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MedeINN – Public Innovation Lab with GovTech approach of Mayor’s office of Medellín

MedeINN Logo

MedeINN arose from the need to innovate in the government sector, in a city that had been developing its innovation capabilities in all other sectors. For this reason, and under Innovative State premise, we seek to connect the Mayor's Office of Medellín´s challenges with entrepreneurs and researchers capacities. This has been achieved after a redesign of a Public Procurement for Innovation methodology, which enables Open Innovation in the government sector.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Our Public Procurement for Innovation methodology, through which open innovation is enabled in the public sector that faces current regulatory difficulties in Colombia, allows the Science, Technology and Innovation ecosystem that for more than a decade has been strengthening in the District of Medellín, may contribute to the solution of the challenges that today impact its inhabitants.

In this sense, we enable an open innovation methodology, of public purchases for innovation, different from the one regulated in Colombia, which allows the entire innovation cycle to be fulfilled, providing solutions to the organization's difficulties through ICT. This strengthens and fosters the District's GovTech ecosystem.

MedeINN´s methodology begins with the construction and consolidation of databases with challenges faced by the different organization areas. Subsequently, challenges are prioritized based on different variables: available data, available equipment, available resource, possibility of a solution through technology. Prioritized challenges are launched through an open innovation call through the MedeINN’s platform.

Research groups, teams of innovators and start ups can present their technology-mediated solution proposals at these calls. From these proposals, according to variables such as TRLs, application of emerging technologies, computer and information security attributes, among others, some participants are chosen. Those participate in a follow-up and prototyping phase to guarantee solution´s novelty. Finally, monitoring phase results are evaluated in field and winners execute their solution in a monitored pilot.

In accordance with the above, the proposed objectives of MedeINN are:

  • Promote, in state entities, the acquisition of new or improved services and processes, to increase their impact and improve the citizen's experience.
  • Promote state supplier´s innovation and development from the demand for state entitie´s goods and services that cannot be satisfied by the market.
  • Strengthen the business models of the city's CTeI ecosystem through the demand for 4.0 solutions and digital technologies for the challenges of municipal administration.
  • Boost the adoption and commercialization of innovation, promoting solutions from the public sector as a launching pad.

In this way, the results benefit the citizen who is the main affected by unresolved challenges in the cities, and also the organization, by more efficiently fulfilling its obligations through technology. Likewise, the Science, Technology and Innovation ecosystem, seeing in the State an enabler of their business ideas, facilitating not only financially but also logistically and regulatory.

Seeking to take the laboratory to a greater projection, we will launch its Regulatory Design Center, with the aim of designing regulatory instruments that facilitate new technologies implementation in the government sector. In the short-term planning, 1 year, it is expected to institutionalize MedeINN through a local resolution that allows this initiative to transcend the different administrations. In the medium term, between 1 and 5 years, it is expected to formulate a public innovation policy in public sector that enables a disruptive culture and disruptive practices in Medellín Mayor's Office from different dimensions, mediated by the MedeINN.

Currently, MedeINN has carried out innovation projects in the following areas: Connectivity, Mobility, Zero paper, Management of green areas in urban environments, Solid waste and prevention of teenage pregnancy. Among the innovative solutions, the following stand out: Monitoring of public parking areas through IoT sensors, management of green areas through data captured by Drones and video systems with analytics, conscious waste management through APPs and prevention of teenage pregnancy through metaverse.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Open innovation processes implemented by the public sector are carried out through the public procurement guide for innovation of the Colombian State Contracting Agency – Colombia Compra Eficiente. However, this process has many limitations and risks for public entities, due to those who postulate their solution proposals are not responsible for executing them. In that sense, innovation is not encouraged and ecosystem is not strengthened. In addition, the risks related to intellectual property and copyright are increased.

MedeINN’s methodology focuses on strengthening the solution proposals presented by the ecosystem, and the most innovative and with the highest impact is the one that will be contracted and executed in the District to improve citizen’s quality of life.

What is the current status of your innovation?

MedeINN's methodology has been implemented through the launch of several innovation challenges, managing to obtain solutions from the innovative ecosystem. Some of them have been implemented through pilot tests, subsequently carrying out different evaluations through technical analysis, interviews, surveys, among others.

