3. Take risks and embrace the 21st century


GVI participants often lament the heavy bureaucracy and formalities that seem to accompany much of UN/global system work, as well as cautious attitudes that do not readily welcome new ways of working.

While some concerns with e.g. security, confidentiality and political diplomacy seem legitimate, these must be distinguished from the man-made culture that perpetuates old ways of working because they have grown safe and familiar, and may have outlived their usefulness.

Some of the proposals made along these lines are:

  • Breaking down bureaucracy by limiting the number of regulations, authorizations or processes required e.g. for pro bono contributions to UN work
  • Modernization of structures e.g. the capital master plan underway in HQ
  • Taking risks and accommodating reasonable amounts of failure
  • Rewarding innovation and creativity e.g. with devotion of resources for pilot projects
  • Flattening the hierarchy to engender greater focus on ensuring impact on the ground than seeking promotions
  • Applying technology when there is a case for greater efficiency e.g. video conferencing in lieu of travel
  • Promoting exploration of expanded UN Security Council membership

What practical action do you take to streamline processes or incorporate technology?




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