21 April marks the World Creativity and Innovation Day. The United Nations designated this observance to raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.
What role do creativity and innovation play in the UN Pension Fund? We have interviewed Dino Cataldo Dell’Accio, Chief Information Officer at the Fund, to find out more.
Why are creativity and innovation important for the Fund’s modernization efforts?
A.: Creativity and innovation are important drivers that are enabling the Fund to adapt and respond in a timely manner to the needs of its clients.
The use of the Digital Certificate of Entitlement is growing among beneficiaries. Can you tell us more about it, and how it was designed to encompass new technologies?
A.: At its core, the Digital Certificate of Entitlement (DCE) is a “digital identity" solution, which represented a foundational budling block in the modernization journey of the Fund. For over 70 years, retirees and beneficiaries provided their proof-of-existence to the Fund using paper-based/manual processes, which were often affected by delays and exposed to potential errors. With the DCE, the Fund implemented a secure and reliable tool to digitally identify retirees and beneficiaries, with the use of state-of-the-art technologies (i.e., biometrics and blockchain), while creating immutable, traceable, and auditable evidence of each transaction.
Artificial Intelligence is becoming accessible to wide audiences. How do you think it will shape the future of work and in particular our services to clients in the years to come?
A.: The concepts of creativity, innovation, and artificial intelligence (AI) are distinct but complementary. Creativity is the ability to generate new and unique ideas, innovation is the process of turning ideas into tangible products or services, and artificial intelligence is the application of technology to solve problems and automate processes. In combination, these three concepts can be used to identify new opportunities for creating or optimizing services and processes. At UNJSPF, we are already piloting the adoption of AI to both internal and external processes, to automate repetitive tasks and create efficiencies in end-to-end processes. Client services are the first area where we will experiment the use of AI to provide more personalized and timely responses to queries and requests for services, as well as analyzing large volumes of data to better understand clients’ needs.
How can UNJSPF participants, retirees and beneficiaries keep abreast of innovative solutions and services at the Fund?
A.: The Fund will continue to expand its communication channels to keep clients abreast of the deployment of innovative solutions and services. A combination of tools will support these efforts, including newsletters and articles published on the Fund Internet website, webinars, town-halls, as well as initiatives in collaboration with Staff Pension Committees of member organizations, and retirees associations.
What are the next innovative projects that the Fund is working on to further enhance its IT systems to better serve its clients?
A.: The Fund’s digital transformation strategy includes short, medium, and long-term initiatives. In the short/medium term, the Fund will focus on the implementation of a modern Customer Relationship Management system, which is expected to support innovative approaches to better serve clients. Other projects include: (i) The deployment of an “ePension” forms solution, offering new options for the digital submission of information, which will co-exist alongside the traditional paper-based process; (ii) The introduction of robotic process automation in data reconciliation processes; and (iii) In collaboration with member organizations, the implementation of the UN Digital Identity solution. In the long-term, the Fund will upgrade its core pension administration system, adopting the newest approaches for data collection, processing, and reporting.
International Days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
To know more about the World Creativity and Innovation Day, visit https://www.un.org/en/observances/creativity-and-innovation-day