Council Working Group for
Strategic and Financial Plans 2020-2023
Second meeting – Geneva, 11-12 September 2017 /
10 August 2017
Contribution by the Secretary-General
REPORT ON THE ITU STAFF CONSULTATION ON THE ITU STRATEGIC PRIORITIES
The 2017 Session of the ITU Council initiated the process for the elaboration of the draft Strategic plan for the Union for 2020-2023, to be approved at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2018.
In order to empower staff engagement in the ITU strategic planning processes, an anonymous survey has been undertaken to identify staff views and ideas on what the strategy of the Union beyond 2020 should be. The Staff Survey was held from 26 June to 4 August 2018.
The survey was answered by 33 ITU staff members (less than 5% of staff). This document presents an overview of the ideas, proposals and comments that were made by the participants, with regards to the ITU 2020-2023 Strategy.
The report reflects solely the views of the individual staff who anonymously participated in the survey.
The results of the survey and the overall suggestions for the 2020-2023 ITU Strategy are introduced in the sections below.
2 Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Goals of the Union
The first question of the survey aimed at investigating the familiarity of the staff with the key elements of the ITU strategic framework. The responses to this question are summarized below.
Q1: How familiar are you with the Vision, Mission, Values and the Strategic Goals of ITU?
More than 75% of the staff who answered the survey were very familiar or somehow familiar with the Vision, Mission, Values and the Strategic Goals of the Union. The majority though (more than 57%) responded that are only somehow familiar; therefore a need to raise awareness, better disseminate information and explain the key elements of the ITU strategic framework could be identified.
3 Work of the ITU staff contributing to the Mission and the Strategic Goals
The second question of the survey aimed at examining how staff perceive that their work is contributing to the fulfilment of the Mission of the organization and the achievement of the Strategic Goals.
Q2: How much do you believe your work is contributing to the fulfilment of this Mission and the achievement of the Strategic Goals?
The majority of the responders (more than 80%) felt that their work is reasonably or very much contributing to the mission and the strategic goals of the organization.
Q3: Please give examples explaining your answer 1 & 2
The majority of the participants/respondents provided clear examples on how their work is contributing to the goals of the organization. Several of them highlighted that they are aligned with the organizations’ vision: “Committed to connecting the world”.
4 ITU priorities beyond 2020
Q4: What should be ITU’s priorities beyond 2020?
The participants suggested the following priorities for the organization beyond 2020:
- Connect the unconnected and bridge the digital divide;
- Focus on core tasks / key strengths;
- Focus on specific ‘niche’ areas such as: cyber-security, education, AI, e-health and others;
- Contribute to the implementation and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
- Ensure re-allocation of resources and even reform of the organizational structure.
Figure 1: Suggested ITU priorities beyond 2020 (results of the staff survey)
Some indicative (detailed) responses are provided below:
“I believe that ‘connectivity’ should remain ITU's absolute priority. Other areas such as cybersecurity, e-health etc. are important and ITU needs to work with partners but in any case ITU needs to focus on some key areas.”
“1) To empower those key areas which provides prestige and revenue to the Organization 2) To do internal re-engineering to other sectors and minimize activities that do not produce a tangible output. 3) To re-allocate resources and efforts according to the above-mentioned 4) To constantly include new applications, services and innovative solutions.”
“A new consensus is required on what will be ITU’s niche, relevant role in areas such as NGN, 5G, big data, cloud computing, evolving satellite sector etc., as well as frontier areas such as IoT, blockchain, AI. The secretariat could play a constructive role in helping members find that area of consensus/niche.”
“Focus and build on the strengths of the Union. ITU is a specialized, technical agency. Address and engage with the core audience - the technical community. Put less emphasis on general, 'soft', 'feel good' topics. They are certainly important, but ITU has neither expertise nor credibility in many of those areas.”
“Implementation of SDGs and development of new strategies for those that won't be able to be implemented by 2020 to be able to properly target the main deadline of 2030.”
“1. Reform financial structure, 2. Reform organisation structure: merge and reorganise the three sectors, 3. Empower industry members.”
“Focus. Stop pet projects. Spend time and resources in going back to basics and create a cohesive body of work without duplications. Re-structure departments and even sectors to allow this to happen.”
5 Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
Q5: How the ITU strategy would contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?
Participants provided their views on how the strategy of the ITU would contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some indicative responses are provided below:
“Have a plan to first focus on priorities with regard to ITU SDG focus (esp. SDGs 4, 5, 9 and 17) and through progress on 9 and 17 work in partnership to contribute towards achieving the others.”
“Two-fold: First, by promoting the role of ICTs as an enabler to all SDGs; and second, by using data to track progress on the SDGs and improve the decision-making process at the national, regional and international level.”
“By focussing on the various verticals such as health, finance, education etc., ITU could play a role, but it also risks spreading itself too thin. Would be best to focus on a few key areas of high impact, and then play a supporting role for other agencies in other verticals.”
“It could contribute by allowing a neutral platform for experts from all over the world to discuss and promote the future of technologies.”
“ITU major tool for enabling sustainable Development goals is WSIS which covers practically all aspect of the SDGs. In addition to that, ITU "Green Week" initiative is a good contribution to the Climate Change.”
“To encourage and facilitate the Member States to make the ICT policy as the key national development policy in every area.”
“Ensuring that Member States adhere to sustainable development targets in their development of ICT infrastructure.”
“If everyone is connected then that is the first step in providing relevant services and applications that run through every one of the SDGs.”
