The APO Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity
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Category: Capability Development
Innovation Laboratory Aims for Value Chain Enhancement and Cross-Cutting Innovations
Concluding its 6th year of aiding the nation in spreading the innovation culture, the Public Sector Productivity Innovation Laboratory (PSP-InnoLab) focuses on pursuing partnerships, sectoral innovations, and value chain enhancements. Since the program’s launch in 2016, PSP-InnoLab has capacitated more than 140 agencies and 400 participants with 29 innovation projects implemented. The program now sets sail to the next phase of its roadmap, so PSP-InnoLab focuses on achieving a wider reach and more meaningful outcomes.
In 2022, aside from creating a wider pool of innovation facilitators, new activities and concepts will be executed and integrated into the various program offerings of InnoLab. Cross-pollination of learning and interagency collaborations will be the main ingredients in ensuring that cross-cutting innovations focusing on value chain enhancements will be fostered. Furthermore, the program components will integrate into its course designs, activities that promote identifying and realizing meaningful productivity gains in conceptualizing and implementing innovation activities.
Opening the year with capacitating DAP in-house facilitators, the PSP-InnoLab has also mobilized activities for the Masterclass on Co-Creation Innovation Process and the Boot Camp on Innovating the Public Sector. Aside from these regular offerings, an Innovation Sharing Activity was conducted last June 29, 2022. Furthermore, implementation and scale-up activities will be launched to strengthen existing projects through sustainability efforts.
For more information on the PSP-InnoLab offerings for 2022, inquiries may be emailed to email@example.com — Adrian A. Ramirez
As the Philippines’ local government units (LGUs) transition to full devolution of services, the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) trained eight participants from the Meycauayan City Government and Misamis Oriental Provincial Government during the Designing Citizen-Centered Public Services workshops held from 15 to 19 August 2022.
Ms. Beatrice Francesca A. Orante, Associate Project Officer from the DAP Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP), instructed the participants in the use of a structured and human-centered process for analyzing service issues and designing solutions. She also guided them through activities where they applied their learnings while developing service improvements.
At the end of the sessions, the LGUs produced proposals and action plans that they will implement after the workshops. They will carry out these tests with additional coaching and project incubation activities from the DAP before presenting their progress in November.
Putting citizens at the center of innovation
The workshops and activities also introduced a more citizen-centered approach to service delivery and productivity, especially in the local context. They drew from clients’ pain points and emotions to identify issues and opportunities while also designing solutions and implementation strategies that considered desirability and overall alignment with stakeholders’ expectations, interests, and needs. Lastly, they ran tests with their target users to gather feedback to improve their projects.
Lectures provided additional context as to the principles of citizen-centered service design and their role in the innovation process and productivity improvement as a whole. The discussions also featured exemplary services from the Philippine local governments, other countries, and the outputs of past participants.
The DAP Center for Governance-Policy Research Office held last August 25 the fourth installment of the Capability Building on Innovative Leadership for Legislative Staff (CBILLS) Program’s Thursday Talks: Webinar Series on Socio-Political and Economic Perspectives, which tackled government restructuring and reform through a webinar titled “Rightsizing the Philippine Bureaucracy.”
The webinar explored the intentions and implications of the proposed National Government Rightsizing Program (NGRP) in enhancing the government’s institutional capacity to perform its mandate and provide better services through speakers from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, the Department of Budget and Management, the University of the Philippines, and IBON Foundation.
Dr. Charlotte Justine Diokno-Sicat of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies presented the Philippine experience in public sector reform and emphasized that rightsizing may result in improved efficiency and delivery of public goods and services if these efforts are grounded on economic principles and are conducted across national government agencies, and considered the changing needs of client citizens.
Atty. Maria Paula B. Domingo of the Department of Budget and Management discussed the salient features of the proposed National Government Rightsizing Program (NGRP) and provided policy recommendations on the challenges encountered in rightsizing efforts introduced in the previous Congress.
Panel discussants Dr. Maria Lourdes G. Rebullida of the University of the Philippines and Jose Enrique A. Africa of IBON Foundation both shared their insights and analyses on the scope and potential impacts of rightsizing efforts in the light of the current Philippine bureaucracy and offered policy recommendations that would ultimately enhance government capacity in fulfilling agencies’ respective mandates and effectively addressing citizens’ needs.