We are now in a phase of improving the methodology, thanks to the lessons learned through each challenge launch and solution implementation. We want to make the processes more efficient and benefit the different actors even more.

That is why we are analyzing each step of the methodology, the failures and the achievements, receiving lessons from our collaborators and opinions from our beneficiaries, identifying each improvement opportunity that comes our way to make our project more and more innovative.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

  • Colombia’s National Planning Department accompanied us in the process of structuring the Laboratory with Benchmark and design advice.
  • National Committee for Public Innovation validated our methodology and provided improvement opportunities.
  • Secretariat of Supplies of the Mayor's Office of Medellín built the public policy of social, sustainable and innovative public purchases.
  • IDOM, a Spanish consulting firm, validated our model and gave us with recommendations.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

  • Rural citizenship with the challenge of connectivity in districts, connecting families.
  • The Mobility Authority benefits from monitoring parking areas, scaling this solution to an entire area and seeking its integration with the District's mobility APP.
  • Boys and girls with the prevention of pregnancy.
  • Citizenship in general with comprehensive solutions such as green areas and waste management.
  • Public employees with optimal technological solutions to fulfill their obligatio

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

MedeINN has launched 4 open innovation process with the objective of solving 11 public innovation challenges. With public innovation and technology MedeINN has helped to solve important public problems of the city and improve citizens quality of life.

The challenges have been related to how to improve internet connectivity rural areas, how to reduce paper use in the organization, how to improve public space parking and develop Smart Parking projects, how to improve green areas maintenance and operation by using 4.0. technologies, how to transform solid waste into valid assets, and how to reduce pregnancy test and sexual violence by using technologies.

The results of the solutions found are: 350 citizens connected to internet in rural areas where never have arrived connection before, between 19 and 35 tons of paper saved per year, 33 parking lots with IoT sensor and data analytics to make intelligent decisions, 1 predictive model that optimize pruning of green area

Challenges and Failures

The main challenges that MedeINN has faced are related to change resistant in the organization and the legal challenge of being the first successful initiative than implemented of the methodology of public purchase of technology and innovation in Colombia.

Also, is important to promote in public institutions the possibility of experimentation of new products and services and have clarity that failure is possible and is important that teams are prepared to adjust in the way to solved problems and continue advancing to reach innovation objectives and goals.

Also, is important to develop a change management strategy that can generate awareness in the public servers that are new products and services based on technology can help the organization to be more effective efficient and smart, because there is an important resistance created by professionals that sometimes promote barriers to successfully implemented technology-based innovation un public sector.

Conditions for Success

  • The most important condition is leadership that dares to innovate, as these processes are fraught with risk and uncertainty.
  • Also, human and financial resources that allow accompanying and managing innovative solutions, both from innovation and from different dimensions.
  • Finally, regulation facilitates risk’s reduction and provides clarity to decision makers for prioritizing and trusting in this type of initiative.


It seeks to adapt for Citizen Participation’s Innovation Unit. In addition, MedeINN is implementing an innovation agents model, for having links that promote these processes in all Mayor's Offices of Medellín’s dependencies.

Likewise, our methodology has been socialized with Cali, Manizales and Bogotá’s Mayors in Colombia and with Mayors of Ecuador (Manabí) and Chile (Viña del Mar).

We also replicate our methodology in spaces such as the Alliance of GovTech Leaders, in the National GovTech Board and the National Public Innovation Committee

Lessons Learned

  • The importance of not only managing risks and guaranteeing innovation, but also communicating the results.
  • It is necessary to strengthen the capacities in investigation and strategic surveillance.
  • In public innovation, it is mandatory to keep records and evidence of all phases, both the contractual and the innovation one, to guarantee transparency and disruption in the process.
  • Risk management and call monitoring are key processes throughout the process cycle.

Anything Else?

MedeINN is part of Mayor's Offices of Medellín’s Development Plan “Medellín Futuro”, in the line of Medellín Software Valley, and its challenges seek to target the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. This is how pursue turning what was the most violent city in the world into the most innovative one, using technology as a tool for social transformation.

Project Pitch

Supporting Videos

Year: 2021
Level of Government: Local government


  • Identifying or Discovering Problems or Opportunities - learning where and how an innovative response is needed
  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

Innovation provided by:


Date Published:

23 January 2023

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