The Idarathon competition is a response to the imminent need for agility and resilience in the Moroccan administration. The name of the competition is a contraction of the terms 'idara', meaning administration, and marathon, a competition in which civil servants are challenged to innovate. During this competition, a number of challenges are identified and form the basis of the process of ideating and prototyping solutions to meet them.
Idarathon is an initiative of the Ministry of Digital Transition and Administrative Reform and the e-TAMKEEN project of the Belgian Development Agency. As part of the training provided by the e-TAMKEEN programme, several courses focus on innovation and the digital transformation of government. Aware of the importance of innovation within the public sector, the programme's action extends into the field with a bank of concrete projects. IDARATHON is an opportunity for each civil servant to give concrete form to their vision of the administration of the future, accompanied by renowned experts from the first sketches of their projects right through to their implementation on the ground. The approach of a competition like IDARATHON can be summed up as follows:
- Strengthening human resources skills by adopting new creative and agile working methods and "Learning by Doing"
- Bringing civil servants closer to the challenges facing Moroccan public administration at local and central level
- To support innovative public projects from start to finish, from ideation to implementation and scaling up.
The objective of the competition is to inspire innovation driven by civil servants through a programme encouraging intrapreneurship; to deploy a programme enabling human, managerial, organisational and digital transformation in line with the new public administration model; to develop innovative solutions working to modernise public administration; to follow an exciting human adventure through immersion in new approaches to collective intelligence, creativity and innovative project management. And restoring trust between users, the public administration and its human capital.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Idarathon is innovative in its participative format, and the fact that the participants in this competition are civil servants who are devising solutions to improve the services provided by their respective administrations. The solutions/innovations that emerge from the competition are taken up/tested by the administrations. The competition is in three stages: 1) Pre-competition: Setting up the challenges, 2) Identifying the innovations/projects, 3) Competition and post-competition: For 2 weeks, the participants work on their projects and afterwards there coaching and support for the winning projects for 5 months, followed by testing and implementation by the partner Ministries.
Collaborations & Partnerships
- Cooperation agency (Enabel): Technical and financial support to implement the competition.
- Government officials (14 ministerial departments): Co-supervision of the organisation of the competition and choice of challenges to match the national strategy.
- Companies: thematic intervention and support for projects during the competition. The private sector has a great deal of expertise in terms of innovation, which can be beneficial to the public sector.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
- Civil servants: Representatives of 14 ministerial departments, the main beneficiaries of the action
- Companies: Consultancy firm, communications company
- Cooperation agency: ENABEL
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
- 6 innovative projects came out of the first Idarathon, and more than 100 civil servants received training in design thinking and public entrepreneurship
- Hot and cold evaluations were carried out by the project to measure results and impacts.
- An independent firm has been recruited to carry out an impact study on Idarathon, based on the BARKELEY matrix.
- Idarathon is expected to become a bank of projects for Government departments throughout the year, and to enable them to express their views on topical issues
- Participants receive 54 hours of training, there have been 30 Beta testers, and 19 Public sector contributors
Challenges and Failures
- When IDARATHON was launched, the decision was made to create interdepartmental project teams. This made it difficult for project leaders to defend the relevance and importance of these projects internally.
- Problems were encountered in the involvement phase of the administrations that had to absorb the projects developed.
- In response to this problem, it was agreed at an Idarathon evaluation workshop to involve local authorities upstream of the solution development phase.
Conditions for Success
Human resources first and foremost, because the civil servants involved in Idarathon develop everything themselves. But the essence of the skills is already present in the administrations, and Idarathon also serves to express and develop them. Financial resources also play a key role in Idarathon, because once the projects have proved their worth in the pool test, the authorities must play their supporting role by injecting the funds needed to bring the projects to life.
Other partners in the programme have replicated the formula in a different format, still addressing innovation but in a more business-oriented manner. Our initiative stands out for its cross-disciplinary approach and its focus on digital technology in the deployment of innovative projects.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
- Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways
27 November 2023