Process efficiency and agility: Helping the United Nations to become more responsive and adaptive

The Client

A United Nations agency, headquartered in New York, with six regional offices and over ninety field presences around the world was formed recently as a merger of a number of funds, Programmes and entities to help the international community and member states focus global attention on solving issues within its mandate.

The Challenge

Business process re-engineering methodology
Antylles’ continuous improvement / business process re-engineering approach using design thinking.

Today, after a number of turbulent years of growth, the agency is still facing many typical challenges associated with organizational start-ups, mergers and rapid growth.  As a result of this, and in the face of a global trend of increasingly scarce resources and an emphasis on value for money, it has embarked on a strategy of more controlled growth by addressing three key areas, (1) improving its resource mobilization strategy by diversifying further into non-core and private sector partnerships, (2)  introducing more adaptive and responsive design and delivery functions, and (3) increasing donor and beneficiary satisfaction.

The Solution

In order to achieve this strategy, the agency recognized this would require a significant change in the way the Organisation has traditionally designed interventions, engaged with donors, raised funds and delivered benefits to beneficiaries.

An example of a co-designed business process, authority matrix, and standard operating procedures.

Our expert was engaged as the Advisor to the Director of Programmes and non-core resource mobilization to facilitate a staff-led institutional assessment followed by a staff-led capability design process that addressed the many organizational design and capacity development elements that were hindering performance.  By using a proven adaptive business process re-design approach, our expert was able to guide the Organisation through a journey of process and structural re-design, re-balancing organizational incentives and sanctions, ITC systems design and the development of new metrics and key performance indicators.

What made this journey uniquely interesting for the client was the fact that the process design groups were hand-picked from across its global operations and were able to, using the latest technology and virtual working practices, successfully collaborate across time zones and cultures to design new organizational capabilities in short periods of time within this context.

The Result

The business process designs that were approved by the SMT for implementation achieve three main benefits:  1) a complete overhaul of the client reporting function that forecast annuals savings of over $1.o M, 2) created of an innovative client satisfaction framework to receive instant client feedback on program activities, 3) strengthened the overall project design and management framework by developing and integrating new resource mobilisation, project design, project risk management, and innovation approaches, and finally 4) supported the humanitarian team to take the first steps towards designing a comprehensive humanitarian response approach to sit alongside the organisation’s tradition development approach.

Contact our expert with direct experience in this case study: Edward Carroll.