5. Digital innovation and GovTech

Innovation is increasingly crucial for governments as they face a context of growing uncertainty and complexity. Key societal challenges, such as climate change and an ageing population, also represent a need for improvement in how innovation is supported and leveraged in the public sector.

The challenges associated with an interconnected, digital, and rapidly changing world also present incredible opportunities to build a better future. The pace of the global transformation will only accelerate, and governments need to adapt by simultaneously addressing the challenges while seizing the vast opportunities. Such opportunities include the ability to use innovative digital technologies as enablers to deliver more timely, proactive and inclusive public services. They also allow for collaborative and innovative approaches that are conducive to greater trust in public institutions, which has been declining in many countries around the world, including in the LAC region (see Figure 1.3 in Chapter 1).1

This chapter examines the overall state of public sector innovation among governments of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), as well as initiatives more specifically related to digital innovation. Importantly, it includes a dedicated focus on LAC efforts to foster activities supporting GovTech ecosystems. The aim of the chapter is to provide LAC governments with a high-level overview of the drivers, supports, organisational and systemic factors that influence the development and diffusion of public sector innovation and digital innovation in the region. This work represents an opportunity for officials to take stock of and reflect on the current developments and achievements, and make intentional, informed decisions about innovation’s role in achieving public sector goals.

The OECD has found many instances in which LAC governments and their partners in industry and civil society are taking bold steps to innovate. In spite of this, a great deal of confusion remains as to the exact nature of innovation in the public sector, which actions may be better than others, and how governments can position and structure themselves to bring forth and execute new ideas. In interviews held within the scope of this report, countries such as Ecuador and Panama said that they “lacked a common vocabulary” or struggled to “articulate innovation” to ensure a common understanding.

This confusion is by no means unique to LAC, and it presents a problem in making public sector innovation a more routine activity in governments. Having a shared understanding of innovation and a common vocabulary matter, as governments are focusing more on taking systems-wide approaches to transformation across and within their countries and even across national borders. Without some degree of consensus about the nature of innovation, there will be a misalignment of belief, intent and action, which is likely to make the difficult task of introducing and applying novel approaches even more challenging.

In the broadest terms, public sector innovation has to fulfil three different components: novelty, implementation and impact (OECD, 2017[1]). The innovation needs to introduce a new approach or apply an existing approach in a new context, it must be implemented and should result in an outcome or impact (for example, a shift in public value, efficiency, effectiveness, trust or satisfaction).

At a deeper level, through its work with countries all over the world, the OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI)2 has found that innovation is multi-faceted, and that successfully leveraging the power of innovation requires a portfolio approach that allows governments to understand, foster and manage different facets (Figure 5.1).

The four primary facets to public sector innovation identified by the OECD OPSI are:

  1. 1. Mission-oriented Innovation. Setting a clear outcome and overarching objective for achieving a specific mission.

  2. 2. Enhancement-oriented Innovation. Upgrading practices, achieving efficiencies and better results, and building on existing structures.

  3. 3. Adaptive Innovation. Testing and trying new approaches in order to respond to a changing operating environment.

  4. 4. Anticipatory Innovation. Exploring and engaging with emergent issues that might shape future priorities and future commitments.

By its nature, innovation is an uncertain investment. There is no guarantee that any single innovation will work, how it will work, or what the unintended or unanticipated consequences might be. A portfolio approach – multiple projects and investments – offers governments the chance to spread risk, helping to mitigate the chance of loss, because if one investment fails others might still succeed.

The OECD-OPSI has developed the Portfolio Exploration Tool (PET),3 a survey-based self-diagnostic aide to help governments understand how they shape and influence the direction of the innovative activities in the public sector. The PET includes a series of questions that have been extensively prototyped and user tested to gauge an entity’s strengths and weaknesses in each of the four innovation facets.4 Based on a user’s responses, the PET creates a score for the strength of each facet based on a calculation formula determined and tested by the OECD-OPSI, and then provides the user with tailored responses. The OECD LAC Digital Government Agency Survey included a series of questions from the PET to get a sense of the digital innovation tendencies in LAC governments. By applying PET calculations to these responses, we can see some general strengths and weaknesses in the public sector innovation facets among LAC governments (see results in Figure 5.2).

While they are approximate observations, we can see some regional themes taking shape. For instance:

  • LAC governments most strongly favour mission-oriented innovation, with every country showing a strong or moderate proclivity for it. This indicates that LAC governments concentrate on innovating to achieve clear, often ambitious outcomes or overarching goals, usually coming directly from the senior leaders or politicians. The goals serve as an overarching driver and uniting force for innovation that guides relevant ecosystem players to work together to achieve them, and to drive new learning and knowledge in order to get there. Examples of mission-oriented innovation could include digital innovations seeking to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), strengthen health care systems, or close the digital divide Within the LAC context, existing examples include Bogota, Colombia’s efforts to develop comprehensive and integrated “Care Blocks”,5 and Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal initiative to provide every school student with a laptop and internet access (Mazzucato, 2023[3]). This result is not surprising, as this type of innovation often comes naturally to governments, as it is about working towards a goal on behalf of collective interests with strong top-down political will behind it.

  • LAC governments also tend to favour adaptive innovation, with 75% showing a strong or moderate proclivity for it. In addition to top-down direction, many LAC governments concentrate on trying new approaches in response to a changing operating environment. When the environment changes (e.g. a new technology or practices emerge), it can be necessary to respond with innovation that helps adapt. An example is the use of social media by governments to interact with citizens. Within the LAC context, examples here include Chile’s “silent channel” collaboration with Facebook to address gender-based violence during the COVID-19 lockdown,6 and Brazil’s iLabthon effort to foster the creation of innovation labs with the support of the best specialists in the public sector (see Box 5.5).7 LAC scores indicate a stronger preference for adaptive innovation than OPSI normally sees. This is a good sign, and is likely because the rapidly evolving nature of digital government demands approaches that are more rapid and agile than other policy domains.

  • LAC governments appear to be weaker in enhancement-oriented innovation, with 58% showing a strong or moderate proclivity for it (only 25% strong). This facet utilises existing knowledge and seeks to exploit previous innovations. Such forms of innovation can build on existing efforts to achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness and impact. Being weak in this facet indicates that these governments may need to give more attention to the support structures that sustain initiatives that are launched. Without operationalising the work, governments risk burn-out by staff who are constantly creating new processes for each new thing that is launched. Also, government’s ability to implement and fully deliver on its goals may be hindered by a lack of follow-through or the improvement of existing services, which appears to be a challenge in the region, with countries such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru all expressing challenges in sustaining initiatives in interviews held within the scope of this report.8 The low scores here are somewhat surprising, as enhancement-oriented is generally the most common type of innovation in governments. In seeking to disrupt the status-quo with ambitious and forward-thinking initiatives and high-profile launches, governments could be missing out on simpler, low-risk efforts that can still yield impact and maintain it over the long haul, even if they may be less exciting.

  • LAC governments are weakest in anticipatory innovation, with 85% showing weak scores.9 These governments may have to create room for anticipatory innovation so that they are not caught off-guard when facing big social or technological shifts. Giving room for employees to experiment and test out new ideas and creating communities of practice may help them to not miss out on emerging needs or practices that at first are not directly in line with current goals. Further, these governments should explore more future-oriented alternative solutions in and beyond its field of work to prepare for unforeseen events and new developments (e.g., through investigating trends and future scenarios). Weak scores in this area are common, as anticipatory innovation is generally least present within government portfolios. This is often because it is the most difficult to demonstrate the return-on-investment. However, strengthened efforts are needed to ensure governments have an informed view of the future and can act today to help shape it.

The bullets above represent broad regional themes, but the results of each country and organisation will vary. Digital government and innovation organisations in LAC governments can obtain more specific results and feedback on their own contexts by completing the Portfolio Exploration Tool.10 In addition to providing results and tailored advice on each facet, government teams can also map out their innovation portfolio on a project-by-project basis to identify gaps and determine whether their efforts are aligned with their core strengths, and to better understand their capacity for taking a portfolio approach to innovation.11

Based on their results, governments can target specific drivers, structures, tools, methods, skills and capacities to strengthen areas in which they may be weak. For instance, as LAC governments are weakest in Anticipatory Innovation, they could aim to put in place elements of the OECD’s Anticipatory Innovation Governance (AIG) model (see Box 5.1 and Figure 5.3). Several examples show how they are moving in this direction, including those mentioned in the “Future preparedness through anticipatory governance” section of the OECD-CAF’s 2022 report on artificial intelligence (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]), such as Chile’s “Future” pilot to anticipate, prioritize and build new and various forms of value.12

Likewise, approaches such lean methodologies, open innovation, and behavioural insights approaches can be inroads for enhancement-oriented innovation. To help governments understand and strengthen their efforts, OPSI has developed a Facets Brief for each of the innovation facets, as well as one for taking a portfolio approach to public sector innovation.13

Seven LAC governments (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru) have adhered to the OECD Declaration on Public Sector Innovation adopted in 2019 (see Box 5.2 and Figure 5.4),14 formally recognising the importance of innovation as a strategic capability of government to modernise state administrations and achieve policy goals. This step indicates their commitment and alignment with internationally-recognised principles and actions to embrace and enhance innovation.

LAC governments are engaged in a number of activities that are aligned to the Declaration principles.

Principle 1 (embrace and enhance innovation) is largely reflected in the portfolio approaches discussed in the previous section. It can also be demonstrated by the creation of innovation strategies. Many LAC governments perform well in this regard with it comes to digital innovation. As discussed in Chapter 1, most LAC governments have a digital government strategy in place, and they generally have a solid emphasis on innovation. A number have also developed AI strategies (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]) or digital innovation strategies.15 However, public sector innovation strategies have been less pronounced:

  • Colombia developed a strategy for “Innovation for a Modern Country” in its 2018 – 2022 National Development Plan, with Colombian officials stating in interviews held within the scope of this report that it has been crucial in providing a roadmap for a strategic, ecosystems-focused approach to innovation.

