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04 Becoming limitless

We’re all in; doing whatever it takes to ensure we frame our work through a digital lens. It’s a bottom-up plan that never forgets our clients and partners come first.

4 Significant opportunities

The Activation Plan explains how the Digital Strategy will be put in place. It establishes how we will encourage UNDP colleagues to work through the lens of different digital technologies.

The Activation Plan is informed by these core principles:

  • Digital enables the business
  • Capacity should serve clients first
  • Data is knowledge
  • Start small and scale fast

Digital Strategy Activation Plan

The Digital Strategy Activation Plan runs through to the end of 2021, in unison with the Strategic Plan. It consists of three workstreams that will establish a foundation upon which the entirety of UNDP can seek out and embrace existing and emerging digital technology to better serve its partners in their efforts to achieve the SDGs.

The workstreams balance top-down direction setting with bottom-up creativity and appreciation of UNDP’s existing digital ecosystem.

Establish leadership for the digital transformation

  • Chief Digital-UNDP Officer
  • Digital Champions

Enable IT to deliver digital transformation

  • Aligning the IT Strategy and Digital Strategy
  • Service-oriented IT as business partner

Empower and inspire businesses and increase their digital capabilities

  • Foster innovation
  • Digital literacy
  • Digital communication
  • Alliances & ecosystem
  • Lighthouse initiatives

4.1.1   Workstream 1: Establish leadership for the digital transformation

  • The Chief Digital-UNDP Officer (CDO) is a new senior level position that ‘drives’ the Digital Strategy. The CDO will be at the intersection of IT and the business of the organization to drive the digital transformation, based on the business priorities. The role will become obsolete after digital is embedded throughout the organization. A new digital governance mechanism will equip the CDO with the right tools and transparent decision-making processes to support investments. The CDO will work closely with UNDP’s Office of Information Management and Technology to ensure effective translation of business needs. The CDO will interact with the all bureaus to tap into resources which are using digital.
  • Digital Champions will have a passion and enthusiasm for digital technologies and will help identify business-related digital needs, as well as promoting digital capabilities and initiatives. As our ‘digital ambassadors’, they will see opportunities for using digital to improve how we work, and will share the best ideas with those who can use them. A Champions Community within the Community of Practice network will be established to provide a knowledge exchange forum. An incentive system will be introduced to raise awareness and motivation for the Digital Champions programme.

4.1.2  Workstream 2: Enable IT to deliver digital transformation

  • Aligning the IT Strategy and Digital Strategy will be crucial. To exploit digital information, and UNDP’s vast data assets, we will require a clear data strategy and adequate data governance, including a process for aggregating, collecting and evaluating UNDP and third-party data. Future IT sourcing and vendor management will be redefined and described as part of the IT Strategy to leverage the knowledge of IT.
  • Service-oriented IT as business partner: UNDP’s IT capabilities will be strengthened to establish a proactive, client-oriented service. This will be achieved with modular customer-centric technology that is flexible enough to quickly develop new services. A core IT infrastructure that prioritizes high-quality data management and security to maintain the reliability of core business services will be needed. It will be important to apply new methods of delivering IT such as DevOps and Design Thinking, to better respond to internal and external customer requests.

4.1.3  Workstream 3: Empower and inspire businesses and increase their digital capabilities

  • Foster innovation: A digital innovation process will be embedded within UNDP’s ongoing innovation efforts. This process will encourage more nimble internal innovation. To encourage bottom-up innovation micro-budgets and decision rights will be delegated to encourage faster and more risk-informed decisions.
  • Digital literacy: A capability assessment will be undertaken to identify who knows what in terms of focused digital skills, so we can develop better learning plans staff will have a learning curriculum, with internal training and external webinars. The goal is to create a unified language and common understanding of digital concepts. This will include key issues such as privacy and cyber-security. Staff capabilities will also be built through the teams established around different initiatives, which will create spaces for testing, designing, and learning.
  • Digital communication: A CDO communication channel will share which ideas work best and which ones don’t. The Digital Champions will be voices of change that reinforce UNDP’s digital transformation. Both the CDO communication channel and the Digital Champions will promote unified digital branding that guides how we present ourselves to our partners. The infrastructure and functionalities of UNDP’s website must be redesigned based on users’ needs and expectations, to ensure that all information is up to date and easily accessible.
  • Alliances & ecosystem: The existing partnership and external communication strategies will be strengthened by defining digital customer experience. Digital channels will be expanded to ecosystems at country, regional and global levels.
  • Lighthouse initiatives. Digital Lighthouse initiatives will be short-term, demonstrable-impact projects that contribute to one or more of the digital objectives in the transformation pathways. The initiatives will serve as role models to inspire and inform the organization on the potential power of digital technologies. The Digital Lighthouse initiatives will be prioritized, selected and successfully executed based on agile management principles.

4.2 Measuring our progress

A key part of UNDP’s digital transformation is regularly measuring our progress. That way we can identify issues and react by adjusting the Digital Strategy or by reallocating additional resources in case of under- or over-performance. Target metrics will be established at the outset of the Digital Strategy. Individuals will be accountability for each metric. Progress will be included as part of the regular updates provided by the CDO in the digital communication channel.