Ideathon virtual winners ceremony group picture

9 December 2021, Kuwait City)  The joint publication (please click here) is now available as a collaborative knowledge product among UNDP, the General Secretariat for the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD) and World Bank in Kuwait. The focus of this publication has two aspects. First is a preliminary assessment of Regional Ideathon initiative carried out by UNDP, GSSCPD and WB, drawing more than 700 participants from 18 Arab states. Second is a catalogue of 23 ideas on public efficiency and productivity in the new normal setting, which came out from the Regional Ideathon.

In light of literature review and data collected, the report outlines nice challenges facing the public sector in the Arab Region while managing the pandemic: continuity and timely service delivery inactive strategic planning processes; the bureaucratic burden and troubled productivity; digital transformation stress; low human capital productivity; outdated legislative framework; lack of synergy among public sector agencies; insufficient crisis management capacity; and weak innovation and knowledge management.

The ideas formulated and submitted during the competition contributed significantly to highlight the public sector’s challenges during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It also embarked on tackling current public sector performance problems represented by bureaucratic complications and insufficient capabilities, whether in infrastructure or human resources. Nonetheless, most innovative proposals focused on transforming to online service delivery, exclusively in the health and education sectors. The innovative ideas echoed the participants’ views of democracy, participation and importance of gender including concepts to improve public sector efficiency and effectiveness. In sum, the proposals generated several visionary ideas that could draw the public sector’s attention to the new normal necessities.

The report draws some recommendations that could improve the implementation of the Ideathons in the future, including giving sufficient time to applicants for the preparation phase for forming the right team and researching the most critical challenges countering public sector productivity; the Ideathon might identify a specific sector or challenges for each round; the coaching process conceivably enhanced by assigning coaches based on their specialization and expertise. In addition, the dieas submitted to the competition could be further enriched through organizing more workshops for the teams – exclusively those with ideas that have reached semi-final stage; t further elaborate on their ideas and have more discussions with coaches; and receive feedback to refine their ideas; and institutionalize Ideathon outputs by installing a mechanism for coordination, networking and exchanging ideas between Arab countries.

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