Department for Effective Public Management

Inter-American Prize for Innovation in Effective Public Management 2020- VIII Edition

María Fernanda Trigo

The Inter-American Prize for Innovation in Effective Public Management is an OAS Department of Effective Public Management (DEPM) initiative. Its main purpose is to recognize, encourage, systematize, and promote public management innovations that are being introduced in the region. Ultimately, the aim is to help make public institutions in the Americas more and more transparent and effective and help them develop mechanisms for citizen participation.

The Department of Social Inclusion and the OAS’ Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) have been collaborating closely on this endeavor, and have made valuable contributions towards incorporating the social inclusion and gender perspective categories, respectively.

Since the inception of the Prize in 2013, more than 529 innovative experiences have been submitted regionally; 31 special recognitions have been given out; and awards have gone to a total of 23 different public institutions from 19 countries of the region, namely: Argentina, Belize, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

All of the experiences selected and the previous winning entries may be found in a Databank of Innovative Experiences for Effective Public Management, an online database available on our website. This is free of charge and open to public sector and academic personnel and interested members of the public, who will be able to learn first-hand about everyday efforts by the public sector in the Americas to innovate in order to deliver better public services and thus fulfill their mandates and objectives for the benefit of citizens, to whom all public officials are accountable.

In concluding, I take this opportunity to once again invite all public institutions in the OAS member states to participate in this event, ever mindful that insofar as the public management community of the Americas can learn about and appreciate what they are doing, they will help strengthen the bonds of cooperation among our countries as well as democratic governance in the region as a whole.

Sincerely yours,

María Fernanda Trigo

Director, OAS Department for Effective Public Management

Secretariat for Hemispheric Affairs (SHA)

The main objective of the Inter-American Award on Innovation for Effective Public Management – PIGEP (for its acronyms in Spanish) is to strengthen democratic governance in the region through the improvement of public administrations of the OAS Member States, through the dissemination and exchange of innovative experiences in effective public management.

Its specific objectives are::

To recognize, identify, collect and disseminate innovative practices in public management of the countries of the Inter-American System;

To draw attention to innovation as a cross-cutting element of public management that goes beyond the use of technology;

To keep an Observatory of innovative experiences on public management that can be consulted by public officials, experts and citizens in general;

To generate among the public a growing demand for the improvement of public management in their public administrations; and

To foster innovation in public management among the countries of the Americas.

The Inter-American Prize for Innovation in Effective Public Management (PIGEP) has 6 categories, related to different areas of public management:

a. Innovation in Human Talent Management

  • This is the set of initiatives and strategies of public institutions, the purpose of which is to ensure proper management of human resource capacity and skills profiles within the framework of a professionalized public institution, according to its various phases (e.g.: recruitment, selection, access, incorporation, training, development, promotion, remuneration, and separation). These initiatives and strategies should focus on training for the public service to fully discharge its functions and responsibilities; attracting new cadres and public leadership training; encouraging the adoption of innovative practices; recognizing merit and outstanding performance; managing and resolving gaps in technical skills, management skills, and technological literacy, among other issues.

b. Innovation in Open Government

This relates to the set of public institution initiatives and strategies whose aim is to ensure citizens have access to and impact on public data, decisions, and services as part of an open public institution. These initiatives and strategies may include (the specific approach must be made explicit on the application).

  • Transparency: This refers to a set of open data-related initiatives and strategies, whose objective is to make available to citizens relevant information on responsibilities, acts, decisions, data, plans, sources, etc., with respect to public institutions and who their members are. Examples: accountability reports, citizen reports, laws on access to information, transparency portals, traffic lights for tracking goals, etc.

  • Participation: It refers to the set of strategies and mechanisms relating to "open decisions" made by public institutions in order to promote the right of citizens to actively engage in political decision-making; to promote interaction between the state and citizens and feedback from the latter to government, for both sides to be able to benefit from knowledge, ideas, and experiences in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of government. Examples: public hearings, participatory budgeting, co-design sessions, agility methods, and innovation labs.

