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Digital Service Design Lab (DSDL)

LGD_DSDL Closing Ceremony

Local Govt. Division_DSDL Closing Ceremony

Till 2017, the Ministries and govt. organizations took individual, decentralized & disintegrated initiatives to digitize public services. But most initiatives were facing challenges to provide services due to unplanned design and implementation. To overcome this, Digital Service Design Lab is an innovative method where service providers, service recipients and IT experts design digital services and prepare digitization masterplan together for their respective ministry/org. within just 6-7 days.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Digital Service Design Lab (DSDL) is an innovative, comprehensive, and effective methodology for the digital transformation of the services provided by different ministries and organizations of the Govt. of Bangladesh. Digital Service Accelerator team of a2i, ICT Division runs this initiative.

Prior to DSDL, an “Digital Service Implementation Roadmap-2021” was arranged for 58 Ministries and 394 organizations. 1792 Govt. officials participated and 3000+ “to be digital services” were identified in that Roadmap. To implement these identified services DSDL method was initiated.

Main goal of DSDL is to develop an inclusive and interoperable digital framework which will simplify service delivery and service reception, reduce Time, Cost, Visit (TCV) for each service and ensure transparency and accountability and provide support to establish digital government.

It refers to a 6-7 days long residential workshop for every ministry or division of the government of Bangladesh. Implementing DSDL first requires the service of the concerned ministries to be analyzed and groups created based on the analyzed service grouping. Every group consists of one team leader from the Deputy Secretary/Joint Secretary/Director level who leads the team, 2 domain experts who have the knowledge of the relevant services, 1 or 2 service relevant IT expert, 2 service recipients, and 1 Digital Service analyst from Digital Service Accelerator.

Some of the tools used in DSDL are:

  • Existing Service Process Analysis (ESPA) Tool
  • TCV Efficiency Calculation Tool
  • Functional Scope Analysis (FSA) Tool
  • Budgeting Tool etc.

So far, 30 Ministries/Divisions and 61 Govt. Organizations have completed DSDL. Through DSDL, extensive study and analysis of the services, digital service design (Digital Simplification and UX Study), and complete digitalization implementation plan development - all these activities are performed by the concerned service-providing ministry/organization itself. This unique feature has made DSDL immensely popular in the Government of Bangladesh.

We have plans to institutionalize DSDL. In many countries there are institutions/units that support their countries to implement e-Government. For example: e-Estonia council (Estonia), SNDGO (Singapore), NIC & NISG (India), MAMPU (Malaysia) etc. So, we are planning to establish Digital Service Accelerator as a central unit under the ICT Division for the digital transformation of the Ministries and Govt. organizations of Bangladesh and support to establish Smart Government.

However, conducting DSDL isn’t the end. Digital Service Accelerator also provides support after DSDL. From Procurement to Implementation, in the whole Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), we provide following support and assistance-

  • Procurement document preparation assistance
  • Technical Documentation Review Support
  • Digital Service Efficiency Review Support
  • Software Review support
  • Integration & Testing, UAT Support
  • Hosting Assistance
  • Support for Piloting Plan and Piloting Progress Assessment etc.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

In the Government of Bangladesh, no such method exists other than DSDL, which assists and supports the Government extensively to achieve the “Digital Bangladesh” Goal.

  • Through this method, Ministry/Department/organization can formulate design and implementation plan for digitalization of their public services in just 6-7 days (which usually takes 7/8 months) at their own capacity even if they have no or inadequate necessary skills & capacity in digitalization and e-Government implementation.
  • It’s a Synergistic process to generate a self-designed masterplan by Service Recipients, Service Providers, Decision makers and ICT Specialists which creates strong ownership.
  • A-Z step by step Plan is generated through this “Magic Model” (Assessment, Analysis, Designing, Implementation Plan, Roadmap, Masterplan).
  • There is no lecture but Hands on work.
  • Using Minimum Resource, you get Maximum Result!

What is the current status of your innovation?

