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Benchmarking participatory innovation processes with a playbook for a digital innovation unit or laboratory (Dominican Republic)

What it does. Spells out a five-steps methodology for an innovation unit or lab to develop participatory solutions to problems of common interest. It includes elements like criteria for evaluating ideas, methods to guide their development, deployment and evaluation, design of the roles and job profiles for the Digital Lab. Additionally, it clearly spells out the values that an innovation unit or lab run by the public sector should put front and center, starting with “empathy for the users”.

Value proposition. By benchmarking the process of creating new solutions, the playbook helps an innovation unit or lab maintain a clear vision of its work as it rolls out new products and services, and stay true to its mandate.

Why and when to use it. A playbook is like a constitution for an innovation unit or lab. It is appropriate to adopt it in the early stages of creating the unit or lab, or as a part of a re-organization or revamping.

Known issues and troubleshooting. Adopting a playbook, rather than creating one from scratch, is much faster and more efficient, but might engender less of a buy-in from staff than a playbook they have written themselves. The playbook needs translation in the official language (from the Spanish).

Context. The Dominican Republic’s UNDP Accelerator Lab pitched a strategic proposal on a national innovation policy to the Presidential Innovation Cabinet where they identified opportunities for promoting innovation and digital capabilities of the government. The proposal focused on presenting the innovation ecosystem in the Latin American region. Next, UNDP organized a masterclass to show how innovation is not limited to the private sector and share examples of using innovation in the public sector to improve the lives of the citizens. Digital tools, it argued, can be leveraged to make solutions more inclusive and citizen centered.

Finally, in a COVID-19 pandemic context, the newly established Digital Innovation Laboratory co-designed a digital consultation process. The idea was to take advantage of its digital nature to reach most citizens (and engage the youth) and to offer a platform for citizens to channel their concerns and feedback.

Cost to implement (in USD): not reported, but modest.

Time (in calendar time): not reported, but modest.

People (team numerosity): not reported

Focal point. Sandy Ramirez

Country and year. Dominican Republic, 2021-2022