Government after shock: An unconventional event for unconventional times

Platinum Sponsor: Microsoft


All times in Central European Time (CET)

Day 1 :

18th November 2020
Time Zones
All session times correspond to Central European Time Zone (Paris time).
PANEL DISCUSSION: The Future of Public Employment
The world of work has become more uncertain than ever, yet governments have maintained service delivery in unprecedented conditions. Millions of public officials have shifted to teleworking or been reskilled to respond to the needs of the crisis – how will this shape the future of public employment?
LEADER INSIGHTS: Global Innovators: country experiences in tackling the Covid19 crisis
No matter how big or small, centralised or decentralised a country is, they have dealt with immense challenges during the immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis. In this session, government leaders will discuss the experiences of their countries and how they have leveraged innovation at the core of their response. How have they made sense of the crisis and developed actions to respond, and what do these actions say about the robustness and resilience of their approaches? This session is jointly organised with the Government of the UAE.
LEADERSHIP IN FOCUS: A conversation with Minister Nikolai Astrup of Norway
Inside the emergency: lessons in delivering national responses to a crisis: The crisis has highlighted an important role for central governments to steward a unified response, one taking into account local and regional specificities, needs and contexts. How has central government taken up this challenge, balancing their core national responsibilities (e.g. ensuring safety and security of all citizens) and recognising the role and necessity of local governments in managing local level implications of the crisis.
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Nudging government throughout the crisis: how to change behaviours beyond the pandemic
Behavioural change has been on the frontline of slowing the spread of COVID-19. But how does behavioural science can help governments rebuild after the crisis? Featuring international leaders from four continents, this panel will explore new frontiers and call for government action to leverage behavioural science to shape the post-pandemic recovery.
INNOVATOR INSIGHTS: Lessons from 2020: Views from the After Shock Dialogues Network
The COVID-19 crisis has provided a new impetus to innovation practice around the world – from “do” teams to learning communities – heightening its sense of purpose. In this wrap-up reflection from the After Shock Dialogues Network, lead thinkers in the innovation space share their insights on crisis and what it reveals about the evolving nature of public sector innovation, and what government can expect, now and into the future. How can we push the boundaries of the conventional to spur lasting transformation?
INNOVATOR INSIGHTS: Charting a way out of complexity: Portfolios, Systems and Anticipation
For decades, innovators have fought hard for the introduction and use of innovative approaches in government. This panel explores how the crisis has demonstrated an undeniable business case for approaches that can embrace complexity, intersectionality and uncertainty in a world that grows more complex each day.
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Health Systems for the Future - Resilience, Collaboration, innovation
Health systems have faced immense strain, criticism and praise as they responded, innovated and adapted out of necessity. The digitalisation of health services have been accelerated at unprecedented pace to secure the continuous delivery of public services. The measures introduced to curb the spread of the virus have required citizens to adopt and comply with new behaviours (hand washing, social distancing) which called for rapid online and offline public communication. The rapid spread of the virus has required a fast requalification of workers to aid overcharged hospital staff. The rapidity of these changes invites a reflection on the responsiveness and long-term resilience of health systems, whether this will be dependent on their ability to adapt on an ongoing basis or whether this will be limited to the exceptional circumstances of the crisis. The session will invite a reflection on the lessons learned and directions of change of health systems following the crisis
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: United We Stand: Exploring new collaboration architectures in uncertain times
The crisis has underscored the importance of coordinated approaches to exchange scientific information about tacking the health crisis, to coordinate policies to ensure the delivery of essential goods (such as food or medical products) and guarantee interoperability of essential services. In this realm, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how international frameworks for adopting common policy approaches are critical to support countries in this respect. Yet, in the outbreak of a crisis, initial countries’ policy responses were unilateral, seeking national solutions to protect from a threat perceived as largely coming from the outside. Countries raised scepticism about the effectiveness of traditional international organisations’ (IOs) action, and lockdown measures and travel restrictions forced IOs to rethink their governance and rulemaking procedures. Against this background, voluntary sharing of knowledge and co-designed solutions emerged as an alternative, rapid response mechanisms to bring expertise and knowledge to find mutually beneficial solutions. This session explores the possibilities and tensions of rule-based and informal approaches to international cooperation in solving public challenges and the complementarities between traditional and emerging actors in the global landscape.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Data Governance for a Digitally-Enabled State
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how data has demanded rapid and evidence-based decisions in critical situations. Yet data governance remains a challenge for many countries. A data-driven public sector allows data sharing and reuse across critical areas (e.g. healthcare, employment, education, social welfare) in a transparent and agile way; it strengthens planning, delivery and monitoring of results; it also builds public trust in governments and respect for digital rights. The session will look at what needs to be done to realise the potential of a full data-driven public sector.