The livestream of this event can be accessed through the Policy Research Office Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/DAPCFGPRO.
The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) trained 43 participants during the Designing Citizen-Centered Public Services workshops held from 25 to 29 July 2022. Participants came from the following ten agencies:
Department of Education (DepEd) – Quezon Province
DepEd – Calamba
DepEd – Mandaluyong City
Department of Science and Technology Region VI (DOST VI),
Cooperative Development Authority Region IV-A (CDA IV-A)
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA)
Lung Center of the Philippines
Southern Philippines Medical Center
West Visayas State University
Cagayan State University.
Ms. Beatrice Francesca A. Orante, Associate Project Officer from the DAP Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity, instructed the participants in the use of a structured and human-centered process for analyzing service issues and designing solutions. She also guided them through a series of workshops where they applied their learnings while developing service improvements.
At the end of the sessions, the ten agencies produced proposals and action plans that they will implement after the workshops. They will carry out these tests with additional coaching and project incubation activities from the DAP before presenting their progress in November.
Putting citizens at the center of innovation
The workshops and activities also introduced a more citizen-centered approach to service delivery and productivity. They drew from clients’ pain points and emotions to identify issues and opportunities. They also designed solutions and implementation strategies that considered desirability and overall alignment with stakeholders’ expectations, interests, and needs. Lastly, they ran tests with their target users to gather feedback they could use to improve their projects.
Lectures provided additional context as to the principles of citizen-centered service design and how they factor into the tools and activities and the innovation process as a whole. The discussions also featured exemplary services from the Philippines and other countries and the experiences of past participants.
The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) held a webinar series on Public Workforce Futureproofing: Elevating Productivity in the New Normal on 28-29 June 2022. The series discussed the changing landscape of the public sector’s work environment and the strategies that can be applied to face the challenges.
Former CSI Executive Director, Mr. Arthur Florentin (upper right) and Mr. Edward Santiago of Lifekite (upper left) discussing the trends and challenges around future-proofing the public sector workforce.
The changing landscape of work in the the public sector
The series opened with the former executive director of the Civil Service Institute (CSI), Mr. Arthur Florentin, who provided an overview on the future of work and the new competencies that need to be developed in the public sector. He identified four characteristics that continue to be evident, despite modernization efforts in recent years:
Attendance-driven without indicating the type of work
Manual processes for service delivery
Standardization of past success factors
To better prepare the public sector for future risks and opportunities, Mr. Florentin suggested applying more results-oriented performance measurement, flexible working arrangements, and a strategic and anticipatory mindset. He explained that these changes would help organizations continue their work regardless of the situation and build the digital skills of staff.
Asked by a participant if the work-from-home arrangement has ensured productivity, Mr. Florentin said that, from the recent studies, it has ensured continuity but its effectiveness still depends on how leaders guide their staff. He also told another participant that retooling and upskilling strategies should focus on flexibility, agility, and lifelong learning.
Resiliency and wellness in the new era of work
The second day of the webinar series featured an interactive session on mindfulness and resilience led by Mr. Edward Santiago of Lifekite, a transformational growth company.
At the beginning of his lecture, Mr. Santiago defined mindfulness as a therapeutic technique to achieve a “mental state that is focused and aware of the present moment with acknowledgment of one’s feelings and thoughts.” He explained that mindfulness can help improve social relationships, reduce stress, and enhance one’s resilience through positivity and gratefulness. Organizations also benefit from mindfulness because it helps individuals focus better, thus elevating productivity and performance.
Mr. Santiago outlined four steps in practicing mindfulness:
Pause and look for a breather
Identify things to be thankful for and to improve
Take deep breaths to calm down
Care for one’s self to be healthy
During the Q&A with the participants, Mr. Santiago promoted compassionate leadership, educating staff, facilitating communication among individuals, and creating a psychologically safe environment in offices.
