The Vice-Chair Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, Mrs Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede, delivered the keynote address at the 2021 ASCON Online Conference themed: “Repositioning organisations for effective performance in the ‘new normal.’”

While speaking, Mrs Aig-Imoukhuede highlighted the need for the public sector to embrace digital innovation in the wake of changes the Covid-19 pandemic had brought to the way organisations are run. She explained the role the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation entities had been playing to support the public sector in their digitalisation and capacity building efforts.  

She stated that for organisations to successfully navigate the changing environment, they needed to be resilient, and she defined “organisational resilience'' as the ability of an organisation to anticipate, prepare for, respond, and adapt to implemental change and sudden disruption to survive and prosper.

She listed 16 behaviours from the model of organizational resilience by The International Consortium of Organizational Resilience that organisations need to adopt as follows: adaptive, flexible, aware, collaborative, committed, creative, diverse, effective, innovative, inclusive, prepared, reflective, resourceful, respected, responsive, and robust. 

According to her, a pandemic had three main phases and organisations needed to adopt different behaviours in each phase as follows:

  • The Respond Phase: How an organisation prepares for the present situation and manages continuity.
  • The Recovery Phase: This is where an organisation learns and emerges stronger.
  • The Thrive Phase: When the organisation prepares for and shapes the ‘new normal’ to suit its purpose.

Ofovwe stated that public sector organisations seeking to thrive in the new normal needed to prioritise agility, digitalisation, and partnerships. She outlined key projects that the Aig-Imoukhuede Institute entities had embarked on with the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to create organisational resilience in the civil service and build the capacity of civil servants to be more effective.  

Some of the projects include: contributing private sector expertise to the development of policies for virtual meetings at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the work of the OHCSF to increase efficiency and productivity; supporting ISO certification for Servicom staff members to improve service delivery;  capacity building for public servants through the AIG Public Leaders Programme, run in partnership with the University of Oxford, with  scholarships worth £11,500 offered to 50 high-potential public servants; and finally a major digitalisation project that would digitalise the work of the OHCSF and allow the civil service to be more flexible, agile and efficient, poised to thrive in the new normal.