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Building whole-of-government approaches to address gender-based violence
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to another global pandemic: gender-based violence. Rates of GBV have increased around the world, often during lockdowns in which women and girls were confined with their abusers. Existing public policies and programmes often seem to have fallen short, however, demonstrating the need for governments to plan more strategically and holistically. This panel will consider how governments can adopt more whole-of-government systems and integrated approaches to GBV moving forward.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Embracing today’s uncertainty: how to govern towards future outcomes?
The future is uncertain but government cannot stand still. The crisis shows that the cost of late action can be high, especially when it comes to trade-offs that matter to us all (lives vs livelihood). Yet, decision-making cannot be paused or fastforwarded into the future. Governments need to be ready to embrace uncertainty, and leverage challenges to govern better and deliver differently to meet evolving contexts. This panel will explore and compare emerging thinking about how we manage uncertainty and cutting edge approaches that are demonstrating, or have potential for, monumental transformation.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Sustaining public sector transformation beyond crisis
How not to waste a crisis? Given the terrible costs of the crisis, this is the question many citizens, organisations and governments are asking. The responses to the pandemic have shown that the public sector can move with incredible speed and shift processes overnight. How can public servants leverage this tragic opportunity for transformation even when the immediacy of the crisis recedes?
TALKS & DISCUSSION: Global Trends 2020 launch & insights from the edge
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is an era-defining crisis that continues to unfold, capturing the attention of governments worldwide, who must grapple with its consequences for society, the economy and the future. While COVID-related efforts remain a key focus for governments, it is important to recognise the many other innovative actions that they are taking to better achieve their missions and build strong foundations for addressing present and future challenges. OPSI and the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation (MBRCGI) have spent much of the last year working to understand how governments are confronting these challenges. Through this work, OPSI and the MBRCGI are issuing five reports through 2020 ( that identify key trends and case studies of innovation. This session will serve as the launch of the final report in the series, and the leaders behind projects featured in the reports will present on their innovative initiatives.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Leveraging the crisis to build better cities
City governments have leveraged the crisis to build better cities and transition towards more sustainable, climate friendly, and culturally innovative transports, urban planning and programming. This panel will bring together city representatives, thought leaders and innovators to discuss how crisis has provided an opportunity for transformation, changed mind-sets and new urban lifestyles.
PANEL DISCUSSION: A Crisis of Understanding? Paradigm shifts, priority changes and the future of the state
This panel will bring together innovative thought leaders to explore and dissect paradigm shifts, priority changes and implications of this year for the future of governments and society.
FIRESIDE CHAT: Innovation without borders: How can we better support innovation efforts from low and middle income countries?
Covid-19 has seen a flourishing of ideas and creativity, including fascinating examples of innovations developed in resourceconstrained contexts being adopted in high income countries. Could such initiatives also help address some of the deep inequalities that are being revealed and exacerbated by the pandemic? How might these local efforts to be better supported and enabled by other actors, including the international development community?
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: What's Next for Public Sector Reform?
How does the public sector need to change for the world revealed by the crisis? Most public services are decades to centuries old, and so too are many of the processes, mind-sets and ways of doing business. Many previous reform efforts and agendas have concentrated on making government more like businesses – but the crisis has emphasised the necessary and different role that the state has to play. What does the crisis reveal about the next needed steps for public sector reform?
ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Building back better, together: reaffirming the role of citizen-centred governance
Government efforts to respond to COVID-19 placed their relations with the public in the spotlight. Ensuring compliance with public health measures became essential to their success, just as perceptions of government competence, legitimacy and credibility influenced adherence to the new rules. While top-down approaches to decision-making were initially justified by the urgency of the response, they were criticised for being opaque and inefficient in the long run, and were accompanied by an ever stronger demand for more transparent and inclusive policy-making and tailored service design and delivery. The resulting discussions on the future of our democracies and a new social contract have focused on how governments can better address societal needs, strengthen their relations with citizens, and better take into account the impact of policies on individual lives. This panel will explore key lessons learned from the crisis on the need for more collaborative, citizen-centred governance, as well as innovative avenues for public engagement. This session is run by the OECD Observatory of Civic Space.
CLOSING SESSION: A Resilient, Responsive and Anticipatory State: An Impossible Dream?
Is there such thing as a resilient, responsive and anticipatory state or are these competing, contradictory and thus impossible ambitions? This panel will explore these visions and call for government action to use this opportunity to create better states and better governance structures to face and shape the uncertainty and challenges that may come.