  • Collaboration: This refers to the set of initiatives and strategies related to "open services" provided by public institutions for the purposes of involving citizens, civil society organizations, and companies in the coordinated and joint delivery of public programs and services. Examples: public-private partnerships and consortiums, permits, and adhesion contracts, public service concessions, inter-municipal consortiums, service cooperatives, public services informed by multiculturalism.

c. Innovation in the Use of Evidence from the Behavioral Sciences

This refers to the set of initiatives and/or strategies involving the use of empirical evidence (insights) from the behavioral sciences to inform the design and implementation of public policies, programs, and measures. In order to produce a positive social impact, these initiatives and/or strategies are designed to mitigate inadvertent biases in perception, decision-making, and individual behavior, without compromising individual autonomy in terms of will and freedom. The strategies contemplated include: (a) tools such as nudging, priming techniques, framing, choice architecture, defaults options, salience and gamification, among others; and (b) empirical research methods, such as natural experiments, field experiments, randomized controlled trials, among others.

d. Innovation in Social Inclusion

This relates to the set of public service initiatives and/or strategies that promote holistic wellbeing for those who are vulnerable, doing so in an inclusiv e and equitable manner so as to positively transform their living conditions. This category calls for a crosscutting approach to be taken, that is, including vulnerable populations – such as people with disabilities, at-risk young people, people of African descent, indigenous people, migrants, LGTBI communities, and older persons – in activities or processes.

In that regard, innovations in social inclusion may include (the specific focus has to be explicitly stated on the application):

  • Promotion and Social Protection:refers to original strategies and initiatives aimed at providing people with support to deal with the various risks they face over the course of their lifetime, guaranteeing everyone income security and access to essential social services.

  • Financial Inclusion: refers to original strategies and initiatives that promote inclusion of population segments traditionally excluded from the financial system.

  • Digital Inclusion: refers to original strategies and initiatives that seek to democratize access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) so that all segments of the population – especially the most vulnerable – can be included in the information society.

  • Inclusion in the Workforce: refers to original strategies or initiatives related to working conditions, productive employment, and decent work, and equal opportunity for vulnerable people.

  • Inclusion in Production: refers to original strategies or initiatives related to the conditions and equal opportunity for vulnerable people with respect to opening up/developing businesses and productive enterprises.

e. Innovation in Promoting a Gender Equality, Diversity, and Human Rights Approach

This refers to the set of public service initiatives and strategies to help advance gender equality and women's rights from a diversity perspective, in different areas, inside or outside an institution. Innovations in this area could include the following elements:

  • Encouraging women's participation in policy design: Initiatives and strategies that provide or facilitate a new approach to participation of citizens, especially poor women and other vulnerable groups, in the design of policies, through a variety of consultation and knowledge management mechanisms or techniques, among other things.

  • High-quality service delivery to women: Initiatives and strategies that provide greater access to high-quality and affordable services for women. It includes innovations in service delivery mechanisms that are tailored to the specific needs of women in all their diversity, taking into account aspects associated with their human rights, including their health, safety, participation in the labor market on an equal footing and free from violence, limitations they may face in terms of access and mobility, and shared responsibility for family caregiving, among other issues.

  • Preventing and addressing violence against women: Initiatives and strategies to prevent and address violence against women in any form or setting, including initiatives to raise public awareness and provide training to combat violence against women and gender stereotypes that continue to legitimize it.

  • f. Innovation in Smart Government

    This refers to a set of initiatives and strategies that facilitate understanding and implementation of emerging technologies so that public institutions can positively transform the citizen experience in the relationship with the public.

    These initiatives and strategies specifically include the application of technologies such as: remote sensing and georeferencing systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, and digital identification, traceability, data protection, and privacy, among others.

    The application should focus on these technologies and their concrete effects on the benefit of citizens being applied in practice.