  • In Chile, the National Policy on Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation touches on the importance of public sector innovation (including networks, dissemination, scaling, skills, and systems approaches) and its State Modernisation Agenda16 describes relevant actions around modernising public services and servants and promoting transparency and citizen participation, among other things.

  • The Dominican Republic launched in 2021 an innovation and digital transformation strategy, though its scope only includes innovating upon public procurement.17

  • Ecuador created a dedicated strategy around continuous improvement and innovation of public processes and services.18

  • Paraguay used participatory techniques across sector to create a National Innovation Strategy, though the strategy itself is not generally aimed at public sector innovation.19

Of these, only Colombia, Ecuador, and to some extend Chile’s efforts approach a true public sector innovation strategy. Without such a strategy, LAC governments may struggle with taking a systems approach to innovation and linking their overall innovation efforts to their digital strategy and digital innovation goals. In interviews run within the scope of this report, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Peru stated that a weak strategic focus when it comes to innovation leads to fragmentation and a lack of clarity in innovation efforts. Governments can learn lessons from Ireland, which has created one of the leading public sector innovation strategies in place today (Box 5.3).

This principle can also be illustrated through high-profile events to raise awareness, highlight innovative efforts and promote learning, such as Brazil’s Innovation Week,20 which convenes global and national public sector innovation leaders and provides hundreds of hours of relevant content.

Finally, dedicated overarching innovation organisations or entities can help. Examples, though often more tightly scoped round digital innovation, include:

  • Colombia’s Digital Innovation Centre,21 which acts as a laboratory, knowledge agency, academy and dynamic agent of the innovation ecosystem. The country also has a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Colombia (C4IR Colombia), in collaboration with WEF.22

  • Brazil is the other country in the region with a similar Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Colombia (C4IR Brasil), in collaboration with WEF.23

  • The Dominican Republic’s Digital Innovation Lab.24

  • Panama’s National Government Innovation Council is a cross-government guiding body with members from the Ministry of the Presidency; Ministry of Economy and Finance; National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation; Comptroller General; and the National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG). It advises on public sector innovation and approves innovation plans, among other duties. Additional relevant entities include the Institute for Technology and Innovation, as well as Technology Innovation Working Groups across agencies.25

  • Peru’s Government and Digital Transformation Laboratory is a co-creation space for academia, civil society, the public and private sectors, and citizens, to participate in the design, redesign, and digitalization of public services, and the digital transformation of the country.26

Dedicated innovation funds can also help facilitate innovation, both for providing seed funding to get ideas off the ground, as well as helping to ensure the sustainability of efforts that prove successful. Beyond some targeted govtech initiatives discussed below, the OECD identified no funds targeted at public sector innovation.

Other LAC governments could learn a lot from these events, entities, and funds as others do not appear to have comparable items of this calibre. Many elements of the remaining principles are covered elsewhere. Some additional examples from outside the region are presented in Box 5.4.

Principle 2 (encourage and equip public servants) is covered in the discussion in the following section on skills and capacities, as well as the “Enhancing internal expertise and human capital” section of the OECD-CAF report on artificial intelligence.27

Principle 3 (new partnerships and voices) is reflected in the OECD-CAF LAC AI report (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]) in the sections on “Leveraging external expertise through partnerships and procurement”, “Understanding problems and the potential for AI solutions” (regarding networks and public challenges), “Ensuring an inclusive and user-centred approach” (regarding co-creation and citizen engagement). Additional efforts in this space include:

  • Leading cross-border efforts,28 such as the e-Government Network of Latin America and the Caribbean (GEALC Network); the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Digital Agenda for LAC (eLAC);29 the Digital Nations,30 which includes Mexico and Uruguay as members; and interoperability mechanisms being developed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.31

  • Networks specifically focused on Digital Innovation, such as Peru’s National Network of Digital Innovators.32

  • Well designed and executed engagement portals (e.g. Participa Perú and Ecuador Dialogo).33

Principle 4 (support exploration, iteration and testing) is reflected in the OECD-CAF report on artificial intelligence section on “Creating space for experimentation”, as well as work being done to support GovTech (discussed below). Another relevant initiative is Paraguay’s Government Laboratory (GobLab),34 which Paraguayan officials stated in interviews held within the scope of this project is helping to foster a culture of innovation. The iLabton represents another interesting example from the region that combines collective intelligence and experimentation (see Box 5.5).

Principle 5 (diffuse lessons and practices) is partially covered by the OECD-CAF report on artificial intelligence in sections on “Understanding problems and the potential for AI solutions” (regarding peer learning networks), and “Ensuring an inclusive and user-centred approach” (regarding feedback loops and user engagement). This principle also has synergies with other principles. For instance, Colombia’s Innovation Centre, mentioned under Principle 1, has as one of its lines of work the Knowledge Base, through which it shares relevant knowledge and experiences in digital government. Networks, discussed under Principle 3, are also a great source of organic or structured learning. The State of Pernambuco, Brazil’s State Innovation Power Station is a good example of how the principle can be embedded into innovation efforts (Box 5.6).

The OECD LAC Digital Government Agency Survey conducted within the scope of this report helps to gauge some general sentiment around officials’ opinions on the principles of public sector innovation for their country’s public sector. Overall, survey respondents signalled generally positive sentiment about every innovation principle, with the exception of a handful of areas negative sentiment was prevalant:35

  • Argentina responded neutrally about whether public servants are empowered take risks and engage with new ideas/technologies, and their ability to connect different actors.

  • Barbados answered neutrally on all aspects of Principles 2, 4, and 5, suggesting a cultural resistance to innovation, a lack of support for public servants to try new things, and challenges in experimenting. It also answered neutral or disagreed with some items under Principle 5, suggesting challenges in building learning organisations and disseminating best practices and lessons learned. Barbados also answered neutrally to its ability to cultivate partnerships (Principle 3).

  • Chile responded neutrally with recognising that innovation requires investment and that it promotes partnerships, and it disagreed that its public servants are empowered to take risks and that it develops and sustains feedback loops to aid continuous learning.

  • Colombia had mixed responses under Principle 5, with neutral sentiment on its ability to foster networking and peer learning, and developing and sustaining feedback loops.

  • Costa Rica strongly disagreed that public servants are empowered to take appropriate risks, that it promotes creating partnerships, and that it recognises the benefits that can come from experimentation. It was also neutral on all aspects of Principle 5, except for strongly disagreeing that it develops and sustains feedback loops.

  • Ecuador responded neutrally that it promotes systematically sharing lessons learned.

  • Jamaica responded neutrally that it fosters a culture of openness, learning from mistakes, and collaboration across silos.

  • Mexico disagreed that is develops and sustains feedback loops.

  • Panama responded neutrally that is develops and sustains feedback loops.

  • Paraguay responded neutrally that it fosters networking and peer learning and that it promotes creating partnerships.

The OECD and CAF see the positive sentiment around most items to be a good sign. Yet, some strong reported challenges shining through in the region tend to be associated with:

  • Promoting an environment where public servants are empowered take risks to engage with new ideas, technologies, and ways of working.

  • Connecting different actors (public, private, not-for-profit, citizens) in ways that allows the public sector to partner, collaborate, and co-create new approaches; as well as creating partnerships to increase the public sector’s ability to innovate.

  • Developing and sustaining feedback loops that capture feedback from citizens and frontline staff to aid continuous learning.

  • Systematically sharing learning arising from innovation activity (whether success or failure).

Likewise, workshops and surveys conducted by OECD and CAF under the scope of this report generally found similar themes. For instance, in an OECD-CAF workshop with 80 attendees from all countries in the scope of this review (except Venezuela), participants agreed that encouraging experimentation and prototyping was a major challenge, but that also it should be seen as a key priority to take action on. In interviews with different governments across the region conducted by OECD and CAF within the scope of this project, fear of taking risks was repeatedly raised as a barrier, with officials often blaming this on strict legal frameworks and fear of reprisal for failure, resulting in a culture among civil servants to do exactly what the law says, “no more, no less”. Governments in LAC will need to overcome this cultural reluctance to achieve meaningful, systemic progress in their public sector transformation efforts. Chile perhaps represents the strongest in this area, though reinforced by its strong lab and innovation network, as discussed in this chapter and in the OECD-CAF report on artificial intelligence of 2022 (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]), though like most other areas, all countries in the region would benefit from additional efforts to strengthen a culture that embraces innovation. As shown in Box 5.7, the OECD OPSI’s Innovation Playbook is a resource that can assist with this objective.

The capacities and competencies of civil servants, the way they are organised in teams and structured in the public administration all determine how effective the public sector is at being innovative. In addition to the importance of instil digital skills across government, as discussed in Chapter 2, ensuring a foundation of strong innovation skills among public servants can strengthen the innovative capacity of governments, and in the LAC context, help to overcome the challenges discussed in this chapter.

The OECD skills model for public sector innovation is based around six "core" skills areas (Figure 5.5). Not all public servants will need to make use of or apply these skills in their day-to-day job. However, for a modern 21st-century public service, all officials should have at least some level of awareness these six areas in order to support increased levels of innovation in the public sector.

Evidence collected for this report shows weak-moderate opinions among digital government officials as to whether public servants in their countries have these innovation skills, which suggests foundational enablers of innovative capacities and culture are not currently in place and demonstrating the need for enhancing these skills across the public service. The relatively high scores for curiosity hint that public servants want to try new things and innovate, but that they do not always have the know-how and empowerment to move forward.

In zooming in at the national level, officials from some countries believe that their public servants are more equipped with innovation skills and others. For instance,

  • Brazil, Mexico, and Uruguay indicated agreement for each of the six core innovation skills.

  • Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru tended to agree on that public servants were equipped with most skills, but were neutral on some others.36

  • Ecuador and Panama were neutral on all, except for Ecuador’s agreement with iteration.

