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Government After Shock

Nov 17, 2020 - Nov 18, 2020

The COVID-19 pandmic has shaken our understanding of the world and how things should work. The aftershocks of it will undoubtedly ripple through all domains, whether personal, economic, social or political. While no one can say how things will unfold, it is clear that 2020 will mark a fundamental shift. But what will the changes coming out of it be? What should they be?


The two-day event will combine in-person and digital experiences and focus on questions such as:

  • What do we need to leave behind from this shock? What are the things that no longer fit with the world we are heading into, what are the structures and processes that have revealed themselves to be inadequate, unsuited or inappropriate for the world emerging from the crisis? What did the crisis show was no longer appropriate, or what has emerged from or been exacerbated by the crisis that we need to stop doing?
  • What do we want to keep? What do we hold dear or value from before or during the crisis that we want to keep or sustain? What things might we cherish but need to adapt to the changed context?
  • What should we do differently? What could we do differently given what has been revealed by the crisis? What should we change, what should we experiment with and what should we attempt now?

Coordinated by the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation and with the support of the European Commission through its Horizon 2020 Programme, Government After Shock will be an event to suit today’s unsettled context, one built upon learning from diverse experiences and bringing them together to help identify and consider the implications for governments and those involved in public purpose work. The two parts will be:

  • Day 1: Rethinking and rebuilding through innovation - a series of local conversations hosted around the world, connected together by shared elements to help inform a global dialogue
  • Day 2: Collaboration for systemic change beyond crisis - this high level forum will bring together contributions from leaders to discuss the insights from day 1 and how governments can build upon the hard-won lessons from the crisis to make for better government into the future.

The goal: to support each country’s capacity to anticipate, understand, and govern complex and changing circumstances, at the same time as promoting international collaboration. Joining with affiliates across the world, the OECD will also be working to help collect and curate some of the lessons from the pandemic for governments in the lead-up to the event. Then, coming out of the event, the OECD will provide more formal guidance and reflections for member countries, including a Call to Action, about the implications for government transformation.


Co-designed to ensure collective and lasting value

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has been one that has affected every jurisdiction. There are examples from all over the world demonstrating how different regions have responded and how governments have proven their ability to act quickly, decisively and innovatively when they needed to. However, as the crisis evolves, will those experiences be forgotten and seen as an exception, rather than as an illustration of what could happen more routinely?

In order to ensure that Government After Shock is of value to all who participate, and that it contributes to lasting change, we undertook a co-design process with practitioners and stakeholders from all over the world. This was a part of realising our intent to ensure that Government After Shock meets local needs as well as informing international discussions leading to tangible outcomes that ensure the losses and costs of the crisis lead to governments learning and changing from it.

How can I participate?

How can I participate?

You or your organisation can get involved in a number of different ways:

  • You can register your interest and be kept informed as the event schedule is finalised.
  • If you already know that you want to host a local conversation on 17 November then you can read about hosting an event.
  • You can review and contribute to our Innovative Responses Tracker which captures different examples of how governments and their partners have responded to the crisis.
  • You can contribute to our sensemaking platform, helping to collect and curate new and different perspectives and thinking that has been prompted by the crisis.
  • You can participate in one of the 2020 After Shock Dialogue Network related events.
  • Or you can do all of these!
2020 After Shock Dialogue Network & Related Events

2020 is shaping up to be a momentous year. The coronavirus crisis is still unfolding but its clear that its impacts have already been extensive. Government After Shock is intended to help make sense of the crisis, what comes from it and what should happen because of it. However, this is a big topic and we are seeking to learn from and build upon the efforts of others, recognising that there will be a diversity of experiences and views.

We see the Government After Shock event on 17-18 November as part of a constellation of events, each trying to learn from the crisis, each adding to the collective picture and understanding of what it means.

We invite like-minded events to be a part of the ‘2020 After Shock Dialogues Network’, and to help inform the global discussion about the crisis and its implications for government and others. We hope that by connecting different events with similar aims, that collectively we can ensure the conversation continues to evolve and mature. Events that are part of the Network simply need to agree to have a dedicated component (during or after the event), facilitated by the Government After Shock team, to identify key take-away messages that can help inform the broader global discussion. These will inform an 'insights capture' report that can help others learn about and build on the conversations that took place at each event.

If you would like to be part of the Network, please get in touch.

Current members of the network include:


Government After Shock is an ambitious (and experimental) undertaking, an attempt to distil lessons from all around the world into insights and guidance that can help countries move to a more deliberate and systemic approach to change and innovation, rather than one driven primarily by crises and external shocks.

To aid this, the OECD is looking for partners who help make this ambition a success.

Potential sponsors are invited to contact the team.


Nov 17, 2020
Nov 18, 2020
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