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Head Defence Innovation Unit

The Defence Innovation Initiative, 'Advantage through Innovation', was launched in September 2016 as a key theme within the 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review.

The aim of the Defence Innovation Initiative is to maintain the military edge of the UK's Armed Forces into the decade ahead and beyond. More specifically, it aims to: embed innovation into strategic planning and conceptual development; to catalyse innovative ideas across the Defence Enterprise; and to more rapidly realise innovative solutions to the challenges we face.

We are seeking a Deputy Director for Defence Innovation who is dynamic and passionate. A great communicator, with a proven ability to work with an array of stakeholders in a large complex organisation.


Job description

The successful candidate will lead the Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) – a central Strategy and Policy team within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Head Office, established to help Defence to develop and embed innovative thinking and approaches throughout the Defence enterprise. Working across the Department, the team oversees and coheres innovation and plans how we fund, resource, and drive Innovation across Defence. This requires both clarity of thinking about our long-term goals and a focus on practical delivery of current innovative projects, including finding imaginative solutions to problems and maintain the momentum to change the way Defence operates. It also involves seeking opportunities to collaborate more effectively with other Government Departments and International Partners and allies.

Working to the SCS2 Director for Defence Innovation, the post-holder has direct responsibility for 17 staff and coherence of activities across the wider Defence Ecosystem. Budget responsibilities are significant, at around £800 million over several years, which includes the Defence Innovation Fund and operating budgets for the unit. Given the current delegated model of Defence Innovation, the post holder will need significant and sustained engagement with all Directorates and Commands within Defence and other organisations that comprise the Innovation ecosystem including across Whitehall, with international partners and with industry and academia. The chosen candidate will have effective stakeholder management skills, at the most senior levels.

For more information, please see the attached Candidate Information Pack.


To be successful in this role, you will be an outstanding leader capable of managing a broad portfolio of work with a degree of autonomy, and will need to demonstrate your capability and potential against the following criteria:

• The ability to create and present a compelling vision and set clear direction, motivating others to work towards a common goal.

• The ability to lead in an environment of uncertainty and continual rapid change. Comfortable making decisions and setting direction without having the full picture, applying knowledge and experience to reduce ambiguity.

• Sound judgment in providing strategic advice, constructive challenge and support to subject matter experts.

• Track record of quickly building strong stakeholder relationships at all levels, able to navigate politically sensitive issues.

• Demonstrable experience of developing high performing teams and be a visible and inspirational member of the MOD’s senior leadership team.

• A creative mindset partnered with the necessary skills to solve challenges. Encouraging and supporting innovation, willing to experiment and follow ideas through to implementation.

• Whilst not essential, it would be desirable for your application to demonstrate experience of working in innovation or science and technology.
Apply today!