  • Officials from other countries expressed opinions that were more critical. Costa Rica indicated disagreement with all skills, except for being neutral on user-centricity. Colombia’s responses were mixed, expressing disagreement in storytelling, agreement in data literacy, and neutral in the rest. Jamaica was also mixed, agreeing on iteration and user centricity, disagreeing on insurgency and data literacy, and being neutral on user centricity.

LAC governments have increasingly developed training and capacity building components to help strengthen their innovation skills, especially when it comes to data literacy, user-centricity, and iteration.37 Related to iteration, trainings in agile development methodologies and prototyping are particularly relevant to digital innovation, and can be seen in training offerings from countries such as Brazil.38

The remaining innovation skills appear to be less of a focus, perhaps because they are less structured (e.g., insurgency, storytelling), or because governments believe the skills are already in place among public servants (e.g., curiosity). Such skills are still important to reinforce, however. We can see a few examples of this, such as Brazil’s training in “Creativity and New Technologies”.39 At the national level, Colombia has developed an overarching Public Sector Innovation Diploma programme40 and capacity building for public sector innovation. At the sub-national level, the Bogota, Colombia’s LABcapital has built an online public innovation course for public officials.41 The capacity building programmes by Chile’s GovLab offer some of the strongest national training on innovation skills in the region through its Public Innovators Network (Box 5.8). The Government Lab of Argentina (LABGobAr) created a Design Academy for Public Policy, which taught core innovation skills and tools (e.g., curiosity, storytelling, big data and AI), and the country even based staff promotion decisions according to innovation level.42 However, it appears that this initiative is no longer in place. In supporting many countries, CAF has also developed a Diploma in Governance and Public Innovation (Box 5.9), which is already having major results.

Not all efforts need to come directly from the government itself, however. Brazilian company WeGov has created a HubGov Program, which has a motto that, “more than innovations, we need to create innovators” through promoting an innovative culture, skills, and connections.43

Zooming out beyond just skills, governments also need to understand and strengthen their broader systemic capacity for public sector innovation. The full scope doing so is immense and beyond what can be provided in this review. However, to help governments in this, the OECD OPSI has developed the Innovative Capacity Framework (Kaur et al., 2022[20]). It focuses on examining innovative capacity of existing public sector systems, and their governing mechanisms, rules, processes, norms and other structural factors. This is a practical and systemic framework and guidelines to make innovation an integral part of policy making and administration and enhance the capacity of governments to quickly adapt to changing environments and, ultimately, build more robust and sustainable solutions. The Framework takes a broad view of the systemic elements and actors across three levels of analysis and framed around four focus areas, as seen in Figure 5.7.

The subjects above touch on systemic and cross-cutting factors supporting or hindering public sector innovation in a broad sense. However, there is an opportunity to also look specifically at how LAC governments are promoting the use of digital products and processes to innovate, and how they are leveraging emerging technologies, which in themselves are innovative. There are a few LAC initiatives that consider emerging technologies in a broad sense, such as Colombia’s Centre of Digital Innovation44 and its Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Colombia (C4IR Colombia); as well as Uruguay’s Emerging Technology division in its central digital government agency.45 So long as they are well aligned or integrated with other innovation and digital government efforts, such structures can be helpful in providing governance, leadership, and visibility over emerging technology initiatives.

Interestingly, some LAC governments have taken the opposite approach and have made a decision to avoid using emerging technologies in the public sector. In interviews with the OECD and CAF held within the scope of this project, officials from Ecuador stated that the government has made a strategic decision to prioritise proven, mature technologies, in part as a result of failed projects involving emerging technologies in recent years.46 Panama officials, too, expressed that they are “wary of chasing emerging technologies”. While all governments should maintain an awareness of new technologies and how they may be used by or impact the public sector, these sentiments reflect a remarkable level of self-awareness and understanding of the pitfalls associated with exploring these technologies, and bring to light the need to strengthen the capacity to be able to assess even and even the use of emerging technologies is relevant to address the specific need of the public sector. Such an approach is perhaps more mature than seeking so adopt emerging technologies in a manner that is uninformed or just for the sake of doing it. Still, informed and measured experimentation is generally a more favourable approach and can help governments from missing out on technological shifts and potential opportunities, and such experimentation can mitigate the risk of major failures that many countries have encountered. Outside of the LAC region, examples of this include Lithuania’s LBChain blockchain-based technological sandbox47 and the UK’s NHS AI Lab to accelerate the safe and effective adoption of AI in health and care.48

Besides the general promotion (or avoidance) of the use of emerging technology, most LAC efforts tend to focus on specific technologies. The OECD and CAF have already covered the LAC government’s use of Artificial Intelligence extensively in the OECD-CAF AI report (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]), but LAC efforts and ambitions are broader than just AI.

Several governments are indeed exploring the use of other innovative and emerging technologies, though it appears that this is taking place a lesser extent than with AI. For instance, only a few LAC governments reported that they have strategies around other forms of emerging technology (Table 5.1), and the OECD through its own research could not always find strong evidence to back up countries’ reported efforts.

After AI, blockchain technology may be the technology with the most hype in recent years, but also increasing levels of disillusionment (Lindman et al., 2020[21]). LAC governments have both been experimenting with use cases, as well as adapting to the potential of the technology through revising their legal and regulatory frameworks. For instance, 2020 research by IDB found that at the time three LAC governments (Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela) had a specific regulation on blockchain, but that many more had enabling regulations on digital contracts, digital signatures, and smart contracts (including whether they are equivalent to traditional contracts (IDB, 2020[22]).49 Such advancements help clear a path for exploring the potential for blockchain in both the public and private sectors.

As seen in Table 5.1, three countries indicate that they have a strategy in place for exploring the use of blockchain, though their scope does not always explicitly include public sector uses. These, as well as other efforts surfaced through OECD-CAF research and interviews, are discussed in the bullets below. In addition, IDB has developed LACChain, which could assist across the LAC region by providing ready-made infrastructure and community networks to help them get started and/or advance their efforts (Box 5.10).

  • Argentina has established “Blockchain Federal Argentina”, an open and participatory multiservice platform designed to integrate services and applications on blockchain (see Box 5.11). The government’s National Information Technologies Office (ONTI) has also published a Code of Good Practices for the Development of Public Software to promote the sustainable development of public sector software, including guidelines on blockchain and smart contracts.50

  • Barbados seeks to become a regional blockchain FinTech hub, and it already has a number of blockchain companies in the country. The government has also taken steps to introduce a legal framework that promotes blockchain-based private sector businesses and cryptocurrencies. Universities have developed blockchain workshops and other offerings. While the country is embracing the economic potential of the technology, the OECD could find no evidence of implementation efforts aimed at public sector transformation and innovation more specifically.51

  • Brazil’s Digital Transformation Plan Strategy (E-digital) signals the importance of using blockchain, and the government has organised several events about how the technology can be used in the public sector.52 It has also planned to engage in feasibility studies to better understand the challenges and opportunities of the technology (Government of Brazil, 2021[23]). It also committed to making at least nine datasets available in government organisations through blockchain solutions through 2022, and to create an interoperable federal blockchain network (Revoredo, 2020[24]). The country has also engaged in specific blockchain projects, such as building a federal revenue blockchain platform for sharing revenue data across public agencies and contracted entities (Government of Brazil, 2022[25]). While Brazil’s efforts are solid, the OECD could not identify any a document that would constitute a blockchain “strategy”.

  • While Chile did not report a blockchain strategy, the country has explored blockchain projects for public payment processing53 and enabling transparency of its energy grid and pricing.54

  • Colombia did not report a blockchain strategy, but it has run pilots with blockchain for combatting corruption in public procurement (Government of Colombia, 2021[26]; WEF, 2020[27]), and it has developed blockchain solutions to improve emergency risk management (Ubaldi et al., 2019[28]). The Colombian Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MinTIC) has also issued as well-considered Blockchain Reference Guide: Adoption and Implementation of Blockchain Technology for the Colombian State (Box 5.11).

  • Costa Rica’s Digital Transformation Strategy emphasises the importance of the use of blockchain and other emerging technologies for companies, citizens, and public sector organisations.55 However, the OECD was unable to identify a more substantial strategy focused on blockchain.

  • Jamaican officials told the OECD that they plan to develop a public sector blockchain policy.

  • While it did not report having a strategy, Mexico has taken actions to promote exploration and experimentation with blockchain in the public sector. For instance, the government held a Blockchain Talent Hackathon to explore how to use the tech for public services, resulting in a functional prototype for a public tenders blockchain and smart contracts for public contracting (Lindman et al., 2020[21]).56 The country also established a Blockchain Advisory Board with experts from industry, civil society, academia and the public sector to advise the government on the development of the public blockchain, the identification of use cases and provide technical assistance (OECD, 2020[29]), although it is currently not operational.

  • Peru indicated survey conducted within the scope of this project that the country is planning to develop a blockchain strategy through its National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI). In addition, is has worked towards a blockchain-enabled public procurement system in partnership with a blockchain startup and the IDB (Peru Reports, 2019[30]).

  • In Uruguay, the digital government agency, AGESIC, has also developed a user-friendly guide explaining how to use blockchain to public sector organisations (Ubaldi et al., 2019[28]).57 It comprises assessment tools for public sector organisations to evaluate whether blockchain meets their needs.

LAC governments should be calculated and intentional in their exploration of blockchain technologies in the public sector, and they should seek to have strategic visibility into blockchain efforts around government to help capture and share learning and facilitate potential future scaling up of success, rather than an ad hoc and fairly isolated projects. Research shows that blockchain indeed has potential to enhance public services, including across borders, and that it can be more advantageous compared to other technologies in terms of usability and synchronisation among all entities involved (Geneiatakis et al., 2020[35]). It is also well suited to providing transparency, ensuring security and establishing trust in digital services, depending on its governance and how it is applied. However, blockchain hype has often led public sector organisations to approach the technology with both uncertainty and unrealistic expectations, as such inflated expectations often overstate or obscure practical applications.