In relation to reaching targets in the public sector, a participant asked, “how can our managers help staff mitigate the mental health risks of overwork?” Mr. Santiago responded by saying, “compassionate leadership is essential in that it thinks how its team can better accomplish the job, but are also being productive and efficient. Education, also, to teach people that there is a new way of doing it, and communication.” The second session ended with a question on what structure an office can observe to maintain psychological safety and productivity in the workplace. The speaker suggested for a team to meet at least one hour in a week where they’ll be able to have a space to discuss their thoughts and express support for each other.
Replay of this webinar series is accessible on Facebook and Youtube. Stay tuned for more upcoming webinar series in the coming months.
The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), in cooperation with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), through the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP) Program Management Office conducted the Workshop on Digital Transformation for the Public Sector from 13 to 15 July 2022.
Forty-three (43) participants and twelve (12) observers from Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Türkiye, and Vietnam listened to lectures on digital transformation strategies, issues, and advances. They also conducted discussions on people-centered digital transformation and planning for possible risks.
Current trends, issues
DAP Senior Vice President for Programs Ms. Magdalena L. Mendoza kicked off the activity by encouraging the participants to maximize technological advancements to deliver citizen-centered services and address challenges.
Dr. Toshio Obi, Professor Emeritus at Waseda University’s Institute of Digital Government, and Ms. Hyejeong Lim, Principal Manager of the National Information Society Agency, discussed current trends and issues in digital transformation. Dr. Obi shared examples of how technological advances have helped Japan respond to challenges like an aging population and natural disasters, while Ms. Lim explained the Republic of Korea’s open data policies and initiatives, its journey towards a digital government, and the plans to build on this progress.
Dr. Jelena Dzakula, Lecturer at the King’s College London’s Department of Digital Humanities, recounted Europe’s digital transformation journey, including evaluations and case studies that contributed to current innovations. Presenting another view on disruptive technologies, she said automation, AI, and blockchain have encouraged democratization and improved organizational efficiency while introducing ethical challenges like the amplification of certain racial prejudices and threats to privacy.
The lectures and activities also tackled more practical strategies for digital transformation in the public sector.
Dr. Obi argued that certain policies and structures either promote or hinder digital transformation’s conceptualization, integration, and implementation. The public sector does not yet have an enabling environment because public-private partnerships are few, and there is little political will around digitalization. He called for greater cooperation on the matter and capacity building for the public sector.
Dr. William Torres, Distinguished Professor at Mapúa University’s School of Information Technology, focused on the lessons learned from the Philippines’ digital transformation experience. He reasoned that the Philippines, a developing country at the beginning of its digitalization journey, needs the same investment in infrastructure and skills development as its neighbors to see progress.
The European Union also experiences similar problems in the digital divide, according to Dr. Dzakula. She also echoed the calls for more genuine citizen involvement through co-production and co-creation, including models to fully account for human behavior.
Small group discussions complemented the lectures and allowed participants to share their respective countries’ experiences. In the activities facilitated by Dr. Dzakula and Dr. Obi, the participants talked about the extent to which governments’ digital services and processes involved constituents and proposed business continuity plans for digital technology.
Mr. Armand Tristan Suratos, the APO Liaison Officer for the Philippines, closed the program by encouraging the participants to find opportunities to innovate and continuously learn about digital transformation.
DAP holds third batch of the Development of Public Sector Productivity Specialists Foundation Course
The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) trained 29 participants during the Development of Public Sector Productivity Specialists Foundation Course (DPSPS-FC) held from 27 June to 1 July. Participants came from seven agencies:
Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor – Cebu (OPP Cebu)
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital
Civil Service Commission Regional Office II (CSC Region 2)
Department of Transportation (DOTr)
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Resource persons from the DAP discussed the basic concepts and strategies and guided the participants through workshops to draft a productivity improvement plan. Case presenters also shared their experiences in conceptualizing and implementing their own projects.
Basics of Public-Sector Productivity
The participants began with an introduction to public-sector productivity from AO25 Secretariat Director Ms. Maria Rosario A. Ablan. She highlighted how productive organizations could improve citizens’ quality of life, restore public trust, and promote good governance. Ms. Ablan also presented the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle as a framework for productivity improvement.
