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Job Title:
Innovation Catalyst
Job ID:
Job Function:
Full/Part Time:
Job Category:
Program Administration
Washington, DC US
Business Unit:
Enterprise Strat & Innovtn Grp
Business Unit Description

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.

Summary Statement

The Innovation Catalyst is a big thinker, strategic thinker, team player, problem solver and articulate communicator who will play a led role in steering initiatives towards the creation of innovative solutions (products, programs & services) for the 50+. This individual will be the detail-oriented team member behind designing solution development plans and prototypes. As a strategic problem solver and innovation expert with design fluency, this role will involve supporting teams in the development of early stage concepts as well as participating in the charge for the development of innovations from early stage research through commercialization. This role will also work closely with external designers to develop higher fidelity prototypes for beta and in-market testing and validation.


Idea Conceptualization


  • Participate in teams utilizing human centered design processes as they develop innovations to move their ideas forward leading to tangible solutions
  • Develop the right stories and visual elements to conceptualize team ideas in communicating them to stakeholders and potential customers
  • Extract the essence of stakeholder problems and ideas to clearly identify challenge statements and ideas that are aligned with strategic and organizational goals
  • Develop early prototypes (e.g., basic wire framing) or 2d renderings of products in order to better conceptualize solutions
  • Design and implement initial experiments to test and validate solutions for refinement


Project Management


  • Devise clear solution development plans that propel solutions through experimentation, testing and refinement based on learnings
  • Participate in the solution development process for incremental, breakthrough and radical innovations and work alongside the internal AARP Issue/Enabler Partners to develop and design solutions
  • Drive innovation teams to prototype and prepare the case of action for approval and execution


Innovation Expert


  • Be able to empathize with stakeholders and consumers as they move through the innovation journey and help them understand how to navigate divergent and convergent phases of development
  • Possess mastery of innovation behaviors and have a true understanding of how to build on ideas, be open in one’s thinking and identify concepts in a real, tangible way
  • Be an acute listener and people person who can find ways to inspire and motivate teams (without direct oversight) in a manner that propels their solutions forward


Financial and budgetary responsibility

  • This position will be responsible for coordinating and tracking a budget for solution development activities such as design, prototyping and research 


Regular requirement of directing, reviewing and assigning others work

  • This position will occasionally direct, review and assign work to internal colleagues and external consultants

This position will require the ability to manage multiple innovation projects across the organization with varying degrees of oversight and guidance. This individual must possess a great deal of autonomy in decision-making and communications, know when to manage up and identify key areas of decision-making oversight.

This individual’s responsibilities include identifying challenges and developing plans for solution development in order to catalyze the development and creation of ideas with varying levels of complexity and feasibility. This individual will need to be able to clearly identify the criteria upon which decisions about ideas should be made and help steer teams in the direction of making autonomous decisions that will move their solutions forward.  Strong coordination, communication, storytelling, and low-fidelity design and prototyping skills are required for this position.

This position involves engaging with stakeholders in a consulting capacity in order to develop their solutions into market-ready innovations. This level of engagement will require strong communication, listening, and information synthesis and storytelling skills. This individual will regularly interact with members of the ES/EI leadership team as well as innovation project teams in a consulting and informative capacity. 

This position will have a direct impact on AARP’s success in developing innovative solutions today and in the future.  Responsible for developing clear and actionable solutions, this role will help teams move their solutions through the innovation pipeline by identifying key experiments and areas for refinement.


  • A minimum of 8+ years of product development experience required.
  • A bachelor’s degree in design, engineering, IT or business or equivalent experience required.
  • Must possess a high level of mastery of project leadership, coordination, idea evaluation, and experiment design. 
  • Moderate level of fluency in product design, prototyping and sketching required.
  • Demonstrated thought leadership in the practice and application of innovation and agile learning methodologies. 
  • Proven track record of developing solution plans and running idea pilots for results-oriented validation.


This individual must have superb verbal and visual communication skills in order to help teams understand how to describe and conceptualize their solutions in ways that further development.


The individual must be a clear and creative thinker combined with acute listening skills in order to ensure that team needs are met.


This individual will be perceived as the authority on solution development and refinement in moving solutions through the innovation pipeline. As such, this individual must understand the highs and lows

Benefits Offered

 AARP offers competitive benefits with a 401K, 100% company funded pension plan, health, dental, vision and life insurance, STD/LTD, paid vacation and sick, and other benefits.

Equal Employment Opportunity

AARP is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce and sustaining an inclusive culture.  AARP does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability, genetic information, veteran status, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

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