The OECD report, The Uncertain Promise of Blockchain for Government (Lindman et al., 2020[21]), helps to explain why this is the case.58 Among other things, the report outlines a framework for considering whether blockchain is worth pursuing, explores ten widely held myths about blockchain in the public sector, surfaces key factors behind public sector blockchain successes as well as failures, helps governments ensure organisational and team preparedness through digital government maturity, and provides a series of case studies on blockchain on the front lines of public services. Governments should consider the findings and recommendations of this report in their blockchain ambitions and pursuits. Based on the observations gathered for this report and the analysis above, some particularly relevant aspects of this report for the region involve only pursuing blockchain when it adds distinct and unique value compared to other technology alternatives; ensuring projects have a clear value proposal and address a clear, specific goal; providing room and spaces for experimentation; and involving all relevant stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, including those who may be affected by implementation.

The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to the connection of an increasing number of devices and objects over time to the Internet. Following the convergence of fixed and mobile networks, and between telecommunications and broadcasting, the IoT represents the next step in the convergence between ICTs and economies and societies (OECD, 2019[36]). The IoT is expected to grow exponentially, connecting many billions of devices within a relatively short time (OECD, 2015[37]). Governments have the potential to leverage this technology to deliver innovative services and for bringing about “smart government” (Wirtz, Jan and Schichtel, 2019[38]). For instance, OPSI has collected case studies on IoT ranging from garbage collection and air monitoring to international trade and monitoring 5G electromagnetic fields.59

LAC countries have lagged behind those in other regions, but they are exploring IoT in different sectors, with Deloitte finding that Chile, Costa Rica, and Brazil may be particularly prepared to leverage and benefit from IoT (Deloitte, 2018[39]). Research by IDB has found the LAC IoT market to be highly fragmented, and shows that while much of the focus in LAC countries is on the private sector, areas relevant to the public sector have some of the highest maturity and opportunity for potential growth, including smart cities and transportation (Pérez Colón, Navajas and Terry, 2019[40]).

As seen in Table 5.1, five countries in the LAC region have reported strategies around IoT. Efforts in the area identified by the OECD include:

  • Argentina has created a “National IoT Roundtable”, which is working on a “National Plan for IoT” with inputs across all sectors. It recognises the potential for public sector digital innovation through a focus on smart cities.60 There are also several smart cities efforts (e.g., monitoring pollution, transportation logistics) (Rodríguez, Palomino and Mondaca, 2017[41]).

  • Brazil launched a National IoT Plan in 2019 with a goal “to make [IoT] an instrument for sustainable development of Brazilian society, capable of increasing the competitiveness of the economy, strengthen national production chains and promote better quality of life.” Four key areas were identified, including ones relevant to public sector innovation: Smart Cities and Health 4.0.61 Of all countries reviewed, Brazil has the most solid evidence corresponding to a true IoT strategy.

  • Costa Rica has a Digital Transformation Strategy that emphasises the importance of the use of IoT and other emerging technologies for companies, citizens, and public sector organisations.62 However, the OECD was unable to identify a more substantive IoT strategy or practices.

  • Colombia did not report an IoT strategy, but the country has put forward a Pact for the Digital Transformation of Colombia,63 including a main objective to “foster productivity in the government and in businesses through advanced digital technologies, e.g. big data, AI and the Internet of Things”, signalling an IoT focus for public sector digital innovation. The Ministry for Information and Communication Technologies (MINTIC) has also established a Centre of Excellence on IoT to convene public and private sectors and academia (OECD, 2019[42]).

  • Mexico’s Laboratorio Nacional del Internet del Futuro provides an ecosystem for experimentation on a variety of technologies, including IoT, with involvement across different sectors. It appears that the outputs from the lab could benefit all sectors.

  • Paraguay’s National Telecommunications Plan raises the IoT as a growing issue and indicates that action is needed around this topic, but it does not articulate what should be done and by whom, or how the technology could be used for digital innovation in the public sector.

  • Uruguay did not report having an IoT strategy, however its Agenda Uruguay Digital 2025 does commit to incorporate IoT in the provision and management of public services through the installation of meters and sensors for better customer experience and greater competitiveness for the productive sector in areas such as energy, water, communications, and transport developing connectivity infrastructure to facilitate IoT.64

Beyond strategic approaches, there are many instances of public sector IoT usage throughout LAC, largely in ad-hoc ways, such a smart city effort in municipalities in Argentina, Venezuela, and others. But without a strategic approach, LAC public sectors may adopt IoT in inconsistent and incompatible ways, resulting a potential missed opportunities for seamless and interoperable services across countries.

A digital twin is a “digital representation of a real-world entity or system. The implementation of a digital twin is an encapsulated software object or model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person or other abstraction.65 Some governments have begun to create digital twins to enhance their ability to design and deliver services (see example in Box 5.12).

The concept is very new in the field of public sector digital innovation, so it is not a surprise or concern that LAC governments do not report exploring digital twins. However, they may want to consider it in the future as a tool to make services more personalised and proactive.

Robotic process automation (RPA) could be seen as a “business process automation technology that automates manual tasks that are largely rules based, structured and repetitive using software robots, also known as bots. RPA tools map a process for a robot to follow which allows the bot to operate in place of a human” (US GSA, n.d.[45]). While implementing more sophisticated techniques may necessitate a more foundational transformation of underlying processes, RPA can help automate processes in their present form (Eggers, Schatsky and Viechnicki, 2017[46]). RPA can be seen as a first step in addressing low-hanging fruit though the implementation of older-mindset AI, on top of which can be built more sophisticated and complex Machine Learning-based AI (Berryhill et al., 2019[44]).

As seen in Table 5.1, only two LAC governments indicate developing strategies involving RPA. However, the evidence provided by these countries did not generally support the existence of high-level strategies. The OECD was generally unable to identify any strategic or tactical focus on RPA among LAC governments, except for some ad-hoc efforts, such as work in São Paulo, Brazil.66 This is especially notable given many LAC government’s drive to experiment with more sophisticated techniques like Machine Learning, and in some ways illustrates earlier findings from this chapter that LAC government may need more focus on iterative “enhancement-oriented innovation”. LAC government may be able to identify easy wins and tackle more simplistic efficiency gains through innovating with RPA, which can also yield lessons to enhance their ambitions for AI. LAC governments can look to how others have successfully pursued RPA, such as a government-wide Framework for RPA software and training in Ireland,67 and the creation of an RPA Community of Practice and resources in the United States.68

Of all the technologies discussed in this chapter, big data analytics is perhaps the most mature in governments today, with countries around the world leveraging the immense power of large datasets in productive and impactful ways. Big data analytics now varies in the extent to which its applications can be seen as innovative, but there remains significant potential in LAC governments to leverage it to generate new insights and design and deliver enhanced policies and services.

As seen in Table 5.1, eight LAC governments report having strategies in place for big data analytics. LAC efforts include:

  • Argentina has developed an interdisciplinary National Big Data Observatory with a variety of responsibilities relevant to public sector digital transformation.69

  • Brazil’s digital government strategy calls for becoming a “Smart Government”,70 with initiatives including developing a data experimentation lab and expanding its data analytics capabilities. There have also been efforts in some specific areas, such as using big data to manage tax policy and administration (Tomar et al., 2016[47]).

  • Chile did not report a big data strategy, though there are some ad-hoc efforts, such as for identifying inequities in public education (APC, 2019[48]) and enhancing safety on public transportation (OECD, 2020[49]).

  • Colombia has put in place a National Data Exploitation Policy (Big Data) that serves as a proper strategy and moves the country towards a comprehensive framework for leveraging big data to generate public and economic value.71 Like Colombia’s national AI strategy, the big data strategy is excellent in that is lists specific actions with progress indicators, responsible parties, a budget, and a timeline. The country also created a Centre of Excellence on Big Data (CAOBA),72 a partnership among the public, private and academic sectors, aims to promote the use of big data (OECD, 2019[42]).

  • Costa Rica’s national digital government strategy calls for leveraging big data tools for decision-making, mainly at the municipal level, and interoperable solutions to promote big data in general. However, the strategy contains few details and the OECD was unable to identify specific strategies or targeted big data efforts.

  • The Government of Mexico has created a Computational Analytics Lab for Big Data covering many different relevant aspects (e.g., storage, analysis, visualisation).73 It also uses big data in a variety of ways, such as targeting support to those with the greatest need, predictive analytics for public sector workforce planning (OECD, 2019[50]).

  • Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay indicated that they have a strategy, but they did not provide supporting evidence and the OECD was unable to identify any on its own, beyond some ad-hoc projects (e.g., Paraguay monitoring tax compliance (Government of Paraguay, 2020[51]), and Uruguay partnering with civil society to develop data-focused health portal (Tove, Paula and Milindee, 2019[52]).

  • Trinidad and Tobago has recognised the potential of big data for public sector digital innovation in speeches and has some big data efforts in place (e.g., for managing the national gas pipeline, tracking mosquito-borne disease outbreaks).74 It is seeking to increase its regional position as a leader in big data, and held a Big Data Forum in late 2020 to explore big data opportunities in public and private sectors (Richards, 2020[53]).

Beyond the technologies and approaches discussed above, LAC governments are exploring other types of emerging technologies. For instance:

  • Brazil’s digital transformation plan signals the importance of augmented reality (AR). On the same topic, Uruguay has held workshops on analysing the use of “extended reality” in the state (Government of Uruguay, 2019[54]), and in interviews, Uruguayan officials stated that they will continue and deepen their use AR and virtual reality (VR). Immersive technologies have gained enhanced interest in recent months due to the focus on the “metaverse”,75 and such approaches were identified by OPSI in 2019 as a key emerging public sector innovation trend.76

  • Costa Rica’s digital strategy emphasises exploration in nanotechnology, biotechnology, bioengineering, and 5G, and how they are leveraged by companies, citizens, and public institutions alike.