Ms. Ablan also led the discussion in the next session on the steps and key considerations in productivity measurement. After the lecture, the participants identified their inputs, outputs, and outcomes and applied the process of measurement in the context of their agencies. The following session on diagnosing and analyzing productivity problems showed how Lean Management concepts and tools such as Quick Assessment, Value Stream Mapping, and Identifying a Problem Statement may be used to deepen one’s understanding of the potential causes of productivity issues and how best to address them.
Using insights from the third session, Ms. Niña Maria Estudillo introduced a number of productivity improvement tools and techniques, such as Fishbone Analysis, Root Cause Analysis, and Solutions Formulation Matrix, and guided the participants in their use.
The last day of the course was dedicated to tackling practical questions and strategies. DAP Project Officer Ms. Rocio Isabel Paloma shared tips for introducing and sustaining solutions. These were contextualized through presentations of previous innovation projects from Dr. Edward Baña of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Ms. Maria Luisa Khristina Oliveros from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Participants later presented their respective offices’ initial Productivity Improvement Plan.
The course ended with a message from DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan Jr., MNSA, which emphasized how technology can transform internal and external processes to reduce the turnaround time and costs of services and encouraged the participants to continuously strengthen their organizations to improve sectoral and national productivity.
The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) held a webinar series on Measuring Public Sector Productivity on 7-8 June 2022. DAP Vice President and Managing Director of the Productivity and Development Center, Mr. Arnel D. Abanto, delivered two sessions on key productivity concepts and approaches to measuring productivity.
The series is the second installment of this year’s Public Sector Productivity (PSP) Webisodes, a year-long initiative to raise awareness of productivity and innovation topics in the public sector through the virtual space.
Throughout the two sessions, Mr. Abanto emphasized that PSP matters because the public sector is a significant provider of services and a primary user of resources. Productivity measurement, in determining the relationship between valuable outputs generated and resources utilized for a particular period, can lead to critical information for improving the public sector’s performance. Mr. Abanto illustrated the process and types of information generated by presenting the results of productivity estimates he did for the education and health sectors in the Philippines.
Challenges in public sector productivity measurement
On the second day of the webinar, Mr. Abanto focused on a step-by-step approach to measuring PSP and gave a brief background on analyzing and interpreting productivity information. Mr. Abanto listed seven critical considerations in estimating PSP: the purpose of measurement, the outcome of productivity changes, results linkages, levels of analysis, availability and quality of data, information needs of the user of productivity information, and the productivity measurement framework. Of these, he pointed to the purpose as the most crucial.
Mr. Abanto also outlined the key challenges in measuring PSP: intra-governmental coordination on productivity measurement, accounting for quality change, and weak institutional mechanisms for regular data collection. Asked how to overcome the issue of data availability and quality, he responded that access to information should not be a challenge if the individuals and organizations involved understand the purpose of productivity measurement and how the information can help them identify and address gaps in the delivery of services and the achievement of targets in the public sector. This webinar series is available for replay on Facebook and Youtube. Stay tuned for more upcoming webinar series in the coming months.
Staff and officers from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) completed a series of workshops to reimagine their services and processes through experimentation. The sessions were part of the Development Academy of the Philippines’ (DAP) partnership with the Asian Productivity Organization and Finland-based think-tank Demos Helsinki on experimentation in the public sector.
Three workshops were conducted online:
7 June: Identifying the problem and the potential solutions
8 June: Defining the experiment hypothesis
22 June: Experiment design and rollout plan
At the end of the sessions, the DOLE team designed an experiment to improve the quality of their auditing and eliminate program implementation deficiencies while the DENR-EMB team will try to incentivize local government units’ compliance with environmental regulations. They will carry out these tests with additional guidance and support coming from the DAP and Demos Helsinki before presenting the results in November.
Lectures complemented the activities by tackling how governments can use experimentation to navigate a highly unpredictable landscape by trying new ideas at a smaller scale. The resource persons also presented cases from the private sector and the government to further expound and contextualize the types, purpose, and benefits of testing.
Opportunity for transformation
The workshops also served as vehicles for introducing new tools and mindsets for brainstorming and planning. They were designed around the idea that even the smallest of experiments could eventually lead to major transformations. Using the Finnish experience with testing universal basic income, Mr. Mikko Annala, Lead of Transformative Governance at Demos Helsinki, explained how the test accelerated the debate on the future of social welfare while reducing potential risks.
