The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives.
The Lemelson Foundation is a private family foundation based in Portland, Oregon, with a unique focus on improving lives through invention. Established by prolific US inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy in the early 1990s, and guided today by the Lemelson family, The Lemelson Foundation has investment assets of around $360 million and an annual budget of approximately $18 million. All told, the Foundation has provided over $210 million in grants and other investments to hundreds of organizations around the world.
We believe that invention is essential for creating the future we all want. We support Impact Invention, focusing on inventions that have positive social impact, are environmentally responsible, and can become financially self-sustaining products and businesses. We aspire to strengthen the invention ecosystem and empower inventors to solve the biggest local, regional, and global challenges and opportunities of our time, whether it’s ensuring equal access to a healthy life, providing clean water and sanitation, developing clean energy alternatives and cost-effective medical devices, rethinking how the world grows, shares and consumes its food, or building a strong and stable economy. We work to create a pathway for invention by inspiring and educating the next generation of inventors, and cultivating the entrepreneurial environments needed to support invention-based businesses. The ultimate goal of our programs is to build a more resilient economy in the US and address the needs of the poor in developing countries.
We approach our work using a three-part framework we call impact inventing:
- Inventions should have positive social impact;
- Inventions should be environmentally responsible—from the materials and processes used through final products that go to market; and
- Business models should become financially self-sustaining.
The Lemelson Foundation has created an internal culture of collaboration, continuous learning, and innovation. An entrepreneurial environment with huge flexibility and opportunities for impact has allowed the small team of 11 to create an outsized presence for the Foundation. Commitment to diversity is one of The Lemelson Foundation’s core values as we work to foster an inclusive work environment. We cannot do our work without collaboration among people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds.
In the spirit of inquiry, learning and collaboration, all Foundation team members have the opportunity to periodically accompany Program Officers on site visits and engage directly with grantees and partners for ongoing exposure to the work of the Foundation.
Our Strategy and Impact
The Foundation continues to learn and evolve in its approach to achieving impact against strategy. Based on learning during the 2017-2021 strategy creation, staff identified an opportunity to enhance our impact through greater involvement in:
- Creating and mobilizing communities of practice amongst practitioners, funders, and members of fields aligned with our work.
- Capturing, documenting, and disseminating relevant evidence and stories.
- Targeting key influencers with compelling evidence in support of our mission and the actions needed to ensure support for inventors and invention-based businesses.
To do this we have committed to:
- Mining and capturing more relevant background evidence from literature in a systematic way that would support our strategy and initiatives.
- Capturing and documenting compelling stories to support our key priorities and initiatives.
- Commissioning and/or supporting research to create proof points relevant to our priorities and approaches.
- Organizing our learning, evidence, and stories in a system of record that is intuitive (SharePoint currently).
- More effectively sharing this knowledge to influence the perspectives of key internal and external stakeholders on the importance of invention, invention education, and invention-based enterprises to economies and addressing local, national, and global challenges.
- More intentionally identifying connections between initiatives and across the arc of our overarching strategy, and capitalizing on those to amplify our impact.
A New Position: Senior Analyst
The Senior Analyst is a newly created position developed to enhance our internal capacity to identify, capture, analyze, and effectively manage and use data, evidence and stories to support three key objectives:
- Learning from our work to understand impact and inform strategy;
- Sharing our progress and understanding with the Board and Advisory Committee; and,
- Documenting the case for our priorities with key thought leaders and influencers more broadly.
This work draws deeply on the knowledge and relationships of the Program Officers, the strategic guidance of the Communications Officer and activities of external communications consultants, and the overarching guidance and facilitation of the Leadership Team (Executive Director, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, and the Senior Director of Strategy). The Senior Analyst will report to the Senior Director of Strategy. The position is based in Portland, Oregon.
- Work with team to assist with virtual data and evidence collection from existing data sources such as online reports, white papers, articles, legislation, etc. and provide for a means of aggregation, storage, and analysis for foundation purposes and projects.
- Work with Program Officers and the Leadership Team to design and manage research projects of interest to The Lemelson Foundation.
- Projects will vary by complexity and the Senior Analyst role will vary by project, including direct creation and management, management of external parties, collaboration with Program Officers or leadership that will manage the research, and/or involvement through oversight and data capture/management only.
Synthesis and Analysis
- Engage deeply with research, evidence, and external articles that are generated or identified by the team or Senior Analyst for each initiative.
