Senior Behavioral Design Specialist

  • Kenya
Start Date (Earliest):

About Busara

Since 2014, Busara has evolved from a small behavioral science lab in Nairobi into a boutique research and advisory organization. Our diverse team of over 130 staff from 15+ countries has engaged in diverse projects across more than 50 countries in sectors like agriculture, health, governance and inclusive finance. While headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, we have expanded our footprint with offices now in India, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Latin America. 

About the role:

The Senior Behavioral Design Specialist in the Technical Vertical plays a pivotal role in ensuring the technical excellence and innovation of our behavioral science projects across the Global South. Leading a dynamic team, the team lead is responsible for upholding the highest quality assurance standards in Behavioral Design, in the execution of research projects and promoting a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration. Additionally, they spearhead the development and improvement of training initiatives and resources aimed at fostering a culture of continuous learning and excellence among Busarians. This role also serves as the primary interface with external clients as well as internal clients, ensuring that projects are aligned with Busara's methodologies and insights, while also partnering with senior leadership to identify and secure growth opportunities.

Key Accountabilities/Responsibilities

Quality Assurance and Technical Leadership

  • Uphold the highest standards in project development and delivery, ensuring all work adheres to the established quality assurance protocols and benchmarks.
  • Review and assess their team member’s outputs and deliverables to ensure all work meets high-quality standards.
  • Collaborate with internal teams and external stakeholders to maintain high technical standards and promote best practices.
  • Lead and mentor team members across various technical disciplines, ensuring that projects are executed with the highest level of professionalism and expertise.
  • Engage with clients to understand their technical needs, discuss project outcomes, and implications, ensuring alignment with Busara's methodologies and consistent delivery of insights.
  • Continuously develop and refine internal processes and methodologies to sustain the organization’s leadership in the industry.
  • Apply behavioral science principles to design solutions that address user needs and project objectives effectively.
  • Lead the development of prototypes and pilot studies to test behavioral interventions in various contexts.
  • Conduct iterative testing and feedback sessions to refine interventions based on real-world interactions and user feedback.
  • Collaborate with teams to integrate behavioral insights into broader project frameworks.
  • Promote a deep understanding of the target populations through continuous engagement and empathy-building exercises among team members.

Business Development (Internal and External)

  • Collaborate with senior leadership to identify and secure new growth opportunities, including partnerships and client engagements.
  • Build and maintain relationships with external and internal stakeholders, including clients, industry partners, and engagement directors to foster business development.
  • Partner with VPs and the Senior Technical Director to source, pursue, and secure opportunities for contracts, and actively engage in thought leadership by writing and speaking about innovative methods and approaches beneficial to Busara's growth and expertise.
  • Proactively identify and pursue technical opportunities and collaborative initiatives across different portfolios.
  • Proactively design internal research, thought pieces, and demos to help facilitate new research offerings and service lines.
  • Support Busara’s strategic planning by identifying markets of interest, future service lines, high-priority partnerships, and priority investments.

Capacity Building

  • Develop, implement, and improve internal training programs, workshops, and other educational initiatives to enhance the professional skills and knowledge of Research and Advisory team members, promoting a culture of continuous learning and excellence. 
  • Lead the identification and execution of capacity-building initiatives that target both individual development and team performance, to meet and generate demand internally.
  • Coach and mentor Associates, Analysts, and Technical Vertical team members, focusing on continuous improvement and professional growth.
  • Build and maintain a strong talent pipeline with necessary skills and competencies needed to support and contribute to portfolio teams, as required. 
  • Facilitate cross-functional knowledge sharing to leverage diverse expertise and promote collaborative learning.

Team Management and Organizational Engagement

  • Collaborate with the senior director to ensure financial sustainability of your subteam through improved financial management and reporting integration with Busara’s Finance department.
  • Drive the sub-team's strategy by setting annual targets, managing any team-building events, and ensuring clear, division harmony on priorities for the organization. 
  • Serve as a member of the technical vertical leadership team contributing to the development and execution of the vertical’s strategy, cascading organizational/vertical’s goals and objectives to team members, holding other team members accountable, and making all subteam hiring decisions.
  • Serve as Direct Managers to specialists, analysts and other team members as required. 
  • Ensure the subteam’s compliance with organizational policies, procedures, and industry regulations.
  • Serve on internal committees when necessary.
  • Perform any other duty as may be assigned by the Senior Director or equivalent.

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Minimum of 7 years of work experience in the global south, with at least 3 years in project and team management in a related field.
  • Deep skill set and proven track record in one or more of the following design disciplines: Product design, service design, digital design & prototyping, and/or information visualization.
  • Expert knowledge of HCD and Design Thinking methods and tools such as ethnographic or contextual research, concept generation, prototyping, usability study, information architecture, interaction design, etc.
  • Strong research, synthesis, ideation and visual storytelling skills. Strong ability to present information in a concise, insightful, structured and provocative manner, both in written and oral forms.
  • Extensive experience in a client-delivery role such as management consulting or an internal innovation team.
  • Demonstrated leadership of a small to moderately sized team (5 to 10 people), especially with multicultural and multinational backgrounds, and the ability to mentor mid-level staff and young professionals.
  • Ability to develop and manage projects while sustaining a global focus and vision for institutional planning and decision-making;
  • Demonstrated ability in building and managing relationships with external partners and funders.
  • Experience working in one or more of the substantive areas of international development (e.g., sustainability, financial services, healthcare, gender equity, agriculture), either within development itself or in the business or non-profit sector.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, proposal writing skills, and the ability to present complex information clearly to diverse international audiences.
  • Excellent management and organizational skills.
  • Flexible, self-motivating, able to manage multiple tasks efficiently, and a team player.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in Experience Design, Human Centered Design (HCD), Design, Social Sciences.
  • Deep understanding of behavioral economics principles and theories 
  • Ability to apply behavioral science frameworks to real-world design problems
  • Strong analytical skills to interpret behavioral data and draw insights
  • Mastery of HCD processes (e.g., user research, prototyping, testing)
  • Ability to integrate behavioral science principles into the HCD workflow
  • Proven experience in designing and conducting research studies
  • Skilled in data analysis and interpretation to inform design decisions
  • Experience with A/B testing and other experimentation methodologies

Desired Qualifications

  • A Master’s degree or PhD in Experience Design, Human Centered Design (HCD), Design, Social Sciences e.g. Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, International Development and Humanities, Economics, Public Policy, or related fields.
  • Familiarity with and interest in behavioral economics or science
  • Previous experience conducting research in developing countries
  • Experience working with public and private sector clients
  • Knowledge of evidence-based interventions for behavior change
  • Cultural sensitivity, creativity, and resourcefulness
  • Willingness to travel domestically and internationally

How to Apply

As applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the vacancy is filled, you are encouraged to submit your application soonest possible.