  • In the interviews conducted within the scope of this report, Uruguay officials stated that they are exploring the potential for quantum computing for public sector innovation and transformation, and that they are conducting pilots on “rules as code”, which proposes to create a machine-consumable version of some types of government rules, to exist alongside the existing natural language counterpart.77

Forbes has reported that the rise of GovTech start-ups as being one of the five biggest tech trends transforming government in 2022 (Forbes, 2022[55]), along with other relevant issues such as digital identity (see Chapter 4), and artificial intelligence (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]). There is a growing interest in GovTech in the region, often promoted by CAF having asserted that governments should take a bolder stance in favour of innovation, including by supporting innovative initiatives outside the public sector, such as GovTech start-ups and scale-ups.78

CAF has become a leader in understanding and supporting GovTech ecosystems across the LAC region. One of its major initiatives have been the creation of a regional govtechlab,79 a service platform to promote GovTech ecosystems in the region, through technical advice to governments, support for public challenges and GovTech laboratories, actionable knowledge creation, as well as public impact investments in GovTech ventures (see Box 5.14). It has also convened a cross-governmental GovTech Leaders Alliance (see Box 5.15).

As an initiative of the govtechlab, CAF has developed The GovTech Index, the first comprehensive measurement of GovTech ecosystems (see Figure 5.8) in the world (Zapata et al., 2020[56]). It is focused precisely on GovTech ecosystems that are made of a new brand of tech-based, data-driven start-ups that can help governments in driving public value and have social impact (refer to Figure 5.8). The Index analyses 28 indicators and primary sources to understand the potential for countries to across three pillars:

  1. 1. Startups industry. Are there startups and SMEs able to provide these new technologies?

  2. 2. Government policies. Is there government demand for these products, especially when innovation can be disruptive to existing bureaucracies and ways of working?

  3. 3. Procurement systems. Can governments and startups easily work together in the existing procurement framework?

Aggregated scores for The GovTech Index can be found in Figure 5.9, and country-by-country strengths and weaknesses provided in Annex 5.A.

In the LAC region, GovTech is expanding most significantly at the local level (Suanzes, Sabra and Piedrafita, 2021[61]), which is critical, as it is where the impact of GovTech initiatives can be seen and felt by citizens and residents.80 However, as can be seen in the findings of The GovTech Index, it has so far been less prevalent at the national, strategic level, limiting opportunities for a systemic approach to GovTech and potentially hindering the ability of start-ups to obtain R&D funding and scale up. As CAF leadership has stated, “the majority of the pieces of the GovTech puzzle are in place. The next step is to work towards putting them together in coherent and overarching GovTech policies” (Santiso and Zapata, 2019[62]). CAF research has identified key levers to achieving the potential of GovTech: public policy, investing in start-ups, spaces for innovation, and public procurement. 81

The findings from CAF’s GovTech Index, and the levers identified by prior CAF research, also resonate with the important inputs that feed into this review, including project survey results, observations from workshops, and interviews with officials from government, the private sector, and civil society. For instance, the GovTech Index found that the LAC countries scored the lowest on the start-ups pillar, recommending that governments create a space where start-ups, government, and investors from the region can interact. In parallel, in an OECD-CAF workshop with 80 attendees from all countries in the scope of this review, participants raised that particular priorities and challenges for the region include better collaborating with entrepreneurs, and exploring public-private partnerships. In interviews with the OECD and CAF, officials from Brazil, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay all expressed major challenges in working with start-ups, with several positing that if there was one thing that could be changed to improve public sector digital innovation, it would be a strengthened ability to engage and work with start-ups and other private enterprises.

To build upon work that has already been carried out, this section is structured around the GovTech levers identified by CAF. It is clear that governments are taking increasing action, with Brazil in particular making tremendous progress, but that some additional efforts are needed to fully seize the potential of GovTech. LAC governments can use this analysis to better understand their current GovTech capacities, and to take informed next steps, such as conducting deeper self-reflection and strategic thinking with instruments such as CAF’s GovTech Readiness Assessment Guide.82

It is important for governments to strategise for leveraging the potential of collaborating with start-ups that can yield innovative digital solutions. This should include developing a government GovTech strategy, and putting in place a specific entity with interdisciplinary expertise is responsible for co-ordinating GovTech efforts at a systems level (Zapata et al., 2020[56]).

CAF’s GovTech Index from 2020 found that only one LAC country (Chile) has developed a GovTech strategy, but that it is limited and part of a larger programme (Zapata et al., 2020[56]). Similarly, just a few acknowledge the importance of GovTech in their national digital government strategies. CAF recommended that each government develop such a strategy. In the Digital Government Agency survey conducted within the scope of this project, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay reported having GovTech strategies, but supporting evidence was lacking or showed only tangentially related initiatives not constituting a strategy.83 Other countries (Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Paraguay and Peru) reported that they are developing a GovTech strategy. Commendably, Brazil has demonstrated advancement and responsiveness to CAF’s recommendations by updating its digital strategy in 2022 to include initiatives explicitly aimed at enhancing GovTech ecosystems (Marl, 2022[63]). Beyond this, there appears to be little other progress in the region at the strategic level.

In terms of a dedicated responsible entity responsible for co-ordinating GovTech efforts, the OECD and CAF were unable to identify any LAC countries with such functions in place. This may limit the ability for governments to take a systems approach to understanding GovTech capacity and efforts currently, and cohesive promotion and adoption practices going forward. Notably again, however, Brazil has put in place a broader National Committee on Initiatives to articulate the initiatives of the federal Executive Branch aimed at emerging technology-based companies.84 This committee is well placed to support GovTech ecosystems.

Of all of the GovTech levers, strategically approaching public policy is perhaps the weakest among LAC governments. The region could learn valuable lessons from others who have put successful mechanisms in place (Box 5.16).

The GovTech Index found that venture capital opportunities are limited in many LAC governments, making public sector investments all the more important. This is not uncommon globally, as the longer maturation times of companies catering to the public sector deter venture capital funds (OECD et al., 2021[68]). The public sector could play a key role in establishing funds for supporting these emerging start-ups, yet the report also found that government R&D funding for start-ups working with governments among most LAC governments was low. The Córdoba Smart City Fund was the only documented initiative exclusively dedicated to investing in and partnering with GovTech start-ups.85 Established in June 2021, it works with impact start-ups that contribute to the development of smarter, more inclusive, and sustainable cities. Currently, the fund aims to invest in over a million dollars in 9 solutions across various countries. Over the next ten years, it will seek to invest in 10 to 15 start-ups per year, with the objective of positioning Cordoba as a hub for the provision and application of innovative and smart solutions for cities and local governments.

LAC governments have put in place other mechanisms to help entrepreneurs and business obtain financing and, more recently, investing. Although these investment programmes do not focus specifically on GovTech, they do promote a positive environment for start-ups and entrepreneurial ecosystems, which can include GovTech companies. Some of the more relevant examples include Brazil’s National Program for Acceleration of Technological-Based Companies in ICTs (or Start-Up Brazil);86 Start-Up Chile;87 Colombia’s APPS.CO;88 the Innovation Grant from New Ideas to Entrepreneurship (IGNITE) programme by the Jamaican government’s Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) (Loop News, 2021[69]; Jamaica Observer, 2022[70]); Mexico’s PROSOFT programme (Government of Mexico, 2019[71]); Panama’s Seed Capital Fund,89 Panama Hub Digital,90 and its National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT); Peru’s National Program for Technological Development and Innovation91 (Stunt, 2017[72]);92 and Uruguay’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining has an Industry Fund for SMEs.

Going forward, dedicated GovTech investments could promote both economic growth as well as digital public sector innovation. One way of achieving this is through public challenges for innovative solutions to address specific problems. In addition to general start-up investment schemes, a number of LAC governments have also put in place public challenges that encourage entrepreneurs to devise GovTech solutions (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay), sometimes including central funds to fund the best ideas (Colombia, Uruguay). For instance, Mexico has tested new approaches through Reto México (OECD et al., 2021[68]),93 open innovation process based on challenges allows Mexican innovative talent from anywhere in the country to generate new perspectives of solutions to the technological challenges. Similarly, Chile’s Public Challenges94 are open innovation contests that aim to find solutions to complex problems that require research, development and innovation connecting those who need innovation (e.g., government agencies) with bidders from startups and others. The OECD-CAF AI report discussed challenge and central fund efforts in the section on “Understanding problems and the potential for AI solutions”. In addition to a more detailed exploration of the challenges and central funds as methods to receive more innovation, the report places a significant importance on the underlying rationale to engage in such activities – focusing on the problem, not on the solution (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]). This is especially important in the context of GovTech to provide creative flexibility for the GovTech actors to suggest their solutions. While the initiatives discussed in the bullets above may yield GovTech solutions as part of their broader scope of supporting all types of start-ups, public challenges are often designed more precisely for promoting public innovation and value.

In order for GovTech ecosystems to flourish, governments need to provide room for ecosystem actors inside and outside government to innovate, experiment, and collaborate. The report on AI in the public sector showed how LAC governments are doing this to some extent, particularly regarding spaces for experimentation, such as labs and sandboxes (see “Creating space for experimentation” section), as well as horizontal collaboration networks (see “Understanding problems and the potential for AI solutions” section) (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]). It also found that a number of LAC governments have already developed strong capacity for experimentation in general, including through innovation and experimentation labs. This demonstrated growing regional maturity in exploring and implementing AI in the public sector. The report also identified Brazil’s National Digital Government Network, Chile’s Network of Public Innovators, and Columbia’s RED CIO network as communities of interest that can serve as spaces for innovation and common problem solving.