“By being “Committed to connecting the world”, ITU is directly contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.”
6 Perceived Areas of Excellence
Q6: In which areas ITU currently excels at?
Participants provided their views on the areas they believe ITU currently excels at. A summary of the results is provided in the figure below.
Figure 2: Areas of excellence (results of the staff survey)
7 Key technological trends
Q7: What are the key technological trends ITU should consider while planning its strategy beyond 2020?
The following key technological trends have been identified by the participants of the staff survey, as those that ITU should consider while planning its strategy:
- Artificial Intelligence (mentioned by more than 1/3 of the participants);
- 5G (mentioned by ~1/3 of the participants);
- Big data (mentioned by ~1/5 participants);
- Broadband for all (mentioned by ~1/5 participants);
- Internet of Things (mentioned by ~1/7 participants);
- Satellite communication (~1/7 of participants).
A more detailed list of the trends identified is presented in the figure below.
Figure 2: List of key technological trends identified in the staff survey (and their frequency of reference)
8 Areas for Improvement and Key Challenges
Q8: In which 3 key areas could ITU improve in the future and what are the 3 most significant challenges for ITU beyond 2020?
The participants provided their inputs on the key areas in which ITU could improve in the future, as well as the most significant challenges for the organization beyond 2020. Some indicative responses are provided below:
“Improvement - Create an organizational structure that will be more adaptable to changes in the environment
Challenge - The traditional telephone model becoming obsolete – new start-ups challenging and disrupting the current existing regulatory model.”
“1- CONSENSUS: A new set of rules and a new concept of “consensus” is required to expedite the work in the study groups and allow innovators to change the status quo pushed by incumbents.
2- ORCHESTRATED WORK: implement the “one ITU”, on a daily basis. Plan the events in a coordinated manner, discuss the outputs of each sector for each topic, remove overlaps and conflicts. Offer a one-stop-shop for the Members, where technical assistance can span all 3 sectors.
3- CULTURE: a culture of CHANGE, INNOVATION is urgently needed. Where solutions can be tested, criticisms are welcome, and changes are implemented!
4- INFORMATION FLOW: remove the silos between the departments and sectors. For example implementing “room-based” software, where all have access to the information on a topic.”
“More important challenges is to remain relevant and not just to organize meetings to bring people together. ITU should work more through the regional offices, organize fewer meetings, and identify a few key focus areas.”
“Areas for improvement/challenges:
“A fit-for-purpose workforce to be in line with new technologies.”
“Areas to improve: structure, management, resource allocation.
Challenges: Keep pace with developments, define priorities, quickly adapt to changes.”
“Be visible. Create more activities. Keep up with the technology; Innovation; Create means for additional revenue”
“1) Change the financial business model to civil society
2) How technology can make life easier for humanity
3) How can technology create jobs for 9.5 billion people expected in 2050.”
“1. LDCs Connectivity: Focus on rural populations connectivity;
2. Gender Equity: Bring more girls and women to ICTs;
3. Cybersecurity: Provide safe internet for child, women, in e-business, in financial transactions, etc.”
“1. Better communicate its role to the general public, talk to people outside the UN system and the tech world.
2. Better collaboration between GS and the sectors / better internal communications.”
“ITU needs to modernize its models of delivering services to its Members. We organize events on AI, big data and IoT, yet we are operating largely as we did 10 to 20 years ago. Digital transformation is needed to improve efficiencies and services, while demonstrating that ITU remains relevant, understands and using technology.”
“Internal structure, bureaucracy, focus. It’s not about finding areas to work in, is about setting up the right environment to produce more with less.”
9 Other thoughts and comments
Q9: Do you have any other thoughts or comments regarding ITU’s Strategy beyond 2020?
Participants provided some additional thoughts and comments regarding the overall ITU strategy beyond 2020. Some indicative responses are provided below:
“Focus more on LDCs. Train staff to compete with fast growing tech. Encourage innovation in the Union, so that it can be also source of revenue.”
“Potential need to think of the SDGs both on the timescale of the Strategic Plan but also within the time-frame of the SDGs, i.e. some planning till 2030.”
“Bring on board real leaders, knowledgeable and visionary staff able to bring to life and implement these goals or give the opportunity to the internal capacity to develop and create positive change by providing proper training and encouragement. The change must come from within.”
“Define a strategy that defines the goals AND: - Depicts: what is going on? - HOW will we achieve the defined goals? What will we do? And what will we STOP doing?”
“…. we need new young management to motivate staff and give ITU direction.”
“ITU should develop coherence between its objectives, its strategy and the concrete actions taken to achieve its goals.”
“As Intergovernmental Organization, an adequate balance between political and professional components is expected. As specialized agency in ICTs, technical content is a priority.”
“Keep ONLY the ITU core tasks - ITU Radio Regulations and Standards (ITU-T & ITU-R) and not to compete with other UN or international organizations on the tasks not related to the ITU (WSIS, Girls in ICT etc.)”
“Focus not only on external trends but also how ITU has to adapt as an institution to better serve its members. Include key section on digital transformation and improving services to members.”
“It should be widely shared by constituents and staff by ensuring a clear understanding of all its components and expected outputs and by creating a sense of true ownership by all those involved in its implementation.”
“This organization has a lot of potential. It is a pity to see how the lack of focus and the fear of changing what doesn't work (mainly its structure, workflows, systems) prevent us to maximize our work and efforts. Wish we can see some real changes in the near future, thanks!”