Reimagine the UN Together Dialogues

Reimagine the UN Together Dialogues

COVID-19 fundamentally changed our ways of working. We had to adapt to working remotely, postpone or cancel duty travel, learn how to move events to virtual platforms, balance home, family and work responsibilities, and much more. The pandemic presents unprecedented challenges, but also opportunities for collaboration, innovation, learning and transforming the UN together.

  • When the dust settles, what has this difficult time taught us that we want to hold on to?
  • What challenges will we need to continue to navigate?
  • What do we think about all these issues?

The Reimagine the UN Together Challenge was launched on 8 July. This crowd-sourcing challenge sought to leverage the creativity, experience and skills of colleagues from across the system, inviting all personnel to submit ideas and solutions to support our collective reimagining of the UN. 

Complementing and in parallel to the Challenge, a Dialogue Series was also being conducted to “deep-dive” into certain topics and provide a platform to those who may not be ready or able to submit an idea through the challenge related to the pandemic and post-COVID workplace. It also facilitated discussion on sensitive topics or aspects that may not have a clear "solution".

Thematic Areas

3 big challenges

icon for supporting colleagues in times of crisis Agile mindsets and practices: flexible programming, budgeting, and policy design for responsive decision-making
icon for knowledge sharing and collaboration Knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and resource pooling: to build back better and be more prepared for future crises
icon for agile mindsets and practices Support to colleagues in times of crisis by providing access to information, training, resources, and enabling better communication and dialogue

These themes helped define a clear scope for both the innovation challenge and dialogues. We realize that there were many topics and issues that may interest personnel across diverse entities, environments, etc., however a limited scope was defined to minimize the impact on personnel time and resources and ensure these areas were given the proper focus and attention. Lessons learned will be used to improve the overall process, launch other challenges and expand the dialogue series. The vision is to mainstream this process and ensure ongoing innovation and dialogue across the system.

Reach out to to get the conversation started!


The challenge and dialogue series were developed and driven by an alliance of interested individuals, networks and departments across the UN system, such as the UN Development Coordination Office, the UN Innovation Network, #NewWork, the UN System Staff College, Young UN: Agents for Change, and the Office of Information and Communications Technology, in consultation with staff unions and other key bodies.


Why dialogue?

The Reimagine the UN Together Challenge sought to leverage the creativity, experience and skills of colleagues from across the system to reimagine the UN together!

However, not everyone has the time or resources to join a project team or develop a solution. The dialogue series offered a chance to contribute in another way.

These small, facilitated dialogues aimed to:

  • Provide a forum for sharing thoughts and feelings and contributing to reimagining the UN together.
  • Provide a safe space for more "localised" discussions to address specific issues or particular needs of different groups (e.g. mental health and well-being, personnel with children or elderly to care for, those with disabilities, and those at high-risk, etc.), local conditions, type of services, etc.
  • Feed into and connect the dots with other discussions on the COVID-19 response and phased return strategies, reform, future of work.