The work conducted for this review surfaced additional efforts not captured in the previous report, many of which are more specifically attuned to promoting GovTech ecosystems. These efforts consist of:

  • Argentina is planning to introduce regulatory sandbox environments to allow public sector bodies to relax rules and regulations in order to buy from start-ups (Forbes, 2020[73]).

  • Brazil’s InovAtiva is a public sector accelerator and mentorship programme that supports the development of the innovative entrepreneurship ecosystem in Brazil.95 In addition, while not led by government, the highly relevant BrazilLAB is a GovTech lab and innovation hub conceived to connect startups with the public sector and accelerate their solutions with a focus on improving public services.96

  • Colombia has established MiLAB with CAF support,97 a public innovation laboratory promoting GovTech (see Box 5.17). In addition, the country’s Seedbeds of Entrepreneurship98 by the aforementioned APPS.CO provide spaces for experimentation and research for the creation of digital initiatives through the use of agile entrepreneurial methodologies. In OECD-CAF interviews, Colombian officials also discussed holding roundtables with start-ups to discuss better ways to collaborate and experiment together.

  • Mexico’s Centres for Industrial Innovation (CII) promote the generation of innovation ecosystems across sectors in a variety of relevant fields.99 In addition, the country’s National Lab for the Future of the Internet (LANIF)100 is a public-private partnership that establishes a common space where universities, research centres, cities, companies, entrepreneurs and other organisations can freely experiment with innovative technologies.

  • The Paraguayan Association of Business Incubators and Technological Parks (INCUPAR) collaborated with the government to understand and promote digital innovation incubators and startups (Government of Paraguay, 2019[74]).

  • Peru’s National Network of Digital Innovators brings together digital innovators from the public, private, academic and civil society sectors to collaborate on developing digital innovation projects to improve Peruvian digital government services.101

  • Uruguay’s Ingenio Incubator102 is supported by the government and serves as an entrepreneurial hub and incubator for tech companies. Over 170 projects have been incubated and more than 60 companies created.

Such efforts are very useful in catalysing GovTech ecosystems. Of all the levers for supporting GovTech, LAC governments have been particularly strong in setting up spaces for innovation.

Public procurement can become an important enabler for greater digital innovation in government, allowing governments to access expertise and capabilities beyond their own limits. However, in practice, it often acts as a barrier. Fixed, long-term contracts with technology companies prevent public administrations from engaging with newer entrants (OECD et al., 2021[68]). The public procurement process is also long and complex: the search for the cheapest solutions and the duration of decision making can result in contracting firms that are competitive, but not innovative (Ortiz, 2018[77]). In interviews conducted within the scope of this report, procurement was the most common quoted barrier. Key highlighted issues included the inability of many start-ups to demonstrate experience to meet evaluation criteria, strict government procurement rules requiring that all requirements and deliverables be spelled out by public sector organisations up front, and long processing review times (1+ years), all making government an unattractive candidate for start-ups. Regulatory frameworks should therefore focus on lowering entry barriers for innovative start-ups (OECD et al., 2021[68]). Countries like Brazil have already taken action towards minimising the barriers for entry with the introduction of laws allowing easier public procurement from start-ups (see Box 5.18).

In practice, public procurement of GovTech solutions covers a spectrum of technological advancement – from early experimentation to scaling of solutions. Hence there is no universal procurement method that can be used when engaging with the GovTech actors. When governments need new and innovative solutions that are not on the market and require R&D, they could consider pre-commercial procurement (Zapata et al., 2020[56]). If a problem being solved requires creative adaptations of technology that is already on the market, public procurement of innovation can be used, including methods such as design contests (see Chapter 2). Finally, governments should consider how they can procure the scaling of piloted solutions without limiting competition or buying GovTech solutions that are already in the market. A case for this is the “Public Procurement Guide for Innovation in the Capital District”103 launched by the local government of Bogota, Colombia to guide public entities in procuring innovative solutions. It provides an overview of tools available to purchasing entities, along with activities, best practices, success stories from around the world, and recommendations for overcoming barriers to implementing public procurement for innovation in the district of Bogota.

The OECD-CAF AI report (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]) provides in-depth coverage regarding LAC government capacity to procure and partner for innovation. Readers are encouraged to see the “Leveraging external expertise through partnerships and procurement” section of this report to learn more. In addition, this review provides a more in-depth discussion on procurement in Chapter 2.

New procurement processes promoting GovTech are a positive development and should continue to be pursued, but LAC governments shouldn’t assume new or transformed frameworks or laws are necessary. As noted by CAF research, “procurement frameworks are often not the primary barrier—the stumbling block is instead how they have historically been interpreted and enacted” (Filer, 2020[80]). Governments need to explore their current frameworks and consider whether perceived barriers are hard-coded into the rules or if there is room for clarification and alternative interpretations. Box 5.19 illustrates how the United States has worked to clarify existing flexibilities in federal procurement rules.


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[9] Australian Government (2021), Innovation Month 2020, https://www.industry.gov.au/publications/innovation-month-2020.

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[34] Government of Colombia (n.d.), Guía de Referencia para la adopción e implementación de proyectos con tecnología blockchain para el Estado colombiano, https://mintic.gov.co/portal/715/articles-237592_recurso_1.pdf.

[43] Government of Finland (2019), AuroraAI – Towards a Human-centric Society, https://bit.ly/3Ljp0wL.

[71] Government of Mexico (2019), Programa para el Desarrollo de la Industria de Software (PROSOFT) y la Innovación 2019, https://www.gob.mx/se/acciones-y-programas/programa-para-el-desarrollo-de-la-industria-de-software-prosoft-y-la-innovacion-2016.

[51] Government of Paraguay (2020), “Big data targets large evasion schemes and not working citizens”, https://www.ip.gov.py/ip/set-con-el-big-data-se-apunta-a-grandes-esquemas-de-evasion-y-no-al-ciudadano-que-trabaja.

[74] Government of Paraguay (2019), Future Scenarios for the Incubator Sector in Paraguay 2030, https://www.mic.gov.py/mic/w/mic/pdf/19-05-20INFORMETALLERINCUPAR2019_ok_2_doblehoja(1).pdf.

[82] Government of Trinidad and Tobago (2021), “Address by the Honourable Stuart R. Young, MP at the United Nations Big Data Forum”, https://www.energy.gov.tt/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Minister-Stuart-Young-Keynote-Address-at-United-Nations-Trinidad-and-Tobago-Big-Data-Forum-2021.pdf.

[84] Government of Trinidad and Tobago (2021), “Keynote Address by the Honorable Colm Imbert, MP at the United Nations Big Data Forum”, https://www.finance.gov.tt/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Keynote-Address-by-the-Hon.-Colm-Imbert-Minister-of-Finance-at-the-UN-Big-Data-Forum-2021.pdf.

[54] Government of Uruguay (2019), “Agesic gave a workshop to analyze the use of Extended Reality in the State”, https://www.gub.uy/agencia-gobierno-electronico-sociedad-informacion-conocimiento/comunicacion/noticias/agesic-dicto-taller-para-analizar-uso-realidad-extendida-estado.

[67] GovTech Singapore (2019), “3 new ways to partner with GovTech”, https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/3-new-ways-to-partner-with-govtech.

[66] GovTech Singapore (n.d.), Homepage, https://www.tech.gov.sg.

[22] IDB (2020), Regulación de blockchain e identidad digital en América Latina - El futuro de la identidad digital, Inter-American Development Bank, https://publications.iadb.org/publications/spanish/document/Regulacion-de-blockchain-e-identidad-digital-en-America-Latina-El-futuro-de-la-identidad-digital.pdf.

[75] iNNpulsa Colombia (n.d.), Homepage, https://innpulsacolombia.com.

[70] Jamaica Observer (2022), “New incubator, funding programmes coming for businesses”, https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/new-incubator-funding-programmes-coming-for-businesses.

[20] Kaur, M. et al. (2022), “Innovative capacity of governments: A systemic framework”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 51, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/52389006-en.

[31] LACChain (n.d.), Homepage, https://www.lacchain.net.

[21] Lindman, J. et al. (2020), “The uncertain promise of blockchain for government”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 43, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/d031cd67-en.

[69] Loop News (2021), “$7 million available to entrepreneurs through DBJ IGNITE programme”, https://jamaica.loopnews.com/content/7-million-available-entrepreneurs-through-dbj-ignite-programme.

[63] Marl, A. (2022), “Brazilian government amends digital strategy to include govtechs”, ZDNet, https://www.zdnet.com/article/brazilian-government-amends-digital-strategy-to-include-govtechs/.

[3] Mazzucato, M. (2023), Transformational Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Mission-oriented Approach, Economic Commission for Latin America, https://www.cepal.org/en/publications/48299-transformational-change-latin-america-and-caribbean-mission-oriented-approach.

[10] Nidolab (n.d.), Nido - Le labo d’innovation du service public, https://www.nidolab.be/nido.

[29] OECD (2020), Digital Government in Mexico: Sustainable and Inclusive Transformation, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/6db24495-en.

[49] OECD (2020), Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2020 - Public Provider versus Big Brother, OECD, Paris, https://trends.oecd-opsi.org/trend-reports/public-provider-versus-big-brother/.

[83] OECD (2020), Embracing Innovation in Government: Global trends 2020 - Upskilling and Investing in People, OECD, Paris, https://trends.oecd-opsi.org/trend-reports/upskilling-and-investing-in-people.

[33] OECD (2019), Digital Government Review of Argentina: Accelerating the Digitalisation of the Public Sector, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/354732cc-en.

[36] OECD (2019), Measuring the Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for the Future, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264311992-en.

[42] OECD (2019), OECD Reviews of Digital Transformation: Going Digital in Colombia, OECD Reviews of Digital Transformation, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/781185b1-en.

[86] OECD (2019), The Innovation System of the Public Service of Brazil: An Exploration of its Past, Present and Future Journey, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/a1b203de-en.

