In this day and age of alternative service delivery options and the nearly ubiquitous presence of digital technologies, citizens are no longer complacent about government services which have traditionally been slow and unresponsive. Governments around the world, especially in the Global South, are searching for ways to respond to these rapidly rising expectations for improved public service delivery. Public service delivery is also vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Leapfrogging in the Global South can be achieved through a collaborative South-South and triangular cooperation network focused exclusively on empowering southern countries to learn from and support one another in identifying vital innovations and scaling up novel solutions to public service challenges by customizing the necessary tools and strategies to their unique country contexts.
To harness innovations, particularly in public service delivery and help governments and the society achieve the SDGs and other development agenda, the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI) was launched at the Global South-South Development Expo on 27 November 2017 in Antalya, Turkey. The SSN4PSI is a collaborative platform where governments, private sector organizations, experts, and academics exchange knowledge, experiences, and expertise on public service innovation. One of the most important methods employed by SSN4PSI is ‘Matchmaking’. Matchmaking ensures that countries that have successfully tackled public service challenges in the past can effectively “export” solutions to countries that need them the most. The first international matchmaking workshop of the network was convened in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 9-11 December 2017. The workshop featured participants from 18 countries and generated 38 partnership opportunities.
The conveners of the SSN4PSI are joined by the Astana Civil Service Hub (ACSH) in organizing this event. The ACSH is an excellent and important example of the cross-regional South-South and triangular cooperation in the civil service field. The Hub was established by 25 participating countries and 5 international organizations and currently has 40 countries and 35 institutional partners. The ACSH prioritizes horizontal knowledge sharing based on mutual respect and learning between participating countries in the context of their unique experiences. In this context, a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Learning Alliance on E-government Development that was launched in June 2018 by the ACSH and practitioners from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan with a focus on countries-specific challenges, best practices and innovative solutions on e-Government. Furthermore, the ACSH pays particular attention to P2P learning and applies the OECD Effective Institutions Platform Guide to launch Peer Learning Alliances. A first example of such implementation was practiced within the P2P Learning Alliance of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan on Public Service Delivery through One-Stop-Shop principle in May 2016. In collaboration with the ACSH, on 7 -9 June 2018, SSN4PSI hosted its second International Matchmaking event in Astana, Kazakhstan where 13 partnership possibilities were generated from 10 countries.
Many of the matchmaking opportunities generated from the workshops in public service delivery, healthcare, skills development have progressed to implementation. Some of these include the adaptation of best practices from Bangladesh in Somalia through a series of workshops in Mogadishu hosted by the UNDP Somalia “Innovate for Somalia” project. The knowledge exchange in July 2018 was led by the Bangladesh’s “a2i-Innovate for All” programme. Other successful instances of matchmaking include adaptation of initiatives from Singapore in Uganda on “Teaching Factory Concept”; Bosnia and Herzegovina to Afghanistan on “Common Assessment Framework (CAF) model in the Civil Service”; Bhutan to Fiji on “Improved Public Service Delivery”; OECD to Bhutan and Bosnia and Herzegovina on “Digital Skills for the Public Sector”, and Bangladesh to Peru on the “SDG Tracker”.
Currently, the SSN4PSI is following up on the matchmaking involving 29 countries around the world.
The main objective of the event at the GSSD Expo 2018 is to develop a deeper understanding and broader exchange in the Global South by identifying vital and novel innovations for scaling-up public service innovation, more specifically:
- Facilitate match-making among participating countries and other relevant stakeholders;
- Facilitate an inclusive understanding of the kind of service delivery innovations that create sustainable impact and process of creating that impact;
- Exhibit proven pathways from innovation prototyping to up-scaling;
- Explore more broadly the role of public service innovations in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The following questions may be addressed:
- What are the critical success factors for an effective public service innovation?
- What creates impact and what does not in such innovation?
- What determines the effective transfer of a successful innovation from one country to another?
