Innova FOSIS created a new way of designing public policies that opened up public problems to solutions from civil society, the private sector, and academia. It allows a space within the state to test solutions on a small scale, through the implementation of learning pilots. It is an open innovation competition, followed by a pilot model for learning management and finally a mechanism for scaling up the best solutions to public policy.
InnovaFOSIS seeks to solve the difficulty that governments have in solving increasingly complex social problems that require policy designs and social programmes that are more sophisticated and relevant to the realities of citizens. In particular, the programme seeks to address the difficulty within the public structure of trying out new ideas due to the requirements and procedures governing the creation of new public offerings. The programme opens the doors of the State for diverse actors, who have experience and greater operational flexibility, to propose solutions to complex challenges related to poverty and social vulnerability. Each year, FOSIS, in conjunction with various sectoral ministries, defines challenges that affect the most vulnerable population and require new public services or the redesign of existing services. Once the issues have been defined, an open public competition is held for innovative solutions that are sufficiently advanced to be piloted. The selection is made through an open call and with the involvement of the ministries responsible for the challenges, in order to facilitate the subsequent scaling up of successful pilots to public policy.
The goal in terms of innovation is the creation or improvement of public policies, centred on citizens that respond to their needs and solve complex problems that require articulation at the territorial level. The beneficiaries of the programme are diverse. At the institutional level, there are the ministries that postulate the challenges and receive proposals for new offerings or improvements to their current offerings, and the civil society institutions that receive funding from InnovaFOSIS to implement the pilots and access the opportunity to influence the process of designing or redesigning public policies. At the individual level, 10 pilots are funded each year that directly benefit citizens throughout the country. Innova FOSIS has been running for 4 years: in 2018, 13 pilots were implemented with approximately CL$400 million. In 2019, 20 pilots were awarded with a total funding of CL$600 million. In 2020, 13 pilots were funded for a total of CL$613 million. In 2021, 16 pilots were financed for a total amount of CLP 705 million. This track record has allowed the programme to consolidate and each year we have sought to improve it by adjusting its procedures to make it increasingly relevant to the needs of all users. In addition, its implementation has become increasingly institutionalised, transforming it into a consolidated programme that has lasted through different administrations.
InnovaFOSIS was carried out using public service design methodology, a detailed analysis was made of the shortcomings of the innovation competition managed by FOSIS (Idea Fund) and based on these results and the identified needs of all the actors and users identified, the new programme was co-created, which responds to the incentives and needs of the actors involved, which include: ministries, public services, internal officials of the National and Regional FOSIS, end users, regional authorities, specialists, civil society, etc. The methodological design of InnovaFOSIS was carried out by the Public Innovation Laboratory of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, who designed a pilot model based on learning management. This model allows FOSIS not only to finance the implementation of pilots, but also to accompany the process through the active management of learning, designing a method of exchange of reflections between civil society implementers, sectoral authorities of the ministries and FOSIS. At the end of the pilot intervention, the model allows for a structure to measure the results achieved and provide a scaling-up route towards public policy for the most suitable and successful solutions.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Innova FOSIS is not just a competitive fund for piloting, but a programme that takes charge of the piloting process, providing active support and a methodology to the pilot teams. This ensures learning, because we believe that without the management of learning it is very difficult to install innovative initiatives within the State. Innova FOSIS offers a different vision in the process of creating public policy because it breaks with the traditional process, based on developing a long planning process that goes directly to implementation, proposing a process with innovation logic, which includes a space for prototyping, testing and piloting with real users before scaling up. This allows learning to start early and risks to be mitigated prior to scaling up, thus considerably reducing the uncertainties of a new solution.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The support of the Ministry of Social Development was key, the design was in charge of the UC Public Innovation Laboratory, leading the design of the structure, operation and methodology. The programme involved the collaboration of more than 10 different sectoral ministries for the definition of the challenges and the identification of the lessons learned, and civil society, academia and citizens have been permanently invited to collaborate in the design and adjustment of the programme.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
- External users: applicants from civil society, the private sector and academia
- Internal users: professionals from FOSIS regional offices and the central level, officials from ministries associated with the challenges
- Beneficiaries: People living in poverty and/or vulnerability who belong to the most vulnerable 60% of the population according to the socio-economic qualification according to the Social Household Register
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Innova FOSIS pilots achieved a high level of learning in all dimensions. Of the pilots funded in the last 4 years, 11 of these have had some level of scaling up, either by public or private institutions. The Innova FOSIS programme has two annual indicators at the level of purpose: Percentage of users graduating from social innovation interventions (expected results: 90% (2019), 91% (2020) and 90% (2021) and Projects that improve the conditions of poverty and vulnerability of their participants 61% (2020), 71% (2021) 60% (2021). To measure these indicators, the programme develops baseline measurements at the beginning of the pilots and at the end of the pilots. In the future, it is expected that scalable projects will receive additional funding for a medium-scale results measurement stage to accurately determine the effectiveness of the intervention, thus facilitating the conversion to public policy.
