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UN Digital Academy

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UNICC’s proposal provides shared hosting infrastructure and portal for ICT-centric learning solutions for organizational digital transformation, disruption, change and technology upskilling. 

For the UN Digital Academy, UNICC has partnered with Microsoft Tech for Social Impact to design, build, deliver and continuously update learning materials across technology practitioner areas like modern collaboration and productivity, Power Platform (data analytics, business processes, app development), Modern IT Pro, Security, data science, machine learning, data lakes, modern data warehouse and more).

As a joint effort of UNICC and Microsoft's Tech for Social Impact (Microsoft’s philanthropic arm), the UN Digital Academy is an entirely non-profit model for UN Agencies and like-minded international financial and development organizations.

A technical support team with Microsoft and UNICC resources is involved in the management and monitoring of the platform to ensure a smooth experience to the boarded organizations. UNICC platform administrators and service owners are the front-end dealing directly with clients. They manage the users, the content and the reporting. They also create curated learning paths and, in collaboration with Microsoft, keep the content up-to-date. 

The UN Digital Academy, managed by UNICC and powered by Microsoft, provides curated content relevant for member UN Agencies with role-based learning tracks for general and technical staff. It offers rich management features to track and measure training progress with reports that display progress at course, group and organizational levels.

As a 'Microsoft-powered' learning center, Microsoft alone today is providing the content, related to its cloud-based tools and technologies, from M365 tools like Teams to AI and BI learning paths for experts. The model however is for other tech partners to potentially join and share their content as well. UNICC provides the instructional design and administration for smooth delivery.

Target stakeholders include UN Agencies needing a cloud-based digital business and technology skills learning platform across the globe. To date UNICC has three subscribers with over 2000 users with an Agency of almost 20,000 committed to join in the near term future. As a not-for-profit targeting UN Agencies and like-minded organizations, it has a global spread - any staff in any country office, regional office or HQ belonging to said organization can leverage the benefits.

State your goals.

UNICC’s mandate is to provide innovative technology solutions and services, including learning services, to UN agencies and non-for-profit organizations. The UNICC services have the scope to support each UN agency fulfil its mandate at the best.

 

The centralized learning platform offers digital and technology skills and capabilities for their staff and stakeholders, so that UN Agencies can best leverage their tech investments with innovative productivity tools and be ready to respond to their social mandate. After a pilot group engagement, design was affirmed and already implemented, but we will customise and change as we hear from our subscribers.

The scope is to provide as many UN personnel as possible with the knowledge and expertise to operate and use the innovative technologies which will help them fulfil their organization mandate and social impact.

The UN Digital Academy also aims at supporting the first commitment of the UN Secretary-General’s Strategy on New Technologies, to deepen the UN’s internal capacities and exposure to new technologies. It does so by offering Microsoft (and other technology platform) knowledge and engagement for its current and continuous technology solutions that UN Agencies have deployed or may be deploying within their organizations.

Another goal of this initiative is to provide equal learning opportunities to any UN resource by providing content in three languages (English, French and Spanish) and easily accessible anywhere, anytime, with low bandwidth.

What problems (particularly in value chain competitiveness and global disruption) are your community’s stakeholders facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Worldwide COVID-19 precautions have meant that virtually every UN organization has staff and stakeholders teleworking worldwide. This is a huge disruption, with many international development organizations in the UN family already on the path to deliver their services from the digital workplace. 

The centralized learning platform offers digital and technology skills and capabilities for their staff and stakeholders, so that UN Agencies can best leverage their tech investments with innovative productivity tools and be ready to respond to their social mandate.

What minimum viable solution(s) are you proposing to address the challenge(s) in your community?

The United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) and Microsoft Tech for Social Impact have together launched the UN Digital Academy, offering UN Agencies a centralized learning platform to offer digital and technology skills and capabilities for their staff and stakeholders. 

Share your story (your narrative)

Virtually every UN organization has staff and stakeholders teleworking worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a huge disruption, with many international development organizations in the UN family already on the path to deliver their services from the digital workplace.

Communities should be empowered and equipped with the right practices to navigate digital transformations the world over. As a UN shared services organization, our collaborative best practices support innovation and ecosystem best practices through the UN family and across private sector partnerships.

Virtually every UN organization has staff and stakeholders teleworking worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a huge disruption, with many international development organizations in the UN family already on the path to deliver their services from the digital workplace.

Communities should be empowered and equipped with the right practices to navigate digital transformations the world over. As a UN shared services organization, our collaborative best practices support innovation and ecosystem best practices through the UN family and across private sector partnerships.

UNICC’s proposal is for building innovation capacity: providing shared hosting infrastructure and portal for ICT-centric learning solutions for organizational digital transformation, disruption, change and technology upskilling. The UN Digital Academy platform is one single point of entry and one repository for UN-specific content.

For the UN Digital Academy, UNICC has partnered with Microsoft Tech for Social Impact to design, build, deliver and continuously update learning materials across technology practitioner areas like modern collaboration and productivity, Power Platform, Modern IT Pro, Security, data science, machine learning, data lakes, modern data warehouse and more.