- Matching of demand and supply of solutions in the public sector;
- Initiation of expansion of the SSN4PSI to digitization for development;
- Partnership building among participants will be fostered through Matchmaking process of SSN4PSI.
Format and Design
A number of participants have agreed to share (present) their case studies. A matchmaking session will be conducted on two broad themes, namely; ‘Innovation in Improving Public Services to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ and ‘Innovation Capacity of Civil Services’. The “Reverse Engineering” method of training will allow the deconstruction of a best practice to identify why it was successful in one country and reconstruct it to fit the local context of another country. This is the unique and exclusive method of the event. This unique method identifies why a best practice is successful in the “exporter” country and how it can be accommodated in the local context of the “importer” country. Each of the thematic discussions will be led by experts in reverse engineering and thematic area. To facilitate discussions, a list of guiding questions will be provided during the panel discussions. The matchmaking session will be conducted in a roundtable format with facilitators.
Wrap up Session
After the discussions, participants will report to the plenary. The ensuing discussion will allow for infusion of South-South and triangular Cooperation. The underlying approach of the Network is to ensure effective South-South and triangular cooperation. Thus it is important to review the alternative approaches adopted by various countries to institutionalize South-South and triangular cooperation. The plenary will be led by facilitators with expertise in the two focus areas of the workshop.
Mr. Anir Chowdhury
Policy Advisor, Access to Information (a2i), the Prime Minister’s Office of Bangladesh
Mr. Anir Chowdhury is the Policy Advisor of UNDP, USAID and Gates Foundation-supported “a2i – innovate for all” Program of the Government of Bangladesh. In this capacity, he leads the formation of a whole-of-society innovation ecosystem in Bangladesh through massive technology deployment, extensive capacity development, integrated policy formulation, whole-of-government institutional reform and an Innovation Fund. His work on innovation in public service has developed interesting and replicable models of service delivery decentralization, public-private partnerships and transformation of a traditional bureaucracy into a forward-looking, citizen-centric service provider. Anir is a member of the Prime Minister’s National Digital Task Force, Education Minister’s National ICT in Education Task Force, and Cabinet Secretary’s National Steering Committee on Civil Registry and Vital Statistics (CRVS). He co-founded several software and service companies in the US and Bangladesh focused on enterprise management and IT strategy for Fortune 500 corporations. He also co-founded a number of non-profit organizations focused on ICT4D, e-learning and open source technologies. Anir graduated magna cum laude in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from Brown University and did post-graduate work on management, marketing and education reform in Harvard, Columbia and Boston Universities.
Alex Bello Brillantes, Jr., PhD
Professor, National College of Public Administration and Governance, University of the Philippines
Alex B. Brillantes, Jr, is Professor at the National College of Public Administration and Governance at the University of the Philippines where he also served as its Dean. He obtained his PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of Hawaii as scholar of the East West Center, and MPA and AB Political Science from the University of the Philippines. Brillantes is President of the Asian Association for Public Administration and also President of the Philippine Society for Public Administration.
Brillantes was a Commissioner (Deputy Minister) of the Commission on Higher Education from 2013 to 2017 where he served as Chair of the Boards of Regents of 21 State Universities and Colleges in the Philippines. Brillantes also was Executive Director of the Local Government Academy of the Department of Interior and Local Government from 1992 to 1998.
As a scholar, Professor Brillantes has published articles on public administration and governance and institutions, decentralization, development administration, public sector reform and leadership in several local and international journals He has written three books, Dictatorship and Martial Law (1986); The Philippine Presidency (1994); and Innovations and Excellence in Local Governance (2003). He has also served as consultant of several international agencies including the Asian Development Bank the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency, United Nations Development Program, Australian Agency for international Development and the European Union.
Brillantes was visiting Professor in Kobe University, Meiji University and the Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies in Japan; Visiting Fellow at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia; delivered lectures at the National Institute of Development Administration in Bangkok, Thailand, Tunghai University of Taiwan. the Euromed School in Marseilles, France and the Sungkyunkwan University in Korea.