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IDB launches ideas lab to promote development through digital platforms

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched, an ideas lab for new digital tools that brings citizens closer to their governments and promotes a more transparent and inclusive form of governing. has several initiatives already underway, including, and The ideas on improving public sector management are rolled out and tested and, once consolidated, transferred to third parties.

The ideas lab is supported by several Latin American governments: Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Chile and the Dominican Republic. The Organization of American States (OAS) is also participating in the venture.

Public administrations worldwide are beginning to experiment in forms of governing with participatory tools such as hackathons, online voting to propose and prioritize public investment projects, social media and the use of smartphones to help citizens communicate their needs to government officials.

“Citizens labs are a physical and virtual space where citizens and officials can generate new solutions to all types of social needs,” said Carlos Santiso, chief of the Institutional Capacity of the State division at the IDB, which created in collaboration with the IDB´s Gender and Diversity division. “We seek to jointly find new solutions and room for innovation, so governments can be more efficient, effective and open.”

Latin Americans are the world’s most active users of social media that – together with apps, mobile services and other information and communications technology solutions – are valuable alternatives to promote new ways of conceiving of development, modernization of the state and improvements in the quality of citizen services.

The services that offers to governments and civil society include the investigation, development and implementation of applications with high value added over several citizen participation platforms. Together with governments, has launched (where citizens bring their ideas on how to improve government practices), (where inhabitants of afrodescendent communities present project ideas and priorities), and virtual collaborative manuals (, among others.

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