A technical support team with Microsoft and UNICC resources is involved in the management and monitoring of the platform to ensure a smooth experience to the boarded organizations.

The centralized learning platform allows UN Agencies to best leverage their tech investments with innovative productivity tools and be ready to respond to their social mandate. 

The UN Digital Academy supports the first commitment of the UN Secretary-General’s Strategy on New Technologies, to deepen the UN’s internal capacities and exposure to new technologies.

Please provide any additional relevant information that you would like to share.

With a joint Microsoft and UNICC marketing and communications team in place, the UN Digital Academy solution was presented at a Microsoft UN Tech Huddle in June and already 3 UN organizations have subscribed to the service. UNICC delivered in June a business roundtable with 14 participating and interested organizations. Microsoft has shared the launch news with its UN Agencies partners across the globe.

The UN Digital Academy was also presented as one of the innovative solutions at the Inspiration Fair & Exchange of the UNSSC Learning Managers Forum 2020.

Your final proposal for challenge

yes

edited on Aug 31, 2020 by William Allen
Commenting is closed

Achia Khaleda 7 months ago

Hi William, It's a great project for education. What is your business model. Is it non profit.

William Allen 6 months ago

Hello Khaleda! Thank you - As a joint effort of UNICC and Microsoft's Tech for Social Impact (philanthropic arm) yes it is an entirely non-profit model for UN Agencies and like-minded international financial and development organizations.

Sunday Bawa 7 months ago

Hi, I would like to suggest a very minimal fee like $0.99 for 5 video lecture downloads ?

William Allen 6 months ago

Hello Bawa, thanks for your comments! The model is for an organization to subscribe allowing their staff and stakeholders free access to one or a hundred courses. The model is B2B not Consumer to business (like Apple of Google) so there isn't a way to offer single 'pops' at videos.

James Kiruri 7 months ago

Hello William, thanks for your idea. However, reading through, I cant make out if it is a social enterprise or it is for profit. Is this aimed at as many countries in the world, or just some specific countries?

William Allen 6 months ago

Hello James - thanks for your insight. As a not-for-profit targeting UN Agencies and like-minded organizations, it has a global spread - any staff in any country office, regional office or HQ belonging to said organization can leverage the benefits.

Henry Dobson 7 months ago

Hi William, this is a very timely technology platform clearly aiming to solve the communication and education needs of UN Agencies. Can you please clarify who exactly is providing the "ICT-centric learning solutions"? Is it the UN agencies themselves or is the material being offered by external education providers?
You also write that the platform allows "UN Agencies to best leverage their tech investments with innovative productivity tools" - Is the platform simply centralising these tools or is it offering new tools and capabilities in and of itself?
Finally, it appears that you have a product up and running already? What kind of traction have you achieved so far? Is there validation around the platform solving the innovation challenges as part of the UN Secretary-General's strategy on new technology. Some more information on the success you've achieve so far would be great to hear.

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William Allen 6 months ago

Dear Henry. Ha! Excellent questions. As a 'Microsoft-powered' learning center, Microsoft alone today is providing the content, related to its cloud-based tools and technologies, from M365 tools like Teams to AI and BI learning paths for experts. The model however is for other tech partners to potentially join and share their content as well. UNICC provides the instructional design and administration for smooth delivery. The platform is offering video-based learning on new Microsoft technologies not available otherwise. As the SG's Strategy on New Technologies includes AI, BI and other new areas this platform supports all of the areas where Microsoft has this learning, as mentioned above. So far we have four organizations now who have subscribed (as of three months ago so it is early) and waiting to hear about some new arrivals, after which we will have some good data to share on it success.

Carolyn Keenan 7 months ago

Hello William
Thank you for your submission. This initiative is clearly much needed in the current working environment, a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. It certainly has huge over-arching aim to enable UN Agencies to ‘leverage their tech investments with innovative productivity tools’. This will definitely enable the UN agencies to increase their effectiveness and deepen their reach.
I have a couple of questions that may help you to refine your submission –
It is fantastic that you have partnered with Microsoft tech for social impact as collaboration is key to getting something like this off the ground. However what is the capacity for other tech providers/experts to become involved in designing, building, delivering and updating the learning materials?
Is the plan that the platform is purely a tool for upskilling the UN agencies and will Microsoft’s involvement mean it is sustainable in the long run, or could it become a source of income for the agency in some way?
You mention that the platform has launched and has some traction amongst early-adopters. You also speak of a communications team. What plans do you have to ensure the roll-out is communicated to all agencies in a way that is easy for the non-technically minded agencies to understand and embrace?
This is a much needed and innovative solution to help the UN the Secretary General reach his objective.
I wish you all the best in encouraging as many agencies as possible to engage with the platform.
Best wishes
Carolyn

William Allen 6 months ago

Hello Carolyn: Tanks for your good comments. As I mentioned above, there is the potential for an 'agnostic' platform, with skills and competencies and learning from multiple tech providers. To date it is just Microsoft as a start - but it is great that Microsoft is open to supporting a centralised platform with learning materials from other companies/technologies. We have been sharing this news through social media, in webinars within UNICC for its more than 60-Ageny Client base and also given several Microsoft Tech Huddles... with more to come! Thanks for your good words and encouragement, as this can be a game-changer in sharing technology learning across the UN family and beyond!