- Mine the available data, information, and communication pieces in SharePoint; synthesize and share initiative specific and/or cross-cutting findings internally or externally that relate to the Foundation’s overarching strategy and identify compelling stories and evidence that support our influence goals.
- Assist the Program Officers in identifying data and research gaps in their initiative.
- Ensure integrity of data in SharePoint; develop a framework to tag and store information in the current internal data portal in a logical and intuitive manner for ease of retrieval by the Senior Analyst and team members for use in a variety of internal and external uses. Work with Program Officers to ensure the information is current.
- Build internal systems and processes for knowledge management in coordination with the Leadership team, IT team, Program Officers, Communications Officer, and associated contractors and vendors. This will require internal stakeholder engagement, buy-in, and management. Many of the processes will be new to the Foundation and will require the Senior Analyst to iterate over time to find the best solution.
Thought Leadership and Communications Support
- Assist Program Officers in identifying and distilling data, information, or communications to be shared externally as part of thought leadership in their initiative areas.
- Manage the process to generate the research, evidence, and data to support creation of case studies and communications products that the Foundation and partners will use to make the case for the importance of invention both broadly, and as part of each initiative.
- Identify materials/content for the website and assist in identifying connections and stories across the initiatives and overall strategy.
- Support staff, including the Executive Director and Senior Director of Strategy, by mining and integrating relevant information into slides, speeches, figures, and other forms of communication in support of individual initiatives and overarching Foundation messages.
Contact Relationship Management
- Collaborate with the Senior Director of Strategy and Communications Officer to fully implement a CRM system; identify needs and manage external contracts to build the platform.
- Work with Program Officers, Communications and IT leads, and Grants Manager to manage and oversee the customization of CRM software that fits the Foundation’s needs.
- Lead and manage the implementation and change management process by providing guidance to staff and working with them to ensure usability of the CRM platform.
- Ensure population of the CRM system data is, and remains, up-to-date and of high quality.
- Drive the annual Progress Update process under the direction of the Senior Director of Strategy and in partnership with the program team and leadership, mining content from SharePoint.
- Work with the Senior Director of Strategy, external consultants and internal staff resources to generate the content for the Progress Update.
- In conjunction with the Senior Director of Strategy, manage external resources that organize and format the Progress Update content.
- Leverage developed content into a finished product that can be used internally and externally.
The Ideal Candidate
The Senior Analyst is personally and intellectually drawn to The Lemelson Foundation’s mission and is motivated by the opportunity to work across the Foundation as a champion of shared learning, insights, and knowledge management. The ideal candidate will share with every Foundation employee a deep personal connection to our work and embrace our commitment to positive social change, economic growth, and environmental responsibility. The Senior Analyst has a passion for and curiosity about the topics of interest to the Foundation and the ability to quickly learn about those topics. We seek individuals who are driven to contribute and bring positive energy to influence our culture of inquiry, learning, and collaboration.
A naturally inquisitive, lifelong learner, the Senior Analyst is energized by building knowledge across a broad range of priority issues. The ideal candidate is wired to identify key points and supportive evidence, spot compelling stories, and quickly see connections, opportunities, and intersections. Their innate interest in this work fuels a proactive and forward-looking approach, following trends, anticipating changes, and potential impacts. Strong listening and synthesizing skills are essential, along with the ability and desire to capture, distill, and share what is important, why it matters, and how it relates to our work.
The Senior Analyst is an excellent communicator with heightened analytical skills and an innate understanding of the importance of data integrity. The ideal candidate is a born organizer and lover of data, systems, and tools. We expect a high degree of self-awareness and the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands.
An upbeat bridge-builder, the successful candidate must foster a positive, professional atmosphere and develop trusting relationships with Foundation staff and board. With strong interpersonal skills and an approachable style, the Senior Analyst is a collaborative team player, effective communicator, and empathetic listener who can influence our learning and impact.
A minimum of five years professional experience is required for consideration. Significant experience with research and evidence collection coupled with excellent analytical and data mining skills are essential. Candidates who exhibit deep intellectual curiosity and a strong willingness to learn and further develop their knowledge and expertise in the areas where the Foundation works are well suited for the position.
Familiarity with or experience in the fields of invention, education, entrepreneurship, and/or global development is beneficial. Multi-sector experience across cultures and countries is valuable, as is experience in philanthropy, policy, or management consulting. Knowledge of information management systems and programs, experience using such systems, and demonstrated ability to learn quickly is critical. A Bachelor’s degree is required and a Master’s degree or work experience in a related field of study such as International Development, Data Science, or Public Policy is an asset.