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.

Ms. Beatrice Francesca A. Orante shares tips on forming design challenges.

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.

Ms. Christine E. Jaspe discusses the ideas their team from the WVSU generated to improve their service.

Ms. Lolita Bondoc of the SBMA shares their concept.

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.

Ms. Beatrice Orante introduces the components of the idea sheet.

Mr. Adrian Ramirez introduces the participants to the Innovation Laboratory

Participants pose for the class photo
Participants pose for the class photo

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.

Mr. Mikael Sokero introduces the participants to his organization’s work.
Mr. Ryan Chua presents examples of hypotheses related to public service delivery

Participants share their thoughts on imagination

Mr. Mikael Sokero explains how innovation is a process of learning and experimentation

The participants take a photo with the resource persons