Design Thinking Approach to Drive Innovation in the Public Sector

Five teams representing central and local government entities in Kosovo have come up with innovative ideas to solve identified challenges in public services. The goal is to further improve the life of citizens and contribute to the processes of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Kosovo and the EU.

19 December 2022 – The significant role that the public sector plays in design and delivery of services was highlighted at the “Demo Day” event organized by GOV4SAA – the Civil Service Innovation Program, which is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through GIZ Kosovo and is implemented by the Innovation Center Kosovo.

Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi expressed appreciation for this initiative to encourage critical thinking in the public service, as it “drives efficiency and public administration reform, contributing to the acceleration of European integration processes,” he said. 

For the German Ambassador in Kosovo Jörn Rohde, the most important aspect of the project lies in the fact that it supports the implementation of the SAA and it nurtures the “courage to go beyond conventional boundaries in the public service,”

The prototypes that the civil servants have developed through the GOV4SAA-led project are an example how the civil service can support the implementation of the SAA, while improving the services offered to the citizens, and most importantly, open up the way for other civil servants to propose innovative solutions and programs.

The five teams pitched their proposals in front of the jury and the audience of the “Demo Day” event.

• The Employment Agency of the Republic of Kosovo presented a concept of a database that brings together employers and jobseekers, with detailed information on their respective needs and skills, offering access to such information 24/7.
• The Municipality of Kamenica seeks to develop an app that promotes the tourism potential of their municipality, and supports small business economic development..
• The Expertise Unit at the Office of the Prime Minister intends to develop a platform that increases the efficiency of the recruitment process for senior level positions by addressing identified bottlenecks and refining processes.
• The Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure will use mobile app technology and gamification to educate younger generations about road safety.
• The Ministry of Industry, Entrepreneurship and Trade team presented a mobile app that consumers can use to file complaints about faulty products, and provide details on such products, thus contributing to the overall safety of buyers.

Through an iterative process, these public servants have harnessed the advantages of technology and user needs information to render services more effective, less costly and time-consuming, thus pushing for projects of social value. The GOV4SAA has opened the opportunity for the second cohort of civil servants to be involved in the project.

GOV4SAA Civil Service Innovation Program, a program designed to assist in the implementation of the SAA between Kosovo and the EU, enables civil servants to shift to a start-up mindset and develop their idea into a prototype. The intensive six-month program brings together specialists from Kosovo institutions, representatives of public administration, and businesses to work on innovative approaches.