The criteria to be considered by the Panel of Judges are as follows:

a. Singularity

  • This has to do with creating initiatives that are unprecedented within the public service. This criterion is being applied to find out how the innovative experience came about, its background, and what inherent features make it unique. Explicit reference must therefore be made to: (a) who, when, and how in terms of the origins of the innovative experience; (b) similar international, national, and/or local experiences that have inspired, informed, and/or contributed to the experience being nominated; (c) and an explanation as why the experience submitted is INNOVATIVE.

b. Citizen Advocacy

  • This means demonstrating that implementation of the innovative experience results in greater benefit to the citizenry (e.g.: shorter waiting times, information in clear language, simplified processes, etc.). Reference should therefore be made to: (a) characterization of the target population, (b) size of beneficiary group, (c) coverage targets/ indicators, (d) outcome indicators, (e) impact indicators, and (f) tools, methodologies, and techniques to be considered for measuring outcomes and impact of an innovative experience in terms of its objectives and proposed targets (e.g., opinion surveys, field experiments, natural experiments, and/or randomized controlled trials (RCTs), etc.

c. Replicability

  • This refers to the conditions for transferability and replicability of the innovative practice in other countries of the Americas. The possibility of adapting administrative processes to other institutional contexts, funding accessibility, political, social, and cultural conditionalities of the organization and the environment, etc., should therefore be weighed. Accordingly, reference should be made to: (a) operational complexity during implementation of the practice in your country/organization, (b) degree of political sensitivity or need to secure support from political authority in your country/organization, (c) critical success factors (CSF) in your country/organization, (d) changes in the legal system that may be necessary in your country/organization, (e) degree of inter-institutional coordination required in your country/organization, (f) human and financial resources needed vs. obtained in your country/organization.

d. Efficiency

  • This refers to a public institution’s capacity to organize its processes so as to streamline its resources (financial, human, logistical, etc.) and in turn yield higher and better outcomes. Explicit reference must therefore be made to: (a) total cost of the practice (estimated in US$/fiscal year), (b) per person/per beneficiary cost (in US$/fiscal year), (c) cost-benefit indicator (if possible, compared with similar experiences or alternative practices), (d) total number and percentage of staff involved in managing the innovative practice.

e. Sustainability

  • This means how durable, resilient, and entrenched the experience is to be able to sustain itself over time, resist political changes in leadership, institutional and organizational changes, funding, degree of commitment of government officials and staff, etc. The following should therefore be explicitly referenced: (a) period legally in force, (b) resilience of the innovative practice to changes in political leadership (in number of cycles and/or years passed), (c) resilience of the innovative practice to changes in administrative leadership (in number of cycles and/or years passed) (d) resilience of the innovative practice to changes in funding sources and budget, (e) total percentage of funding sourced from international cooperation, (f) number of donors/partners (last 2-3 fiscal years), and (g) level of legal recognition of the practice (e.g., ordinary law, policy document, charter, regulation, international protocol).

f. Gender, Diversity, and Human Rights Perspective

  • This entails determining how the initiative submitted for competition promotes improvements in the conditions of equality and equity between men and women, in all their diversity, in the dimensions of access, treatment, opportunities, quality, differentiation of public service benefits, etc. The gender, diversity, and human rights dimension is also taken into consideration within the institution implementing the innovative experience.

g. Citizen Advocacy

  • This relates to demonstrating and specifying the type, mechanisms, and frequency of citizen involvement at the various stages of the innovative experience (either through its design, planning, implementation, evaluation and/or monitoring), for it to meet the institutional objectives set forth and, at the same time, line up with citizen priorities.

These types and mechanisms of engagement comprise:

- Information:

Public information is dispensed to the citizens through dissemination mechanisms (for example: reports, releases, transparency portals, and the like);

- Consultation:

Objective and balanced public information as well as established decision-making have taken into consideration contributions and analyses provided by citizens, civil society organizations, and social actors through mechanisms for listening (e.g.: surveys, public hearings, social media, chatbots, etc.);

- Co-design:

Problems and solutions adopted denote ongoing, direct engagement with the public at large, civil society organizations, and social actors through collaborative design mechanisms (e.g.: concept tests, prototyping, validation trials, innovations labs, etc.); and

- Collaboration:

Problems have been identified and solutions delivered through ongoing, close collaboration with members of civil society organizations and social actors by means of collaborative implementation mechanisms (e.g.: participation of leaders from the beneficiary community in the "last mile delivery" of the innovative practice).

The Inter-American Prize for Innovation in Effective Public Management (PIGEP) consists in a recognition by means of Certificated issued by the Organization of American States (OAS). This recognition can be only used with institutional purposes.

