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Consultant, Ideas to Innovation

CFAR: Consulting and Coaching
Mantua, New Jersey
Closing date
Oct 29, 2021

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Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
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We are seeking a professional who is passionate about learning, ideas, and their application to a vibrant consulting practice! The I2I (Ideas to Innovation) Manager will serve in two critical capacities.

First, as a member of the CFAR consulting team: The I2I Manager will work on several consulting engagements at any given time, contributing fully as a project team member and learning CFAR's methods and approaches. These engagements will serve to ground the I2I Manager in our work.

Second, as ideas "lead": The I2I Manager will partner with a team of consultants-from Founders and senior leaders to new Managers-to drive the effort of distilling and embedding learning (drawn from their own immersion in client work and rigorous collaboration with colleagues) about CFAR's unique methods, approaches, and ideas across the firm. These learnings will represent both further insights on CFAR's core ideas, grounded in systems thinking, as well as new innovations; work on consulting projects will represent application of these learnings.

Taken together, the I2I Manager's ultimate strategic task will be to help identify, develop, and institutionalize ideas, innovations, and practices that can become a part of CFAR's consultancy and generate value for the firm.

A multi-dimensional role by nature, the ideal I2I Manager candidate will be passionate about things like:
  • Serious discussion and debate about complex subjects-being able to back up points of view with experience and/or outside research
  • The latest ideas and topics in business literature
  • Taking complex, often academic ideas and translating them into accessible, readily understood principles to be applied in the service of resolving client dilemmas
  • Working and building relationships with a diverse team of colleagues
  • Connecting the dots, seeing the trees for the forest, and drawing conclusions from both a granular and a high-level view

Who are we?

Born out of the intellectual and academic movements of the 1970s and 1980s, The Center for Applied Research, Inc. (CFAR) began as the only multi-disciplinary research center within the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After roughly 10 years inside Wharton, by mutual agreement and continuing support, CFAR was spun out to become as private firm in 1987. Our Founders joined together as serious thinkers with deep mutual respect and a shared belief that they could make it work as a private consulting firm with academic roots that included continuing ties to Wharton. Their combination of skills, assets, creativity and professional experience laid the foundation for what CFAR is today. Our firm's founding rested on the understanding that, while analytics are neither hard nor soft alone, the deliberate, systematic combination of financial, marketing, and other kinds of metrics with the people dimensions of organizational life, the interpersonal and group experiences that animate organizations so they close the gap in realizing their potential, will always accelerate getting to the heart of what does and does not work for organizations with high aspirations.

As our name indicates, CFAR has always been a consulting firm with an "applied" focus: we bring ideas to life through our work, using them to resolve very practical and often elusive dilemmas that get in the way of organizational excellence. We believe ideas can be a pathway to resolving issues inside organizations-ideas applied.

What is I2I?

An internal working group, I2I was formed to institutionalize ideas by evolving them into a set of codified, scalable, and accessible innovations that as a whole represent CFAR. I2I is a cross-sector, role-spanning group that is led by a CFAR Founder and includes other senior leaders, Managers, and Support Staff. As a team, I2I is responsive (to client needs, emerging trends, etc.) while remaining firmly grounded in the academic traditions of systems thinking, psychodynamics, economics, etc.

I2I's goals include:
  • Establish a framework to focus our efforts on turning ideas into innovation
  • Clarify how innovation will be supported by the firm; create commitment to putting the time in to do the work of turning ideas into innovation
  • Measure and track the progress of our collective work of turning ideas into innovation

I2I is a fun, dynamic team, peopled with serious thinkers who take pride in their work. The I2I Manager will ultimately drive our work around codification and innovation, in partnership with the I2I Leader and other key leaders across the firm.

Specific responsibilities for the I2I Manager include:
  • Under the guidance of I2I Leader (a CFAR Founder), set priorities, goals, and a workplan for idea development at CFAR, with the opportunity to assume increasing leadership of the area over time
  • Serve on one to three consulting engagements at any given time, in order to ground ideas in current practice and stay close to our applied work
  • Lead regular project reflection meetings to create space for team-based learning and draw pattern-level lessons to be further developed, shared, and applied across the firm
  • Support the further development of a firm curriculum that highlights core ideas, and connects resources, cases, and useful content to support the continued training of the firm's consulting staff
  • Sustain, develop, and/or implement mechanisms to bring thinking and learning into the work of the firm-e.g., book clubs and other discussion forums
  • Be a thinking partner and driver of a writing agenda, in partnership with senior consultants, to support the advancement of CFAR ideas in the market

Though not set in stone, the ideal I2I Manager candidate will hold some combination of these requirements:
  • Advanced degree in business or social science
  • Five-plus years of experience in a professional services setting, ideally as a consultant with experience applying ideas and methods in client settings
  • Experience with applied research in a relevant field (e.g., psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology)
  • Knowledge of (and ideally experience with) academic and/or business publishing
  • An understanding of stakeholder engagement and leading stimulating, inclusive processes that generate peoples' best ideas (and make good use of their time)

Other details:

Location: Boston, MA or Philadelphia, PA

Travel: You can expect to spend anywhere from 10% to 30% of your time traveling to client sites.

This percentage is not fixed, and will vary over time. In any given month, it may be lower or higher depending on the location of your clients.

For now, we are conducting nearly all of our work remotely to ensure the safety of our staff and our clients.

Visas: CFAR is not providing visa sponsorship for this position.

How to apply: If you believe you have the skills, qualifications, and passion to contribute to our growing firm, please send a cover letter and résumé to

We look forward to hearing from you!
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