Cycle Connect is Hiring a Head of Innovations

Reports to: Managing Director

Location: Northern Uganda (Gulu and Lira)

 

About Cycle Connect

At Cycle Connect, we believe that distance should not be a barrier to opportunity and that is why we work on serving last mile farmers in Uganda. To deliver on this, we offer products and services to rural farmers in Uganda on a financing plan. 

Millions of farmers are financially excluded and yet need access to assets on credit. We reach the most rural customers and offer low barrier loan terms built for farmers, enabling them to increase their income and in turn propel their communities forward. 

We began our full-time operations in 2014. We have a growing number of assets in our portfolio, including oxen and plough, bicycles, motorcycles, grinding machines, and a pipeline for even more asset-financing. To date, we have worked with over 10,000 farmers across two different branches and put together by 40 team members. We are venturing through an exciting time of growth throughout Uganda and are therefore looking to expand our team.

 

Job Summary   

As a start-up social enterprise, we’re doing something never done before in this market and are looking for a Head of Innovations to push our team’s boundaries on experimentation and achieving product-market-fit across multiple regions and product lines. 

You’ll be the champion of innovation and experimentation at Cycle Connect and ultimately lead our team on initiatives that drive the future of the company. 

 

Your Responsibilities

Your team is tasked with achieving product-market-fit in all areas of the current operation and establishing how to achieve this in future areas of operation. With millions of farmers financially excluded, we see the need to not only serve a portion of this market gap, but wholly disrupt the market in a sustainable way, which to us means achieving product-market-fit across all offerings and the company as a whole. 

Therefore your responsibilities include ensuring: 

  1. That experimentation happens. 

And that it happens across the entire organization. This will involve cultivating curiosity throughout our entire team, including creating a culture where team members value surprises and see failures not as mistakes, but as opportunities for learning. 

This will additionally involve systematizing the experimentation to include all team members in the company and to track and manage all of the data and results. 

  1. That experimentation happens well and is useful to the company. 

Meaning, it must: 

  1. Be robust, reliable, and maintain a high-quality process with high-quality data.
  2. Be unbiased. 
  3. Have key findings that rise to the top and are communicated throughout the company, becoming institutional knowledge for all to see. 
  4. Be conducted with high integrity and very ethically sensitive. We are not about experimentation at all costs, but rather meaningful experimentation that takes into account our client’s situation and perspective.
  1. That innovation happens with ever-increasing speed and frequency

We need you to drive it to be: cost-effective, efficient, and gain validation per each time period. 

This translates to a large number of small pilots that are continuously iterated on, over a smaller number of bigger pilots. We value quantity in experimentation and it is your responsibility to drive this throughout the company. 

  1. That all of this experimentation adds up and pushes Cycle to become a more sustainable impactful business with increased profits and strong competitive advantage. 

To make this happen, you’ll contribute to setting and managing Cycle’s objectives and key results (OKRs) to ensure that they align with the innovations agenda. You’ll additionally own and communicate widely an ever-updated business model canvas and a prioritized assumption list. 

All throughout the process, you’ll ensure that the experimentation meaningfully moves the needle. We want market disruption with impact, which means we are not looking for incremental change, but truly meaningful ones. 

In order to do this, we expect you to continuously learn and bring in the most relevant subject matter expertise for the benefit of the company. 

 

Who are we looking for: 

These are our must-have skills and requirements. 

  • -Research: you have served as the lead investigator and are experienced with both quantitative and qualitative research. 
  • -Start-up experience: you have contributed meaningfully to a start-up’s success, including either being early on an employee of a new venture or acting as an intrapreneur for a new initiative within a company. You have strong business acumen. 
  • -Field experience: You have lived and worked upcountry before, including several years outside of Kampala.
  • -Team and project management: you have a track record of facilitating and coaching to achieve results. 
  • -Systems builder: you are able to build systems from scratch and understand how processes and data flow between departments and teams. You’re acutely aware of how information needs to flow across different teams and can connect the dots to build the streamlined system yourself. 
  • -Ugandan team leadership: you have successfully supported and influenced a Ugandan team to adopt an innovation culture and processes. 
  • -Innovation techniques: You have a strong practical (and theoretical) understanding of prototyping, lean and other innovative techniques. You have demonstrated results with them. 
  • -Cycle Connect values: you uphold our core values of humility, accessibility, and integrity. 

 

 

Do NOT apply if: 

  • -You have no research experience. 
  • -You only have a traditional corporate background. You must have worked for at least one start-up and we will not consider candidates who only have experience with larger entities where they did not serve to create a new market or product. 
  • -You only worked in a very small entity that has no or very little, structure with less than 5 staff. 
  • -You have not previously led a team and collaborated on projects across different departments.

 

Other Information 

Work location will be in Gulu, with frequent travel to our branch in Lira. Compensation is commensurate with experience. Additional benefits include health insurance and professional development. We will agree on a 6-month probation period with learning and performance objectives after which we offer a two-year contract. 

Ugandan nationals are strongly encouraged to apply. 

 

Want to apply? 

  1. Take a look at our website to see how you resonate with what we do. 
  2. Fill out the online application form under this link: https://forms.gle/Gb9fp2oTB3kxw677A 
  3. You will upload your CV in PDF format into the form. Please ensure that it is tailored to this role and has no more than 3 pages. 

Deadline for applications is 1st March with earlier submissions encouraged.