DSDL is being held since 2019 by the Digital Service Accelerator team of a2i, ICT Division. In 2019-2021, the implementation plan of Integrated Digital Service Delivery Platform (IDSDP) have been designed for 11 ministries/departments which are currently in the development stage (117 software). In 2021, digitization masterplan was planned and designed for Bangladesh Post (30+ software and 13 innovations) based on which 2 projects have been initiated. In 2022, “Vision-41: Smart ICT Division” Masterplan Roadmap was formulated for ICT Division and it’s subordinate 8 departments/organizations and 100 initiatives were designed. Currently, preparations for designing the masterplan roadmap of 3 other ministries are ongoing. We have provided digitization support to the Philippines and Fiji through DSDL approach and is in the process of providing digitization support to Cambodia, Somalia and Ghana.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

We have collaborators from Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), Department of Information and Communication Technology (DoICT), Bangladesh National Digital Architecture (BNDA), Software Quality, Testing and Certification (SQTC), Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), Academia (BUET, DU,JU etc.), Private IT Firms, Intl. Consulting Organizations etc. They contribute with their expertise to design digital services and formulate implementation plans.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

The stakeholders of DSDL are the 58 Ministries, 400 Govt. Organizations and 10,000 Govt. Offices. The ultimate beneficiaries are the citizens of Bangladesh.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

30 Ministries and their 150+ Organizations have designed & planned 225 software covering 1624 services through DSDL. As a result, 11 Ministries/organizations are developing 117 software (Procurement Worth Tk. 100 Cr.+). 80+ software have already been developed till date.

  • When digitalization activities were less familiar, sensitizing about its necessity to the Govt. officials was tough. But implementation of digital systems in different ministries through DSDL, has inspired others to use this method for their ministries also.
  • Through DSDL, capacity for Manual service analysis, Digital service design and managing digital systems has increased in Govt. officials.
  • Designing their own ministry and Organizations digital service with their own capacity has strengthened the ownership in Govt. officials.
  • Overall Time, Cost, Visit to avail public service has reduced.

Challenges and Failures

Though Government has designed and implemented tremendous successful projects for simplifying the service process delivery through DSDL method, it has some difficulties in some cases like:

  • To design digital systems through determining the ultimate outputs and results by pre-analysis and collective analysis.
  • To sensitize the service provider organization for organizing DSDL.
  • Conducting DSDL as an interesting journey so that participants don’t feel monotonous.
  • To choose the right person as a domain expert, focal point, IT expert, and citizen for the right software design and implementation plan.

Therefore, we arrange for a series of discussion sessions, planning sessions, meetings, and sensitization workshops with officers and high officials like policy makers 1-2 months before DSDL.

Conditions for Success

With the practical experience of this method implementation, we found some areas which make this method successful :

  • Generic approach but highly customized program design for each Ministry, based on their requirement and types of services they are providing
  • Conducting analysis, R&D and survey prior to DSDL
  • Leadership approach by the Decision makers of a Ministry/Org.
  • Visualizing the ultimate goal to achieve for methodical designing.
  • Visualizing how a solution or system will be utilized finally.
  • Sketching the service grouping and selecting the right set of domain experts (civil servant), Policy/Decision makers, IT Specialists and others for analysis and design.


DSDL is one of the most popular digitization methods among ministries of Bangladesh. So, different organizations and ministries are conducting DSDL with their own method following our DSDL concept and without our assistance. For example:

  • Internal Resources Division (IRD) of Ministry of Finance (MoF) is doing their own DSDL.
  • HD Media team of Aspire to Innovate (a2i) is doing DMDL (Digital Media Planning Lab) for different ministries. DMDL is mainly designed for accelerating media and promotional activities of different ministries where they followed the DSDL method and effectively performed on their own. Purabi Matin ([email protected]) is the focal point for DMDL implementation.

Lessons Learned

Major key learnings of DSDL:

  • DSDL is a very good illustration of a synergistic approach which fully supports the proverb “United we stand, divided we fail” as the designing and planning is done together by Service Recipients, Service Providers, Decision makers and ICT specialists.
  • If you can put the right people, right expertise and right effort together in an intelligent, efficient and impactful way, 7 months of work can be done in 7 days.
  • If someone designs their services with their hands on active participation and brainstorming, it creates a high sense of ownership towards implementing and maintaining their products/services.

Project Pitch

Supporting Videos

Year: 2018
Level of Government: National/Federal government


  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:


Date Published:

24 January 2023

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