GovTech Lab Lithuania

To promote technological innovation in the public sector, we have created a GovTech Lab - the first of it's kind in Lithuania.

The GovTech Lab addresses the weakness of a slow procurement process in the public sector by orchestrating a Challenge Series, a process that constantly scours public sector institutions for challenges and connects them to solutions in the tech community, in a way that is dynamic and involves participants from academia, private and public sectors.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

In Lithuania 56.4% of public procurements of IT services (2011-2015) are won by the same 20 companies and 64% of the time only one company enters the tender. These statistics reveal problems of vendor lock-in, which makes it difficult for new players, especially new and smaller companies, to participate in government procurement. There are several soft skills that deepen this problem: a lack of collaboration between ministries, a limited knowledge of emerging technologies amongst public sector servants, a segmented ecosystem that hinders the transfer of knowledge from other sectors into government.

The GovTech Lab offers a new, holistic approach to emerging technology in Lithuania. First, the Lab uses a bottom-up approach and seeks to educate public sector servants – both those in central and local governments – on what technology exists, the potential application of emerging technology in government, and additional ethical and moral concerns that should be taken into consideration. The Lab organizes a “GovTech Forum”, partnering with the Bank of Lithuania and Ministry of Economy and Innovation, which provides lessons and a formalized resource network of people to enable the transfer of knowledge across different government institutions and to facilitate cross-institutional innovative technology projects. Second, the Lab uses a top-down approach by sending its team members as a task force to consult government leaders on methods to foster innovation, having already visited over 20 institutions.

Finally, the Lab actively works to make its GovTech initiatives open to all citizens, both through events where citizens are encouraged to provide feedback directly to public sector servants, as well as through processes that level the playing field for smaller companies to participate in creating solutions to government challenges. The Lab’s “Digital Lithuania Meetup” series encourages all people from society to come and engage with government officials in person. The Lab’s “Challenge series” provides specific processes to encourage companies of all sizes, academics, and other individuals to build the Lithuanian government together.

The Challenge Series is perhaps the most innovative part of the GovTech Lab initiative. The series works as an innovation on the typical procurement process, to deal with the rapid pace of technological progress in the modern era. The series begins with a call for challenges: an open call for all public sector institutions in Lithuania to submit a problem that they have, which can be solved with new technology. The challenges are then selected based on their quality, relevance and the cooperation of the public institution that submitted it. The chosen public sector institutions then become the owners of their challenge, overseeing the success of solutions throughout the remainder of the series. Challenges are later made public, through a series of events and marketing campaigns in order to generate as wide a reach as possible.

Once this is complete, a Call for Solutions is issued – an open call in which the GovTech Lab defines a period of time in which companies or people may submit solutions to the challenges. The GovTech Lab oversees this process, ensuring that adequate information is provided and any consultation needed is given. At the end of the Call for Solutions, a Pitch Day is announced, where all stakeholders gather in order to hear pitches proposed for each challenge. The best pitches are then selected after consultation with a panel of judges – experts that understand what will have the biggest impact. The selected solutions may proceed to the next phase of the Challenge Series – a process in which their ideas become prototypes and later products. The GovTech Lab oversees this and ensures that adequate funding is provided to the teams.

The GovTech Lab, an initiative of the Create Lithuania team, recently was approved for official funding under the Ministry of Economy and Innovation. The lab is going to be a project under the Lithuanian Agency for Science and Innovation. The financial period will begin in November of 2019, with the current plan being extended for three years. The current state of the Lab receives minimal financing, so once the financial period kicks in the initiatives of the Lab will see rapid growth. Conferences, events and constantly running challenge series will ensure that over the next three years, Lithuania emerges a regional leader in the GovTech sector. This is already evident with the GovTech Baltic Leaders conference that is planned for the fall of 2019. Held in Vilnius, the GovTech Baltic Leaders conference will bring together the best and brightest minds in GovTech, to share knowledge and discover new ways of connecting even more people to the GovTech community.

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Year: 2019
Level of government: National/Federal government

Status:

  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

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