Finalist Projects from the Virtual UN Digital Solutions Bootcamp: Humanitarian Booking Hub and UN Digital Identity

From 9 to 13 March 2020, five teams of innovators from the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and supported by several other UN organizations, came together virtually for the United Nations Digital Solutions Bootcamp. The bootcamp was organized to support the UN in its efforts to identify and develop digital solutions to address common operational challenges. 

The teams, supported by technology experts, WFP’s Innovation Accelerator and the UN International Computing Centre (ICC), explored how to ideate and develop impactful digital solutions using frontier technologies. The ideas were pitched virtually to a UN inter-Agency panel.

The panel and the governing board of the UN Digital Solutions Centre (UN DSC) are proud to announce the two projects moving forward into the UN DSC: the UN Digital Identity and the Humanitarian Booking Hub Clearing House solutions. The selection was made based on: the efficiency and return on investment, scalability and inter-agency operability of the solutions. 

Teams in Geneva working on their solutions. Photo: ICC/Aziz

The UN Digital Identity project, designed by a WFP team, aims to address data fragmentation within the UN by digitizing employee data and information, enabling reliable and scalable data interaction between different Agencies to optimise processes such as employee onboarding, inter-Agency transfers and personnel reference checks.

The Humanitarian Booking Hub Clearing House will be developed by a WFP and UNHCR team and will support payment automation for the Humanitarian Booking Hub, an inter-Agency online booking platform for guest houses, flights, UN clinics and much more. Each service provider currently has its own administrative system and most payments involve many manual transactions, so the team came up with a cashless invoice automation solution. They applied Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to improve efficiency and effectiveness and reduce transactional mistakes and risks of fraud. In addition, being able to share resources such as housing across UN organizations will add great value and provide easier operations for the end user.

The UN Digital Identity team pitching their solution to the virtual inter-Agency panel. Photo: WFP Innovation Accelerator

All solutions will be built and designed in an agile manner and once tested and scalable, offered to the UN family as shared services. 

The UN DSC would like to thank each of the teams for their time, effort and collaboration during the first-ever virtual Bootcamp. Incredible talent and effort went into each of the five solutions. The UN DSC team will follow up and gather further information on the three ideas that have not immediately been selected, an Automated Medical Clearance, a Centralized Skills Database and a Virtual/Augmented Reality for Supply Chain Training, to continue the design ideas and possibly develop them in the future. 

About the Digital Solutions Centre

The  UN Digital Solutions Centre is operated in partnership by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and is supported by the International Computing Centre (UNICC).  

By leveraging new technologies and UN expertise, the Digital Solutions Centre aims to create a suite of digital solutions that can be shared among UN agencies to transform common business operations and streamline time-consuming transactional tasks. Solutions developed by WFP and UNHCR will be made available to the entire UN system. 

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