Public entities, citizens, profit companies
Innovation in the public sector
The LabX – Centre for Innovation in the Public Sector is a government innovation lab included in Portugal’s Administrative Modernization Agency (AMA) and operates in Portuguese territory. LabX was launched in 2017 as a laboratory for the public sector and experimentation, a safe space where experiment public services are focusing on the needs and expectations of citizens and enterprises, basing it on the real needs of users and technological and economic feasibility.
The purpose is to contribute to the innovation ecosystem in Public Administration, promoting the renewal of public services suitable to the real needs of citizens and companies. To achieve this objective, LabX’s team work to engage citizens, businesses and decision-makers (government), promoting a culture of ideas exchange and co-creation, involving them in the process of interpreting real needs/opportunities for the design of new services and redesigning existing services.
In 2021, LabX became the “Centre for Innovation in the Public Sector”, thanks to the government that decided to institutionalise it and allow it to improve its work and the resources for delivering the value. Today it works under a mandate from the government and all public entities (at national, regional, and local levels), with broad autonomy but a constant confrontation with the Secretary of State.
LabX, in its first five years, faced several challenges and difficulties: for instance, the reluctance and disbelief of entities and public officials to collaborate on projects that could be transformative for public administration or the time taken to purchase goods and services and the implementation of pilot projects. But thanks to accumulated experience, LabX has been able to improve services, implement projects, and adapt initiatives to the ecosystem: 25 projects between 2017 and 2020 have been implemented, involving more than 10.000 citizens and more than 2.000 civil servants. In the same years, Regarding the involvement of the public sector, LabX has been able to work with more than 165 public entities, engage 165 partners, and work with several different government sectors: from health to justice and finance. In the next years, the project is expected to continue to be able to sensitise, empower and transform public entities to focus on the real needs of citizens and companies, using a participatory approach to service design to create better suited to the real needs of the target audience services.