The Public Administration School of the UCR created the Collaborative Laboratory of Public Innovation (Innovaap), which has become a university platform to collaborate with various actors of society in the search for solutions to public challenges and improvement in the user experience in procedures and services.

Innovaap develops methodologies that allow unifying methods, data usage, big data and user focus in an agile way, through the development of accessible tools and high impact for society.

According to Angélica Vega Hernández, coordinator of Inoovaap, it is a support platform that accompanies the organizations that require it in their implementation processes, in such a way that they increase the probability of success of the projects they develop.

This laboratory, created in 2017, has its origins in a project of the Public Administration School of the UCR, under the name of Public Idea, whose purpose was to apply good practices of innovation in youth. From there, activities were carried out with the Montes de Oca municipality and schools of San Pedro.

In these activities the interest of social organizations and actors of local spaces in this type of methodology was evidenced, so in 2017 it was registered in the Vice-rectory of Social Action as a laboratory, which allowed to incorporate knowledge and lessons learned in related topics with open government, big data, agile methodologies, transparency and development of projects with civil society.

Innovaap has an enormous relevance, since it is the first of its kind in Costa Rica that has the characteristics of a fivefold helix in the innovation theme and that accompanies the various sectors to promote their projects.

Development of actions

For Angélica Vega Hernández, of Innovaap, the value proposal of the laboratory focuses on three essential areas, one of which is the positioning of a public innovation approach, based on improving the user experience in the provision of public services.

“Another element is to create from a collaborative approach, offering the knowledge of teachers and students for innovation projects, as well as the facilities of the UCR for training and coordination. As a counterpart, public organizations contribute the costs of food, transportation, materials and all those that are essential for the achievement of the proposed objectives, being clear that Innovaap does not request payment for professional services or assistance, “said Vega.

Additionally, the laboratory has as an action focus the promotion of the use of data for decision making and the design of public policies based on evidence, this is achieved through international coordination networks, with the opening of public data and improvement of the use of this data.

As the position of Innovaap expands, it will be possible to increase the space for the participation of professors and students of the entire UCR and its regional headquarters.

María Nuñez Chacón

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