Innnovation Programs Manager

Chicago, Illinois | Freelance | Job ID #50494 |
Posted Last Month
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Our client, a Fortune 500 firm with offices in downtown Chicago, is seeking an Innovations Program Manager for a six-month onsite project.


  • Assist with in-flight pilot challenge activities and preparation for the launch of the innovation challenge program. Oversee activities related to the transition from pilot to fully operational global challenge program, and continue to evolve the program post-launch.
  • Build relationships with internal stakeholders across business functions and regions to create and maintain a steady calendar of meaningful business challenges in which colleagues can participate.
  • Provide coaching and support to teams interested in using the platform to present challenges to colleagues. Maintain and evolve support documentation to assist groups in running effective challenges on the platform, including how to quickly evaluate resulting ideas using innovation techniques.
  • Create and execute ongoing internal communication of the challenge program to raise awareness and encourage participation. Discussion will include the outcome of challenges, as well as solicitation of program feedback, future challenge suggestions, and education on innovation techniques that people can use in their business teams.
  • Oversee and evolve activities related to innovation challenges, such as scoring approaches, awards and recognition, challenge types, communication methods, and potential cross-functional team formation to explore a challenge idea further.
  • Manage software vendor relationship, including coordination of consulting and support activities, configuration updates, and workflow modifications.
  • Lead the roll-out of a program to support corporate colleagues. Roll-out activities will include program guideline definition, best practices documentation, logistics definition in partnership with counterpart, pilot activities, and internal communication about the program availability.
  • Coordinate research and test activities with a designated counterpart, including resource and space availability, timing, and marketing to colleagues and customers
  • Provide coaching and input to corporate colleagues interested in using design thinking or other innovation techniques to explore ideas within their area.
  • Utilize various communication channels to educate corporate colleagues on the program, including benefits, results, and when to consider utilizing it within their business function.
  • Continuously evolve the program based on customer and colleague feedback.
  • Prioritize and manage workload to meet aggressive deadlines. Adjust approach, scope or timelines as appropriate, balancing objectives with resource availability.
  • Establish and maintain working relationships across business and technology teams, at Corporate and in the field.
  • Actively contribute to Innovation team processes based on lessons learned through project execution.


Experience and Qualifications:

  • Must be intellectually curious and enjoy learning new things. Enjoy working in a “think tank” environment where ideation, continually embracing change, being restless with the status quo and seeking reinvention is part of the culture.
  • Be comfortable working in ambiguity, running tests to learn and inform the direction an idea should take rather than assuming the answer is already known.
  • Project management experience with projects of varying types and sizes, from initiation and planning to implementation and budget oversight, to completion.
  • 5+ years of related experience required.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Degree in business, economics, finance, marketing, organizational psychology or related field desired.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills that contribute to overall organizational performance and to a positive, creative work environment.
  • Extensive relationship building skills, with the ability to work with people from many disciplines and backgrounds at all levels of various organizations.
  • A passion for purpose and precision – including the details.
  • Knowledge and some practical application of human-centered design and the product development cycle. Familiarity with Lean Startup, Jobs to be Done, and related methodologies is a plus.
  • Ability to operate with limited direction / supervision using: effective planning, time management, organization, prioritization, and attention to detail skills.
  • Have a demonstrated analytical skills, sound judgment, problem identification, problem resolution, and decision-making skills — effective demonstration of determining options and selecting appropriate strategies or methods.
  • High degree of professionalism, tact, and sensitivity to strengthen the team’s image within the organization.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. Degree in business, economics, finance, marketing, organizational psychology or related field desired.

Does this sound like your skill set and experience? Contact us today! 



  • The client is unable to support 1099 / Corp-to-Corp or Independent Contractor arrangements at this time. All freelancers will be paid as W2 employees.
  • In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire.
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