Mr. Mikael Sokero, Senior Capacity Building Expert at Demos Helsinki, also highlighted the role of imagination. He emphasized that experimentation, used in a robust way, is a perfect way of looking for a solution outside one’s perceived reality, thus moving away from the fixation on “perfect policies” towards moonshot initiatives.
The Development Academy of the Philippines, as the focal organization of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP), successfully implemented this year’s second batch of the Development of Public Sector Productivity Specialists – Foundation Course (DPSPS-FC) from 13 to 17 June 2022.
In his opening speech, Mr. Peter Dan Baon, the COE-PSP Program Manager, welcomed the participants from the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Mines & Geosciences Bureau Regional Office IVA, House of Representatives – Congressional Policy & Budget Research (HOR-CPBR), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and Professional Regulation Commission – NCR. He explained that the five-day course seeks to provide an avenue for them to gain insights, learn from the experience of other participants, and collaborate with other agencies as they work together towards a more productive public sector.
Capacitating future PSP specialists
Ms. Maria Rosario Ablan, Program Director of the DAP AO25 Secretariat, led the discussion for Session 1: Understanding Public Sector Productivity Concepts and Principles. She discussed basic productivity concepts and issues, the importance of public sector productivity, the productivity management framework, and the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle.
For the second session on Measuring Productivity in the Public Sector, Ms. Ablan presented the Productivity Measurement Framework and the key considerations and challenges in measuring public sector productivity. She also explained the index-based PSP measurement and steps in building output and input indices to compute productivity at the organizational level.
Ms. Elena Cruz, former DAP Vice President and Managing Director of the Center for Knowledge Management, facilitated Session 3: Diagnosing and Analyzing Productivity. Ms. Cruz tackled Lean Management principles and concepts, emphasizing the eight wastes of Lean Manufacturing. She also discussed various problem-solving tools and techniques, such as Quick Assessment, Value Stream Mapping, Work Study, Process Chart, Method Study, Work Measurement, and Root Cause Analysis. According to Ms. Cruz, diagnosing and defining productivity issues are important preliminary steps to productivity improvement.
For the fourth session, Ms. Niña Estudillo, an Honorary Certified APO Productivity Practitioner and independent trainer and consultant specializing in Productivity and Quality (P&Q) and Organizational Development (OD), discussed how to identify and plan productivity improvements to address productivity problems identified in the previous session. She introduced the tools and techniques for productivity improvement, focusing on Quality Circle and Business Process Re-engineering (BPR). During the workshop, the participating agencies were tasked to identify solutions to their identified wastes using the Root Cause Analysis, specifically the Ishikawa Diagram, Potential Problem Analysis and Solutions Formulation Matrix. They were also given time to brainstorm and prepare for the initial outline of their Productivity Improvement Plan (PIP), which will serve as their final output for the course.
On the program’s final day, two case presenters discussed and shared exemplary experiences in developing and implementing interventions that have addressed internal and external productivity issues concerning citizen satisfaction, public trust, cost-effectiveness, competitiveness, and quality of life. Mr. Michaelangelo R. Severa, Local Government Operations Officer at the Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Office No. 5 (DILG Region 5), presented the key components, results, and challenges they faced in the implementation of the “Saloobin ng mga Mamamayan” project, which seeks to establish a citizen feedback mechanism and address issues surrounding feedback mechanism protocols at the barangay-level. The second presenter, Mr. Joel O. Mendoza, Head of the Quality Workplace Committee at the Department of Education (DepEd), shared their quality workplace journey through 5S Good Housekeeping.
For their main course activity, the participating agencies presented their initial Productivity Improvement Plan. Each of the agencies was provided an opportunity to raise questions and give comments on the outputs of one another. The resource persons during the previous sessions, Ms. Niña Estudillo, Ms. Elena Cruz, and Mr. Peter Dan Baon also provided their inputs and suggestions after each presentation.
To formally close the program, Ms. Imelda C. Caluen, Vice President and Managing Director of the DAP Center for Governance, delivered the closing remarks. She congratulated the participants for completing the first step to becoming productivity specialists, adding that any effort to improve government productivity starts with the workforce, improving skills, and reforming administrative cultures.