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Illustration containing title of the page: Work

for Innovation Unit

Create impact, reduce inequalities, transform systems

Are you energised by digging into problems and challenging assumptions? Are you inspired by designing new solutions to big social challenges? Are you motivated by helping people transform the systems around them?

Working at Innovation Unit might be your next big adventure.

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Innovation Unit’s mission

Innovation Unit is a not for profit social enterprise with a mission to grow and scale the boldest and best innovations that deliver long-term impact for people, address persistent inequalities, and transform the systems that surround them.

We have extensive years experience of doing this work with ambitious partners in local and central government, schools and hospitals, voluntary and community sector organisations, trusts and foundations.

What's it like to work at IU?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to how we work. This means members of our team could be focused on one significant project for a lengthy period of time, or could be working across two to three projects for shorter bursts.

We have a clear team structure and leadership, and we are not keen on hierarchy. We encourage everyone to use their initiative, take responsibility and manage risk. We help everyone to learn and grow through informal and structured development.

We encourage learning and flexibility – so we help people adapt to each new piece of work through strong team leadership and connections with others for ideas, advice and support.

And we offer a range of benefits including pension contributions, pension salary exchange scheme, life cover, childcare vouchers, agile hours and generous 27 days leave plus Bank Holidays and Christmas closure.


Who works at IU?

We have colleagues in London, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and places in between, with access to offices in central London and Manchester. Our people have a range of backgrounds – some, not all, have worked in innovation and our areas of focus before; everyone has transferable skills which bring new ideas, creativity and energy into the organisation. We have researchers, service designers and programme managers working alongside nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and central and local government leaders.

We put lived experience at the heart of the work we do at Innovation Unit – whether through co-design, storytelling or participatory research. Much of our work is place based and within the mental health, health, children’s social care, and criminal justice systems. 

We are committed to becoming an anti-racist organisation, and strongly encourage people of colour to apply. We also welcome applications by candidates from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, those with disabilities as well as those who identify with any other underrepresented group. 

Apply to work at Innovation Unit

At Innovation Unit we use Applied for our recruitment. Applied aims to overcome unconscious bias in recruiting. Instead of using your CV alone, we’ll be asking you to answer questions to test skills needed for the role. The responses are then anonymised, and reviewed in a random order by members of our team. 

The Applied platform also asks some demographic questions before you start your application. We at Innovation Unit never see the responses to these demographic questions with your application. We only see summary statistics to help us check if our candidate pool is balanced and if everyone has an equal chance to get hired irrespective of their background. If you prefer, you can easily opt out of answering these questions.

Innovation Unit is an accredited Living Wage Employer and is committed to paying a wage based on the cost of living to all their staff.

Living Wage Employer



Jobs at Innovation Unit

We have a strong team ethos where we combine our skills and experiences to create the biggest impact.

  • Principal Innovation Consultants and Directors lead our largest, most complex projects, managing multiple budgets over £600k and teams of more than seven people.
  • Senior Innovation Consultants lead significant projects and work as part of the team on larger projects, also managing partners, budgets up to £200k and teams of around three to seven people.
  • Innovation Consultants lead small to medium projects and work as part of the team on large projects, also managing partners, budgets up to £50k and teams of around two to five people.
  • Senior Associates and Associates work across IU’s projects where they lead on or contribute to strands of work based on their specific strengths, knowledge and expertise.
  • Heads of Service Design lead and contribute to large projects, designing and embedding new solutions, also leading the development of our practice and people in service design.
  • Senior Service Designers work in project teams, leading projects and a small team as well as undertaking research, prototyping and co-design.
  • Service Designers work in project teams, leading elements of projects as well as undertaking research, prototyping and co-design.
  • Our Board of Trustees bring diverse experience and skills to support and challenge IU to greater success.

When there are vacancies at Innovation Unit, you can find them on this page.