Likewise, the OAS, through its social networks and Databank of Innovative Experiences for Effective Public Management, will disseminate results about the Winners institutions.

The OAS reserves the right to publish the results of the selection process. Likewise, applicants must give - in the application form, his/her authorization for the publication and use - total or partial - of the content of the application.

Beginning of the Call for Applications

August 2, 2020

Deadline to apply

September 30, 2020

Publication of the results

November 30, 2020


What is an Innovative Experience?

  • An innovative experience in effective public management is a public initiative (broadly defined as a program, public policy, activity, process, etc.) carried out by a public administration that, due to its originality or characteristics, has generated outstanding results in its effectiveness and efficiency for the benefit of citizens.
  • For the purposes of the Award, the innovative experience must possess a minimum of 2-year implementation period from its execution.

    Who can apply?

    To apply to the Inter-American Award on Innovation for Effective Public Management, the following requirements have to be met:

  • a. Be a public institution/entity at any administrative level (national, regional, local) from a OAS member state;
  • b. The innovative experiences must have a two-year implementation time from the execution stage. The design is not considered part of the implementation stage.
  • c. Complete the Online Application Form . The deadline to apply is September 30th, 2020.

    - Applications focusing exclusively on Draft Bills, software, online platforms, or on general reforms will not be considered;

    - Hard copies of applications will not be accepted. Only the electronic versions will be evaluated as submitted through the online Application Form.

    Special Considerations

    § If the institution wants to apply on more than one category, it must apply through different application forms.

    § The institution can apply a maximum of three experiences per category.

    § All the information contained in the application form is considered true. If at any stage of the process it is proved that this requirement is not fulfilled; the application will be automatically disqualified. The decision cannot be appealed.

    How is the assessment realized?

    Evaluation will be based on objective and technical criteria, impartially and independently verifiable.

    The OAS Department for Effective Public Management will make a preliminary selection to verify the compliance with the application requirements and will submit the selected experiences to a Special Jury.

    The Special Jury is composed by academic and political experts recognized for their expertise in public management. They shall decide and select which applications are worthy of receiving recognition from the OAS and their selection will be based on pre-selected criteria and categories. To that end, the Special Jury may require more information about the application by phone, if they deem necessary.

    In the absence of at least one application, the Jury may declare the category as void. It is also possible that the Jury declare a category void if, though still having applications, they did not meet the selection criteria. The decisions of the Special Jury will be taken in accordance with the specific characteristics in each category and criteria established in the General Information and the Online Application Form . Likewise, its deliberations are confidential and final.

    Only one experience will be awarded for each category and the decision is not appealable.

    If necessary, the Special Jury may assign “special mentions” to those applications that have a special potential or component. These “special mentions” cannot be given to those applications which have been selected as winner.

    Who are the members of the Special Jury?

    The Special Jury is chaired by the OAS Secretary for Hemispheric Affairs and it is composed by distinguished experts, academics and officials from institutions and internationally renowned universities.

    At any time the OAS Department for Effective Public Management (DEPM) will serve as Technical Secretariat, in order to facilitate the activities.

    Technical Support / Assistance

    The OAS Department for Effective Public Management (DEPM) will provide assistance to the applicants interested in submitting innovative experiences of their national institutions/entities.

    Assistance includes: Answering information requests about requirements, the application process and other things related to this activity.

    How to apply?

    To apply to the PIGEP, please follow the following steps:

    Enter the PIGEP 2020 webpage, and select Online Application Form ;

    Select the option “Check if you have no code”, then click “Submit”.

    By entering, you will be assigned a red code. Please take note of your code, if you decide to save the application and finish it later. In that regard, as you access again the form, please enter the code in the box “Anonymous Login Code”.

    If you want to read in advance the questions of the Application Form, access the PIGEP 2020 Webpage and select “General Information”.

    From this Edition, no hard copies will be accepted. To that end, the Online Application Form has a special section for submitting annexes. You can annex a maximum of 3 documents, each one not exceeding 3MB.

    Please note, to submit successfully a document, select “Browse”, then the document you want to annex, finally click “Upload”, in order to save the document in the platform.

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