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Development of an open innovation model for the Brazilian judicial sector

The open innovation model was developed in partnership with Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte) and Superior Court of Labour (Tribunal Superior do Trabalho) to implement a Residency programme in Information Technology. The objectives are: qualification of human resources in the IT area, realisation of applied research and development of innovative IT solutions for the Superior Court of Labour (TST). It proposes a model of innovation in the public sector, in addition to enabling academia to be in contact with real problems of institutions.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Residency programmes in Information Technology (IT) are developed throughout the country, aiming at training and inserting professionals in the market. The development of Information Technology is a current demand in both public and private institutions, and there is a lack of trained professionals for the task. The search for these professionals has been a major challenge for institutions due to the lack of these professionals in the market. In this sense, the Information Technology Residency Programme is an important stimulus to innovation, as it inserts residents (students) in real environments and projects of organisations that have demands / problems in the technological area, while promoting the training of these residents at the postgraduate level.

The Superior Court of Labour  (TST) with headquarters in Brasília-DF and jurisdiction throughout the national territory, is an apex body of the Labour Justice, whose function is to standardise Brazilian labour jurisprudence. In order to continue the important role it plays in the country, it is essential that the TST continues to seek to improve and modernise its processes, creating innovative solutions in Information Technology that enable the improvement of its practices. For this to be possible, it is essential that the institution has the support of professionals trained in the area of Information Technology and researchers who can identify opportunities for improvement and thus propose innovative solutions. This would allow the transfer of knowledge from academia to organisational demands.

In this sense, the TST introduced the Information Technology Residency Programme (Programa de Residência em Tecnologia da Informação) promoted by the Metropolitan Digital Institute (Instituto Metrópole Digital) of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). The Information Technology Residency Programme is an open innovation model for the jurisdictional sector because: 1) It promotes training of resident students at the broad postgraduate level; 2) It allows the insertion and immersion of resident students in the environment of the Superior Court of Labour, linking theory and practice in the training process; 3) It brings innovation methodologies and techniques, such as design thinking, user experience and triple track agile in the software development process; 4) It will develop innovative solutions in information technology through real projects applied to the demands of the TST.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

  1. It promotes the application of user-centred methodologies for the development of innovative information technology solutions, which are not normally present in the software development context.
  2. It enables the Superior Court of Labour to add value to the software development sector, since the good practices applied in this programme can be integrated into the court's software development process for future solutions.
  3. It provides the development of new expertise for the resident students. Previously, the training in the IT area only emphasised on the software development process. Now the residents have expanded their knowledge in the application of innovative methodologies for product development, ranging from the understanding of the problem to the validation of the solution through the application of tools that aim to improve the user experience.

What is the current status of your innovation?

In the context of the Superior Court of Labour, the residency aimed at integrating the software development process with innovation methodologies, thus allowing for the development of technological solutions aligned with user needs. The innovation is in the process in which the solutions will be developed, the residents undergo training and guidance in order to apply this knowledge to the problems of the public institution and its users. In this sense, the Information Technology Residency Programme provides an environment of academic training, linked to practice, as well as an opportunity to develop and implement innovative technological solutions. The application of methodologies and techniques can enable the Superior Labour Court to improve and modernise its processes, which can translate into improving its efficiency and effectiveness in public service.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

The partnership between TST and UFRN was proposed by the TST Presidency itself, which allowed for establishing a new model for the provision of public services offered by TST. UFRN is a fundamental collaborator in the process, responsible for conducting academic activities and selecting students (via public notice). Lawyers are fundamental collaborators, participating in research that helps in understanding how demands will be met through technological solutions.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries are: 1) The lawyers who hold oral arguments at the TST's judgement sessions. 2) Individuals under the judgement of a judge, since the innovations aim to bring society closer to the services of the Judiciary. 3) The TST and UFRN, which enable the exchange of knowledge from the academic to the institutional world. 4) Resident students, who, in addition to academic training in postgraduate studies, will have in-depth knowledge of the functioning of a public body of the Brazilian Judiciary.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

Several reflections and impacts are provided by the innovation process, among which we highlight: 1) the introduction of an open innovation model for the Court aiming at the development of innovative solutions; 2) the possibility of promoting reflection and adaptation of the internal structuring of the Court's information technology unit, to better sustain the partnership established with the University; 3) the establishment and strengthening of partnerships with internal units of the Superior Court of Labour; 4) raising the internal knowledge about the possibility of applying various approaches such as design thinking, user experience, design sprint, branding, accessibility, among others, as well as the benefits this would imply for end users; 5) lawyers who perform oral arguments in the TST are now aware of how using a technological tool in the judgments of cases can contribute to their work.

Challenges and Failures

The main challenge is related to the choice of scope due to time. The initial process of immersion with lawyers needed to happen within a certain timeframe, so the scope of the project needed to be adapted, thus prioritising the understanding of lawyers in the monitoring of trial sessions. With this choice, the process failed to consider, for example, the functioning of the offices during the trial sessions, which limited the vision of the solutions to meet only the perspective of the lawyers. Another relevant point during the process was the discovery of actions and projects developed in parallel in other units. In other words, the observation that some of the actions were already underway and required orchestration or rearrangement to meet the client's demands led to reflections and reorganisation of the project. The difficulties were dealt with through planning and adjustments, prioritising the continuity of the actions and the knowledge generated in the process.

Conditions for Success

Institutional support is undoubtedly fundamental for the realisation of such an innovation process, especially in relation to the commitment of senior management. In this case, the Presidency of the TST was fully committed to the innovation process in focus and was invested in creating the favourable conditions for the innovation process to be made possible. On the other hand, the academic experience of the UFRN and the Metropolitan Digital Institute in conducting partnerships through decentralised execution transfers is paramount for the partnership to run effectively. Finally, the partnership is based on laws and regulations, such as Law 14,129/2021, Decree No. 10,426/2020, CNJ Resolution 395/2021 and TST.GP Act 321/2021, which bring legal certainty to the innovation process.


The innovation process aims to serve as a paradigm for other initiatives related to information technology to observe good practices in the use of digital services that enhance the customer experience. To achieve this goal, it applied concepts defined in the world of Design such as the realisation of an immersion process to understand the problem, survey of personas and interviews.

When replicating the innovation process, it is paramount to add concepts related to accessibility, so that people with disabilities are able to use the technological solution. The use of design system and change management concepts, compliance with service management, among others are important to consider. The adoption of the good practices highlighted above will be replicated in future projects both by the Superior Court of Labour and the Superior Council of Labour Justice (Conselho Superior da Justiça do Trabalho).

Lessons Learned

  • It is essential to be adequately prepared to meet the demands related to the innovation process, such as having a legislative and normative basis that gives legal support to the project
  • Having an administrative structure capable of conducting the innovation process in an appropriate manner
  • To include, in the immersion process, the mapping of initiatives that are underway in the institution related to the innovation process
  • To pursue and develop a synergy process capable of conducting the innovation process in a harmonious and efficient manner
  • Involvement of the institutions and engagement of the participating teams throughout the process
  • The importance of bringing the user experience as a fundamental factor in the process of developing digital solutions for public services.

Project Pitch

Supporting Videos

Year: 2022
Level of Government: National/Federal government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

9 December 2023

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