[50] OECD (2019), The Path to Becoming a Data-Driven Public Sector, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/059814a7-en.

[16] OECD (2017), Embracing Innovation in Government: Core Skills for Public Sector Innovation, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, https://oecd-opsi.org/publications/core-skills.

[1] OECD (2017), Fostering Innovation in the Public Sector, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264270879-en.

[37] OECD (2015), OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264232440-en.

[5] OECD (n.d.), Anticipatory Innovation Governance: Exploring the Future and Taking Action Today, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, OECD, Paris, https://oecd-opsi.org/work-areas/anticipatory-innovation.

[7] OECD (n.d.), Declaration on Public Sector Innovation, OECD, Paris, https://legalinstruments.oecd.org/en/instruments/OECD-LEGAL-0450.

[12] OECD (n.d.), iLabthon, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, OECD, Paris, https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/ilabthon.

[2] OECD (n.d.), Innovation Portfolios: Building Clarity of Purpose for Innovation, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, OECD, Paris, https://oecd-opsi.org/work-areas/innovation-portfolios.

[15] OECD (n.d.), Libro Interactivo de la Innovación, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, https://oecd-opsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/OPSI_Playbook_fa-ESPANOL-completo.pdf.

[14] OECD (n.d.), Principles and Actions for Enhancing Innovation, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, https://oecd-opsi.org/work-areas/declaration.

[13] OECD (n.d.), Usina Pernambucana de Inovação, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, OECD, Paris, https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/usina-pernambucana-de-inovacao.

[4] OECD/CAF (2022), The Strategic and Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector of Latin America and the Caribbean, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/1f334543-en.

[68] OECD et al. (2021), Latin American Economic Outlook 2021: Working Together for a Better Recovery, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/5fedabe5-en.

[77] Ortiz, I. (2018), “GovTech: Cuando emprendedores y gobiernos se unen para mejorar la vida a los ciudadanos”, Inter-American Development Bank, https://blogs.iadb.org/administracion-publica/es/govtech-cuando-emprendedores-y-gobiernos-se-unen-para-mejorar-la-vida-a-los-ciudadanos/.

[8] Our Public Service (n.d.), Innovation Strategy, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Government of Ireland, https://www.ops.gov.ie/actions/innovating-for-our-future/innovation/innovation-strategy.

[40] Pérez Colón, R., S. Navajas and E. Terry (2019), IoT in LAC 2019: Taking the Pulse of the Internet of Things in Latin America and the Caribbean, Inter-American Development Bank, https://publications.iadb.org/publications/english/document/IoT_IN_LAC_2019_Taking_the_Pulse_of_the_Internet_of_Things_in_Latin_America_and_the_Caribbean_en.pdf.

[30] Peru Reports (2019), “Peru’s government looks to blockchain to fight corruption”, https://perureports.com/perus-government-looks-to-blockchain-to-fight-corruption/9045.

[85] Ramírez-Alujas, Á., J. Cepeda and L. Jolias (2021), GovTech en Iberoamérica : ecosistema, actores y tecnologías para reinventar el sector público, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1x4EdQDNuwnC_NSdbFVQn4g13bLXNo96L/view.

[24] Revoredo, T. (2020), “Blockchain as one of the goals of digital government strategy in Brazil”, https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-as-one-of-the-goals-of-digital-government-strategy-in-brazil.

[53] Richards, F. (2020), “Roadmap for a ‘smarter’ future - Trinidad and Tobago poised to tap into ‘big data’”, https://trinidadandtobago.un.org/en/105695-roadmap-smarter-future-trinidad-and-tobago-poised-tap-big-data.

[41] Rodríguez, P., N. Palomino and J. Mondaca (2017), “Using big data and its analytical techniques for public policy design and implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Discussion Paper, No. IDB-DP-514, Inter-American Development Bank, https://publications.iadb.org/publications/english/document/Using-Big-Data-and-its-Analytical-Techniques-for-Public-Policy-Design-and-Implementation-in-Latin-America-and-the-Caribbean.pdf.

[60] Santiso, C. and I. Ortiz de Artiñano (2020), Govtech y el futuro gobierno, CAF y PublicTechLab de IE University de España, https://scioteca.caf.com/handle/123456789/1645.

[62] Santiso, C. and E. Zapata (2019), “A GovTech goldrush is underway in Latin America”, https://apolitical.co/solution-articles/en/a-govtech-goldrush-is-underway-in-latin-america.

[72] Stunt, V. (2017), “Peru is on a bid to catch up with its innovative Latin American neighbors”.

[61] Suanzes, R., M. Sabra and C. Piedrafita (2021), “Govtech ecosystems in Latin America: Innovation focused on improving services to citizens”, Inter-American Development Bank Blog, https://blogs.iadb.org/ciudades-sostenibles/en/govtech-ecosystems-in-lac-innovation-focused-on-improving-citizen-services/.

[81] TechFAR Hub (n.d.), Homepage, https://techfarhub.cio.gov.

[47] Tomar, L. et al. (2016), “Big data in the public sector: Selected applications and lessons learned”, Discussion Paper, No. IDB-DP-483, Inter-American Development Bank, https://publications.iadb.org/publications/english/document/Big-Data-in-the-Public-Sector-Selected-Applications-and-Lessons-Learned.pdf.

[6] Tõnurist, P. and A. Hanson (2020), “Anticipatory innovation governance: Shaping the future through proactive policy making”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 44, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/cce14d80-en.

[52] Tove, F., H. Paula and J. Milindee (2019), “Can big data revolutionise development economics? A literature review on Latin America”, Les Cahiers des Amériques latines, https://doi.org/10.4000/cal.10097.

[28] Ubaldi, B. et al. (2019), “State of the art in the use of emerging technologies in the public sector”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 31, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/932780bc-en.

[64] UK Government (2019), “Government Technology Innovation Strategy”, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-government-technology-innovation-strategy/the-government-technology-innovation-strategy.

[65] UK Government (2018), GovTech Catalyst, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/govtech-catalyst-information.

[45] US GSA (n.d.), Robotics Process Automation — Tech at GSA, United States General Services Administration, https://tech.gsa.gov/playbooks/rpa/ (accessed on 29 June 2023).

[27] WEF (2020), Exploring Blockchain Technology for Government Transparency: Blockchain-Based Public Procurement to Reduce Corruption, World Economic Forum, https://www.weforum.org/reports/exploring-blockchain-technology-for-government-transparency-to-reduce-corruption/.

[38] Wirtz, B., W. Jan and F. Schichtel (2019), “An integrative public IoT framework for smart government”, Government Information Quarterly, Vol. 36/2, pp. 225-345, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.giq.2018.07.001.

[56] Zapata, E. et al. (2020), The GovTech Index 2020 Unlocking the Potential of GovTech Ecosystems in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, CAF, Oxford Insights, http://scioteca.caf.com/handle/123456789/1580.


← 1. Innovacion Publica 360 by political innovation organisation Asuntos del Sur is a good example of how innovation can promote trust in the public sector in LAC. The initiative promotes collaboration and provides technical support to sub-national governments across Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico. It aims to address innovation skills gaps at the sub-national level, with a focus on public challenges prevalent in Latin America, such as transparency and trust in democracy and institutions. See https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/innovacion-publica-360.

← 2. https://oecd-opsi.org/.

← 3. https://oecd-opsi.org/pet. The code for the PET is available as free and open source software (FOSS) at https://github.com/oecd-opsi/portfolio-assessment-tool-custom-plugin.

← 4. For background, see https://oecd-opsi.org/blog/prototype-distributed-innovation-portfolio-exploration and https://oecd-opsi.org/blog/feedback-needed-pat.

← 5.  See https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/bogota-care-blocks and a full case study at https://oe.cd/trends2023.

← 6. https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/silent-channel-gender-based-violence-covid-19.

← 7. https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/ilabthon.

← 8. Challenges with follow-through and sustainability of initiatives was also a finding in the OECD-CAF AI report (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]), which included a recommendation to LAC governments to, “Strengthen the overall focus on implementation to ensure pledges, commitments, and strategic objectives are realised.” In relation to AI, this was often because national AI strategies contained many commitments that did not yet appear to be materialising.

← 9. This mirrors findings more specifically focused on AI, as discussed in the OECD-CAF AI report (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]), which recommended that LAC governments leverage anticipatory innovation techniques to help ensure the AI strategies and initiatives are future-fit.

← 10. https://oecd-opsi.org/pet.

← 11. OPSI has published a guide on how teams can use the Portfolio Exploration Tool in an interactive workshop setting (https://oecd-opsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Portfolio-Exploration-Facilitators-Guide.pdf).

← 12. This is part of the Chile’s National Policy on Science, Technology, Knowledge, and Innovation (https://www.minciencia.gob.cl/politicactci/documentos/Politica-Nacional-CTCi_Chile-2020.pdf).

← 13. https://oecd-opsi.org/publication-tags/facets-brief.

← 14. https://legalinstruments.oecd.org/en/instruments/OECD-LEGAL-0450.

← 15. For instance, Panama’s Law 144 of 2020 (https://aig.gob.pa/descargas/2020/05/ley-144-de-15-de-abril-de-2020.pdf) requires public sector organisations to create annual Digital Institutional Agendas, including a focus on digital innovation, which much be approved by the country’s National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG). According to interviewed officials, AIG then conducts assessments to align digital innovation efforts across government and create standards for a systemic approach. In interviews, the Dominican Republic and Peru stated they were also exploring specific digital innovation strategies.

← 16.  https://cdn.digital.gob.cl/filer_public/d3/e3/d3e3bb10-4ad2-4df8-adfa-b4ff69a658b6/agenda-de-modernizacion-del-estado.pdf.

← 17. https://www.dgcp.gob.do/noticias/dgcp-lanza-estrategia-de-innovacion-y-transformacion-digital.

← 18. https://bit.ly/3khma0h.