Challenges and Failures
One of the biggest challenges has been the adjustment of internal processes because Innova FOSIS has brought about changes in multiple areas of the institution (financial, programmatic, fiscal, communications, processes, IT). Another major challenge has been the regional adoption of the Pilot Model, as it demands a new way of doing things: new roles, instruments and instances, many of which break with the traditional practice of FOSIS programmes. As a failure we can mention the low commitment of the partner ministries to the challenges of the 2019 call, which made it difficult to scale up the initiatives that year. From 2020 onwards, the linkage mechanisms were redesigned to focus more on scaling up, which is undoubtedly the most challenging element of the model. For 2022, improvements are being worked on to further deepen this aspect.
Conditions for Success
To achieve the success of the Innova FOSIS programme, it is essential to have:
- Leadership and guidance: both are fundamental because of the new public policy creation route proposed by Innova FOSIS, and because of the intersectoral work it offers in dealing with challenges from other state institutions.
- Human and financial resources: as it is a competitive fund, financial resources are one of the essential components of the programme. Human resources are also essential, because the innovation model is based on learning management, where the regional FOSIS team has a critical role: to transfer and ensure compliance with the methodology to ensure the possibilities of scaling up.
- Capacity for articulation: It is key that the institution has the capacity to connect with and link diverse sectors of society. Also to achieve the support of the ministries in charge of planning and financing the initiatives.
11 of the pilots funded have been replicated, and the model has been applied in more and more regions of the country, increasing the territorial scale. Within the institution, many FOSIS offices are making use of components of the piloting methodology to analyse the regular institutional offer. The UC Public Innovation Laboratory has also used the learning management methodology in 6 public innovation projects in other sectors.
The main learning is the need to design programmes based on the logic of co-creation and permanent iteration. InnovaFOSIS is an innovation that finances innovation and to achieve this it must be in constant analysis and improvement. In order to understand the needs and opportunities that people and institutions identify in the programme, it has been necessary to keep communication channels open on a permanent basis to understand how the programme unfolds in reality. Unlike regular state programmes, this programme is constantly questioning its own processes and definitions. It is vital to involve the areas that will be affected from the beginning so that they understand the objective and join in the change, to work as a team permanently and to incorporate the opinion of external stakeholders and users during the process. To rely on other related actors, either to learn from them or to add them as partners.
In Chile, the urgency of addressing and resolving the problems that for years have kept many people in the country in a situation of vulnerability has become more visible. These are complex and multidimensional problems that require a new perspective enriched by all actors in society, including the affected people themselves. This is precisely what Innova FOSIS does, it OPENS the State to the knowledge of other actors to address priority public challenges, ACTIVATES an Ecosystem around overcoming poverty, with innovative ideas focused on users, SCALES learning pilots and transforms them into potential social programmes that integrate public policy and LINKS the validated learning from the pilots with the Ecosystem of Social Innovation and other public institutions.
- 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