Innovacion Publica (IP) 360 seeks to respond to the low levels of trust in government and to the unequal distribution of innovation in Latin America's public sector. The project has a holistic approach to reach local governments that are not part of the mainstream opengov networks. It delivers actions in 19 local governments to strengthen citizen participation, transparency and digitalization. The lessons learned are then scaled up through a regional learning community of public innovators.
IP 360 is an initiative of Asuntos del Sur that promotes collaborative work and technical support to 19 subnational governments, 2 legislative entities and two municipal associations in 4 Latin American countries.
The project promotes transformation and innovation actions in governments by channelling collective intelligence to achieve inclusive and democratic governance. This is done through specific actions to strengthen citizen participation, transparency and accountability, and frameworks for digitization and modernization of public management. These actions include training of innovation agents, designing and facilitating citizen laboratories, advising on public policy and govtech implementation. After implementing these actions, the project builds a network of collaboration and exchange between the innovation agents of each government involved.
The team started from a study that showed that less than 25% of the population in Latin America are satisfied with the functioning of democracy. Formal institutions for participation, such as congresses and parties, are trusted by less than 20% of society and more than 80% of citizens believe that they are governed by a minority that only looks after its own interests. Opacity in public management is one of the greatest challenges, as more than 65% of Latin Americans believe that corruption has increased compared to the previous year and 85% perceive that corruption is a major problem for their country.
IP 360 seeks to respond to this situation by bringing the tools and approaches of open government and public innovation to all kinds of governments and, ultimately, benefit citizens.
So far, the team has already trained more than 1300 public officials though 3 courses: Collective Innovation in times of emergency (oriented to pandemic responses), Public Innovation 360, and Participatory Processes for Public Policy. In addition, it has provided specific training workshops and support to 8 municipal governments and the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism of Bolivia.
The team is also working on specific innovations with several governments: in Rosario and La Paz, it is working on the development of legislative frameworks for the implementation of open contracting; in the development of the digital platform for citizen participation Bahía.Participa (Bahía Blanca); in policies for the prevention of digital violence and the promotion of digital economy ecosystems in Envigado; in the urban innovation laboratory in Bolivia; and in advising the Virtual Congress platform of the Congress of Chile. The project has also been part of the transparent transition of subnational governments together with UN Habitat and the Association of Municipalities in Bolivia.
The results and learnings are captured in quick guides that allow easy application and scalability of actions. The team has published 5 quick guides for COVID-19 crisis management, 6 manuals to innovate the public sector and a paper on the application of crowdlaw.
The actions allowed the team to start networking among the public officials it works with, and to boost interaction and joint learning. Last year, the team held the first post-COVID-19 solutions ideation lab and bilateral collaboration meetings between management teams to share projects. Based on this experience, the team is now working on a network of innovation agents and organising a face-to-face meeting for November 2021, in which it hopes to consolidate its network of public innovation agents.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Innovation and open government approaches were focused primarily at the national level, with little progress among subnational governments, leaving behind smaller cities that do not fit the conditions needed for these models (especially in countries with less development in digitalization, such as Bolivia). Despite this, most of today 's challenges - such as the pandemic, climate change, digital divide, and migration - are prevalent in all cities, many of which are not prepared and are not equipped with the best tools. That is why a holistic approach is needed, the team is assisting and providing tools to medium and small cities and building connections between them. The vision is to generate public innovation in less institutionalized and developed cities and local governments.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The project's first year was during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the team has been able to generate useful guides to actions for governments during the crisis, provide training to public servants teams and consolidate significantly. At the same time, the team has been able to identify common interests and generate connections between governments. The project brought forward learning exchanges between La Paz, Bahía Blanca and Hurlingham on citizen volunteering, between Medellín and Tucumán regarding citizen security indicators, and between Bahía Blanca and the Electronic Government Agency of Bolivia on how to create an open data repository. The team is now working side to side with innovation agents to push forward several policies and build links to consolidate a expert network. The group's first face-to-face meeting will take place in November in Buenos Aires with over 50 public servants from 4 countries.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Government officials (direct beneficiaries)
Citizens (indirect beneficiaries)
Civil society organisations: part of IP 360's courses and actions, including innovation labs.
Companies: contribute and provide support on various initiatives such as the open contracts for innovation project.
International organizations: UN Habitat in Bolivia and EU in Argentina.
The team also actively participates in many international networks (e.g., the Federal OpenGov table and the OECD network)
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
IP 360 interacts actively with government teams and civil society organizations. In its innovation labs and training courses the team has created multi-sector dynamics in which different types of stakeholders and interests are represented. At the same time, it has been able to identify common interests and generate connections between governments. Exchanges between different governments have also been carried out to solve complex problems together.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The measurement of impact is still in progress due to the recent start of the project. Nevertheless, key outcomes include:
- The creation of local regulations for the municipal transition in Bolivia.
- Improvements to the participation platform Virtual Congress of Chile.
- The creation of a citizen laboratory in Rosario.
- The institutionalization of the LabBahía innovation lab.
- The creation of the Urban Innovation Laboratory in Bolivia, that will operate inside the Ministry of Housing and Urbanism.
- 1300 public officials trained
- 8 laboratories generated
- 12 publications of research, manuals and guides
- 5 virtual spaces organized for learning transfer
- 8 webinars
Impact is evaluated through two main mechanisms:
1) a project's programmatic results monitoring matrix
2) a digital dashboard of 40 dichotomous public innovation measurement indicators measured for each government
Challenges and Failures
The political challenges refer to the will and continuity of the processes. Latin American countries do not have the institutional stability to ensure that progress and transformations can be sustained over time.
The second challenge refers to the very unequal and heterogeneous situations of cities and local governments in Latin America. Most of the innovations and budgets are concentrated in big and global cities, while intermediate and small cities are left behind despite the many problems they also face. For these reasons, solutions are tailored to the necessities of each city and its context.
The third challenge is that managing the pandemic and the economic crisis has been difficult for many governments in the region. Most authorities are focusing their budgets to respond to the public health situation with a decreased focus on strengthening public institutions and investing in developing public servants' skills.
Conditions for Success
The project has several conditions for success:
- Effectively identify public servants that can become innovation agents and can accelerate transformations and implement new ideas.
- Secure political will that can facilitate the cooperation with governments.
- Secure financial resources to implement policies and invest in the required transformations: digitalization, creation of participatory spaces, open data and information, among others.
- Ensure stable internet connectivity for all meeting participants, regardless of their remoteness.
- Guarantee the active participation and involvement of civil society.
After this year, the aim is to scale the project and integrate more countries and local governments. At the end of 2021 and as a result of the first face-to-face meeting with public servants, the team will create a toolkit with some of its best practices. This will enable them to reach out to countries where open government and open data principles are not widespread (including Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador) and involve them in the project and network.
- Given that the complex challenges faced by today's global society require collective solutions and innovations, a holistic approach is essential.
- Open Government is a standardized model that not necessarily fit all sizes. For this reason, it is crucial to include the many cities without the necessary resources or tools that are being left behind.
- Open government, public innovation, digitalization are not just technical solutions, they are also part of political and social structures - recognising this is important.
- In every government there are agents to accelerate innovation. Identifying, supporting, and working directly with them is key.
- All public servants need solutions. Transferring ideas and know-how to them through meetings with other public servants in other cities or countries that face similar problems and have already implemented solutions to them has the potential to profoundly change public services.
- Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
15 September 2021