← 19. https://oe.cd/py-innovation.

← 20. https://semanadeinovacao.enap.gov.br/index.php/en.

← 21. https://gobiernodigital.mintic.gov.co/portal/Iniciativas/Centro-de-Innovacion-Publica-Digital.

← 22. https://c4ir.co.

← 23. https://c4ir.org.br/.

← 24. https://laboratorio.gob.do.

← 25. https://gobiernodigital.mintic.gov.co/portal/Iniciativas/Centro-de-Innovacion-Publica-Digital.

← 26. https://www.gob.pe/laboratoriodigital.

← 27. Relevant discussion on efforts outside the region can be found in OECD (2020[83]).

← 28. For an in-depth discussion on Cross-Border Government Innovation, including actions by LAC governments and beyond, see OPSI’s series of reports on Achieving Cross-Border Government Innovation (https://cross-border.oecd-opsi.org).

← 29. https://www.cepal.org/es/proyectos/agenda-digital-america-latina-caribe-elac2022.

← 30. https://www.leadingdigitalgovs.org.

← 31. https://www.gob.pe/8655-presidencia-del-consejo-de-ministros-interoperabilidad-transfronteriza.

← 32.  https://www.gob.pe/8256-presidencia-del-consejo-de-ministros-laboratorio-de-gobierno-y-transformacion-digita.

← 33. https://www.gob.pe/8267.

← 34.  https://www.mitic.gov.py/noticias/creacion-del-laboratorio-de-gobierno-paraguay-goblab-avanza-traves-de-la-agenda-digital.

← 35. The following countries provided responses for this section of the survey: Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. “Positive sentiment” here means that the survey respondent selected either “agree” or “strongly agree”. If a country is not mentioned here, they answered positively to all survey questions.

← 36. Iteration for Argentina, Paraguay, and Peru; storytelling for Barbados and Paraguay; insurgency for Chile and Paraguay; curiosity for Paraguay; data literacy for Argentina and Barbados; user-centricity for Paraguay and Peru.

← 37. See discussion on digital skills in Chapter 2, and discussions on “Enhancing internal expertise and human capital”, “User-centred” and “Creating space for experimentation” of the OECD-CAF AI report (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]).

← 38. https://suap.enap.gov.br/portaldoaluno/curso/734/.

← 39. https://www.escolavirtual.gov.br/curso/211.

← 40. https://bit.ly/3PciPxQ.

← 41. See https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/online-public-innovation-course-for-public-officials-labcapital.

← 42. See https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/design-academy-for-public-policy-labgobar.

← 43. See full details at https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/hubgov-program.

← 44. https://gobiernodigital.mintic.gov.co/portal/Iniciativas/Centro-de-Innovacion-Publica-Digital.

← 45.  https://www.gub.uy/agencia-gobierno-electronico-sociedad-informacion-conocimiento/institucional/estructura-del-organismo/division-tecnologias-emergentes.

← 46. This refers specifically to sentiment on public sector use and adoption of these technologies. The Government of Ecuador has been proactive when it comes to promoting the adoption of such technologies among the private sector, such as through the creation Directorate for the Promotion of Emerging Technologies.

← 47. https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/lbchain-blockchain-sandbox.

← 48. https://transform.england.nhs.uk/ai-lab.

← 49. See Table 3 in https://publications.iadb.org/publications/spanish/document/Regulacion-de-blockchain-e-identidad-digital-en-America-Latina-El-futuro-de-la-identidad-digital.pdf.

← 50. https://www.argentina.gob.ar/onti/codigo-de-buenas-practicas-para-el-desarrollo-de-software-publico.

← 51. See details in https://www.investbarbados.org/news/barbados-can-be-the-blockchain-fintech-hub-of-the-region.

← 52.  For example, see https://www.gov.br/mj/pt-br/assuntos/noticias/evento-debate-aplicacao-da-tecnologia-blockchain-no-setor-publico and https://www.gov.br/inpi/pt-br/central-de-conteudo/noticias/evento-discute-uso-do-blockchain-para-protecao-de-pi-e-combate-a-contrafacao.

← 53. https://businessblockchainhq.com/business-blockchain-news/chile-treasury-blockchain-project.

← 54.  See https://newenergyevents.com/chile-to-use-blockchain-technology-for-energy-grid and http://energiaabierta.cl/blockchain/como-funciona-nuestra-certificacion.

← 55. https://www.micitt.go.cr/sites/default/files/estrategia-tdhcrb.pdf.

← 56.  https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/269552/Folleto_blockchain_HACKMX_oct2017_v6.pdf.

← 57.  https://www.gub.uy/agencia-gobierno-electronico-sociedad-informacion-conocimiento/comunicacion/publicaciones/guias-para-decidir-sobre-uso-blockchain.

← 58. The report is available at https://oecd-opsi.org/publications/uncertain-promise-blockchain.

← 59. See https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/smart-rubbish-collection, https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/smart-rubbish-collectionhttps://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/reducing-friction-in-trade-rfit and https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/iot-based-management-and-monitoring-system-for-5g-electromagnetic-fields, respectively.

← 60. https://www.argentina.gob.ar/jefatura/innovacion-publica/ssetic/grupo-de-trabajo/iot.

← 61.  https://www.gov.br/mcti/pt-br/acompanhe-o-mcti/entregas/2019/ministerio-cria-plano-nacional-de-internet-das-coisas-iot.

← 62. https://www.micitt.go.cr/sites/default/files/estrategia-tdhcrb.pdf.

← 63.  https://www.dnp.gov.co/DNPN/Plan-Nacional-de-Desarrollo/Paginas/Pactos-Transversales/Pacto-transformacion-digital-de-Colombia/Transformacion-digital.aspx.

← 64. https://www.gub.uy/uruguay-digital/comunicacion/publicaciones/agenda-uruguay-digital-2025

← 65. https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/digital-twin.

← 66. See https://www.uipath.com/newsroom/uipath-together-sao-paulo-2019.

← 67. https://www.ops.gov.ie/actions/innovating-for-our-future/innovation/robotic-process-automation.

← 68. https://digital.gov/communities/rpa.

← 69. See https://www.argentina.gob.ar/jefatura/innovacion-publica/ssetic/grupo-de-trabajo/big-data.

← 70. https://www.gov.br/governodigital/pt-br/EGD2020/inteligente.

← 71. https://colaboracion.dnp.gov.co/CDT/Conpes/Econ%C3%B3micos/3920.pdf.

← 72. See https://www.oecd.org/governance/digital-government/toolkit/goodpractices/colombia-p3-5-6-7-9-12-excellence-centres-big-data-iot.pdf for more details.

← 73. https://www.infotec.mx/es_mx/Infotec/Big-Data.

← 74. See Government of Trinidad and Tobago (2021[82]) and (2021[84]) respectively.

← 75. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaverse.

← 76. See https://trends2019.oecd-opsi.org.

← 77. See https://oecd-opsi.org/publications/cracking-the-code.

← 78. To learn more about GovTech in the region, OECD and CAF encourage readers to read GovTech en Iberoamérica : ecosistema, actores y tecnologías para reinventar el sector público (GovTech in Ibero-America: ecosystem, actors and technologies to reinvent the public sector) (in Spanish). The book is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1x4EdQDNuwnC_NSdbFVQn4g13bLXNo96L/view (Ramírez-Alujas, Cepeda and Jolias, 2021[85]).

← 79. https://www.caf.com/govtech.

← 80. For examples of GovTech in action at the local level, see https://apolitical.co/solution-articles/en/a-govtech-goldrush-is-underway-in-latin-america.

← 81. The CAF source material includes “data infrastructures” as a lever. However, this topic is not included here because the earlier chapter on data and (OECD/CAF, 2022[4]) cover this topic extensively.

← 82.  http://scioteca.caf.com/bitstream/handle/123456789/1858/GOVTECH_GOVTECH_ENG-20211222.pdf.

← 83. For example, PROSOFT in Mexico (http://www.prosoft.economia.gob.mx), which seeks to promote policies that foster a culture of innovation and technological development and create industrial innovation centres; and a smart cities challenge and a “Hands on DATA” collaboration with CAF to invite data scientists to collaborate with public sector teams to promote artificial intelligence techniques in Uruguay (https://www.caf.com/es/actualidad/convocatorias/2020/02/manos-en-la-data-uruguay-2020-equipos-cientificos/).

← 84. See https://www.gov.br/startuppoint/pt-br/legado/comite-nacional-1/copy_of_apresentacao.

← 85. https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/cordoba-smart-city-fund/.

← 86. https://www.startupbrasil.org.br.

← 87. https://startupchile.org.

← 88. For examples of APPS.CO projects, see https://apps.co/comunicaciones/noticias/empresas-apoyadas-por-appsco-hacen-las-primeras-pr.

← 89. https://ampyme.gob.pa/?page_id=208.

← 90. https://www.panamahub.digital.

← 91. https://www.proinnovate.gob.pe.

← 92. https://www.senacyt.gob.pa/fondos-para-innovacion-y-emprendimiento.

← 93. https://retomexico.org.

← 94. https://desafiospublicos.cl.

← 95. See https://www.inovativa.online. OPSI’s country study of Brazil has details on the impressive history and design of InovAtiva (OECD, 2019[86]).

← 96. See https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/brazillab.

← 97. https://innpulsacolombia.com/milab.

← 98. https://apps.co/portal/Secciones/Inicio/196163:Semilleros-de-emprendimiento.

← 99. See, for example, the CII on Artificial Intelligence (https://www.ciiia.mx).

← 100. https://www.infotec.mx/en_mx/Infotec/LaNif.

← 101.  https://www.gob.pe/8256-presidencia-del-consejo-de-ministros-laboratorio-de-gobierno-y-transformacion-digital.

← 102. https://ingenio.org.uy.

← 103. https://legalbog.secretariajuridica.gov.co/biblioteca-publico#/biblioteca-publico/2347.

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