Michael Udoinyang 7 months ago

''a learning platform developed jointly by Microsoft and ICC that serves as a central repository of training resources and content to enable UN staff and stakeholders in their digital transformation journeys.'' Quite interesting and revealing! Is there a reason why the focus is UN agencies?(I ask because of the actual scope) Is it a social impact project of Microsoft and ICC?

William Allen 6 months ago

Hi Michael - Thanks fro your comments. Yes, to your last question - UNICC is a UN entity and digital business provider with good relationship to Microsoft for sharing tech solutions (and learning) across our more than 60-Agency Client base. Shared services - shared learning means economies fo scale fro all who are involved. The focus is on UN Agencies because that is our Clientele and business model. But other IFIs and related like-minded organizations are welcome to join.

Tafadzwa Chikwereti 6 months ago

After reading about the idea you proposed for digital academy , I would like to say that it is a wonderful and fantastic idea as it goes in line with the goals of the United Nation.
To add to your solution, I am sharing with you questions from one of our trainings that can help in refining our ideas and projects
What business model will you follow to implement this idea?
What methodology or strategy will you use during different processes of implementing this idea?
Which are the processes you have to go through until the finalization of the idea?
What means or tools do you need to implement my idea?
Which are your potential collaborators, investors?
I honestly suggest that before you submit your idea or project, please and ask yourself these questions and even if you have submitted their project, do remember that we still have opportunity to refine our ideas and resubmit. I hope that you find this useful.

The Sdg's are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Please vote and comment for my idea too in the campus community

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William Allen 6 months ago

Dear Tafadzwa: Excellent ideas! And the SDGs need digital business and technology to be delivered, don't they?
What business model will you follow to implement this idea? UN Agency shared services for learning.
What methodology or strategy will you use during different processes of implementing this idea? After a pilot group engagement, design was affirmed and already implemented. We will customise and change as we hear from our subscribers.
Which are the processes you have to go through until the finalization of the idea? MOUs with Microsoft and then each Client to being them on board.
What means or tools do you need to implement the idea? Tech for Social Impact reosurces for video creation, curation and upload. UNICC resources for instructional design and ongoing support.
Which are your potential collaborators, investors? Potentially other tech companies wanting to share their learning suites. Investment is done from UNICC and with TSI at Microsoft. As a non-profit and cost recovery service, Agencies pay for the services and anything extra is returned to them.

Htet Zan Linn 6 months ago

Hi William, I have couple of questions for the project
1) Will this initiative only use the applications inside of Microsoft ecosystem or they are just the enabler and participants will have the opportunity to learn from other tech providers.

2) Do you foresee expansion of this beyond the UN agencies. There will be quite many organisations benefiting from such academy. If the content is already curated why limit it to only UN Agencies?

William Allen 6 months ago

Great questions, Htet: It is only the Microsoft ecosystem today but could be potentially expanded to any other tech companies or areas wit learning the UN family can benefit from. UNICC's mandate is to offer shared services to the UN and like-minded organizations, so sure, if there are others who have similar missions they may be able to join (subject to MOU creation with UNICC in order that UNICC can offer the service).

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Status label added: Community feedback received

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Please respond to the above comments and provide constructive feedback to other participants' idea submissions.

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DJ Koeman 6 months ago

is it only for UN staff or do you plan to make it available for wider audience? I thought UN was all about bridging the digital divide for citizens, so what is good for their staff should be good for the rest of the world, isn't it? Is the content to be shared, if so, would love to have a look... Hve a look at what we are doing and if you like, vote for it: https://cocreate.itu.int/post/3496670

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William Allen 6 months ago

Hello DJ - Yes, you are right - the UN is about bringing social good and the end to a digital divide to all global citizens, but they do it through their respective channels and missions (world hunger, children, women, international trade, intellectual property, refugees, etc., While Microsoft's for-profit business offers cool tools to all, the Tech for Social Impact is dedicated, from a philanthropic approach, to support the specfic goals of individual UN Agencies, which comprise the subscriber base of UNICC's services. Tanks for your questions.

Victoria Masso 6 months ago

Status label added: Mentor feedback received

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Laila AL Hadhrami 6 months ago

Hi William,
Thanks for sharing your innovative idea and it is really interesting to know how you are linking all UN offices to this Academy. Is this academy accessible by public or it is for UN offices and their partners only. Is there any plans that you will open it for public specially digital transformation organizations from different countries?

I am also sharing one idea related to building capacity and it is also non profit. It will be great to have a look over it and give me your opinion. We might have some joint collaboration :)

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

State how your practice will have an impact on aspiring innovators enabling them to develop digital solutions conducive to digital transformation.

Reflect on this and other feedback you've been receiving when filling up the final submission form. Please start working on the final documents.

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Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Status label added: Expert feedback received

Nivashini Rave Rattey 6 months ago

Status label added: Submission completed

Nivashini Rave Rattey 5 months ago

Status label added: Idea under jury review

Nivashini Rave Rattey 5 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

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