The Luxembourg State has set up a GovTech Lab combining GovTech and open innovation in order to accelerate the development and further improvement of digital public services.
The GovTech Lab, which is the result of a cooperation between the Ministry for Digitalisation and its technological arm, the Government IT Centre (CTIE), sets out to encourage and support a culture of innovation and change within the State in order to rethink existing procedures and operational flows and integrate principles such as digital by default, design thinking or service by design when conceiving new solutions.
The essence of the Lab can be summarised as follows: experiment, exchange, innovate.
Why a GovTech Lab in Luxembourg?
One of the Ministry's strategic axes is the development of eGovernment and the GovTech Lab constitutes an integral part of the actions that the Ministry for Digitalisation is implementing in this area.
What does GovTech mean?
The term GovTech is relatively recent and refers to the use or development of technological solutions aimed at advancing the digital transformation of the public sector with a view to improving the quality of services to citizens and businesses and making better tools available that are dedicated to the public administration's efficiency.
More specifically, GovTech technologies represent and underpin the evolution towards a digital government characterised by user-friendliness, security, accessibility and efficiency regarding the services offered to citizens.
Its literal meaning is "technologies for government", on the lines of FinTech (technologies for finance) or MedTech (technologies for health). However, GovTech encompasses a broader catalogue of actions intended to make the public sector more agile and more oriented towards innovation in order to make public services more functional technologically.
GovTechs are perceived as a facilitator in exchanges between public administrations and citizens or businesses and between administrations themselves. These aspects bring out the strong potential of GovTech solutions for the economy, the digital transformation and the attractiveness of the country.
What does open innovation mean?
In general terms, open innovation is the set of innovation processes based on sharing and collaboration. It aims to use knowledge from outside its usual environment to avoid working in silos.
This external knowledge enriches innovation activities and constitutes a major asset: ideas are better connected to existing needs and more in tune with users' expectations. Development solutions promote the quality of the ideas obtained and increase the speed of technological development.
Open innovation applied to public services seeks to make use of existing external knowledge, that is to say, to introduce innovative ideas, skills or technologies from businesses, start-ups, the self-employed/freelancers, students or researchers willing to support and strengthen innovation in public services. This methodology is already widely present in the private sector and with the GovTech Lab, it is making an entry into the Luxembourg public sector.
The missions of the GovTech Lab
The GovTech Lab has three missions in order to meet the objective pursued by the Ministry for Digitalisation and the CTIE.
Accelerating innovation in the Public Sector through calls for challenges and calls for solutions
This mission is twofold: on the one hand, it is a question of developing a culture of innovation within administrations through calls for challenges. Through such calls, a public administration can address concerns that could be improved or resolved by implementing innovative solutions (digital, technological or conceptual). On the other hand, once the Ministry for Digitalisation and the CTIE have identified a challenge proposed by one or more administrations, the Ministry for Digitalisation launches a call for solutions with the aim of collaborating with external actors, such as start-ups, researchers, self-employed persons, businesses and even students, etc. in order to develop innovative solutions.
Creating a GovTech community through the organisation of specialised events
The GovTech Lab complements the existing ecosystem of players who develop and promote innovative solutions. It is destined to become the platform par excellence for the exchange of digital needs, new technologies and innovative solutions within the State. To this end, transversal or specialised events will be organised both within the State and with external actors with the aim of developing a GovTech community in Luxembourg.
Becoming the reference and meeting place for State officials interested in GovTech
Eventually, the GovTech Lab will also have an innovative space in the new CTIE building, which will help to facilitate exchange and stimulate creativity between administrations and/or the CTIE teams in order to experiment with and test ideas.
Calls for solutions
For its calls for solutions, the Ministry for Digitalisation has opted to make the widest possible use of the innovation partnership, which allows for broader participation by external players thanks to a less restrictive public procurement procedure.
On average, the GovTech Lab intends to launch 2 calls for solutions a year. Depending on the complexity of the solution sought, the process in the GovTech Lab will take an average of 8 to 14 months.
The innovation partnership has the advantage of allowing to work in several stages:
- Launch of the call for solutions
- Submission of applications
- Selection by the jury of the applications that enter the prototyping phase
- Prototyping phase (prizes of 5,000 EUR - 10,000 EUR with a maximum of 5 solution providers)
- Prototype Demo Day before the jury
- POC phase (proof of concept - prizes of 15,000 EUR - 5,000 EUR with a maximum of 1 solution provider)
- Presentation of the POC
- After the POC phase and if it is selected by the CTIE, the solution can be purchased
A jury evaluates the applications at stages 3 and 5 of the process. It is composed of members of the Ministry for Digitalisation, the CTIE, the administration that put forward the challenge and external experts, chosen according to the subject of the call for solutions.