change.


Network Development

● Work with the Senior Network Development Advisor (Partnerships) to jointly support the hub development process to enable hubs to form, become independent and begin operating as an entity within the network

● Work with the Hubs to co-design services, products and tools that are user-centred and locally relevant in meeting their needs; including design, operationalisation and adaptation of Hub-led funding mechanisms, delivery of a user-centred toolkit to support Hub incubation

● Support Hubs with the process for testing, learning and refining initiatives in line with ambition and vision

● Work with the Hub leadership and Learning Advisor to create a culture of co-design, feedback and learning in order to adapt support to emerging needs

● Enable hubs to increase their engagement and voice in the Network to advance locally determined goals

● Encourage self-awareness among all stakeholders (Hubs, Members, Team etc.) of their status within or contribution to the system

● Support the design and monitoring of the network’s global infrastructure transition to ensure it is effective, while working with teams to continuously align, improve and iterate against the strategy

● Convene Hubs and its stakeholders to build a foundation for change by supporting them with innovation practise to understand the problem, make explicit choices and commit to actions aiming to address the issue at hand

● Identifying best practice and viable models for network infrastructure across various sectors including other global networks and innovators

Organisational Contributions

● Driving change through learning and influencing strategy and practice

● Work closely with Start Network teams to ensure that deliverables are in service of hubs

● Drive strategic thinking and understanding across the team, Board and members around locally drive humanitarian action

● Contribute to the Start Network team’s shared objectives: communications, members engagement and resource mobilisation

● Actively participate in cross-organisational outcome and solutions groups

● Other duties commensurate with the role as determined by the line manager, including provision of surge capacity into other areas of the organisation where needed

Start Network Culture

● To carry out the responsibilities of the role in line with the Start Network Code of Conduct and with a commitment to safeguarding adults and children

● A commitment to the Start Network vision, principles, values and approach

● The Start Network team is an agile group of individuals who use their experience and skills across the network, so flexibility to work in and with different teams and functions is part of our culture


● Influence stakeholders to address difficult or complex issues by listening to diverse perspectives, finding common ground and avoiding criticism or complaint

● Hold both a strategic perspective and enough detail to work with one part of the organisation whilst understanding the impact on other parts of the organisation and network through listening and engaging with other teams

● Manage ambiguity by weighing up risks and uncertainties with opportunities in pursuit of our vision based on the evidence available

● Balance the tension between thinking, trialling, and deciding to move forward in line with expectations from key stakeholders, namely members and Hubs

● Enable the Network to develop in a way that embraces diversity and creates space for local and national agencies to gain power by driving the vision, mission and purpose and defending it against those who do not support it

● Seek to understand and act upon own areas for growth, reflecting and learning from things that have not gone so well by showing vulnerability and openness to change

● Create and promote a learning culture, authentically sharing own learning and supporting others to do the same at organisational, team and network level

● Anticipate the ‘what ifs’ and actively plan to navigate them together with the team, seeking collaborative solutions and drawing on those with relevant expertise


● Creative thinker, with experience of working with experimental approaches using innovation (particularly user-centred design) tools and methodologies

● Experience on rolling out complex organisational or programmatic structures, preferably within the humanitarian sector

● Driven by working in collaboration, which includes forging and maintaining effective and strong relationships across organisational boundaries, cultures, and often remotely

● Experience engaging a variety of stakeholders to contribute to delivering strategies

● Curiosity and understanding of innovative global network, and network growth, models

● Empathy driven team player with an ability to work flexibly and adapt to changing demands, which sometimes requires working out of office hours to collaborate with people across different time zones.

● Experience in supporting organisations on change management, organisational development and innovative programming (desirable)

● Working knowledge in one or more of the Hub languages (desirable)


We are tackling what we believe are the biggest systemic problems that the humanitarian sector faces. Start Network’s vision is for a locally-led humanitarian system that is accountable to people affected by and at-risk of crises. We aim to achieve this vision by making systemic-level shifts in the way humanitarian assistance is approached and delivered. To achieve this, we need a substantial change to the current structure evolving from the centralised structure of today to a dispersed, global network of hubs operating nationally and/ or regionally. We aim to:

  • Shift power and decentralise decision-making to locally led networks and organisations
  • Create a global humanitarian financing system that is increasing focused on reducing risk, anticipating and action ahead of predictable crises
  • Support a culture of learning and support communities to develop innovative solutions to humanitarian problems

The Start Network is at a critical point in its journey. We have grown and diversified our membership over the past 10 years. We are evolving into a decentralised “network of networks” in line with our vision.

We are currently working with five national and regional hubs made up of civil society organisations in Pakistan, DRC, Guatemala, India and the Pacific. They are defining their own change agenda and testing their own locally owned pathways to realising the change they want to see. We aim to support the emergence and development of further hubs in the coming years. Our ultimate ambition is to devolve leadership, membership, programming and decision making to the hubs, while the central team transitions to become a service provider.

For more information about our values and strategic priorities, please visit our website.

How to apply

We work with Applied, an online recruitment platform designed to allow teams to measure candidates on what actually matters. Rather than relying on CVs and cover letters, Applied allows you to demonstrate your skills and abilities through answering questions which are blind- reviewed by our team to avoid bias.

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