The building a political laboratory’s fields of work can take many directions. It can focus on nudging behavior, developing services, facilitating the civil service in working more innovative, or something completely different. One thing is certain: You must choose one focus to start from.
A political laboratory is not a wishing fountain, where the solutions to all public issues can be found. A focused common understanding of how one intends to strengthen its government or public services, is the essential foundation, which a functional, creative and healthy political laboratory should built on.
G˙NOVA is only a few months old, and it was therefore a good time for MindLab’s Brazilian employee, Isabella Brandalise, to interview all the employees and people with direct contact to the lab. This way, insights was gained in what expectations, worst-case scenarios, and ambitions are related to being part of the new lab. The interviews form the platform for how MindLab best support G˙NOVA’s work. Part of the two-year agreement between the Danish and the Brazilian government is that MindLab will help build the capacity of the new political lab. With MindLab’s experience and thorough knowledge of the methods, G˙NOVA can use MindLab as a shortcut in order to quickly begin the real work with the Brazilian civil service.
Based on the collected insights, MindLab’s director, Thomas Prehn, held a three-day workshop with all employees in G˙NOVA, which aimed to concretize the lab’s mission and train employees in user involvement and ethnographic research.
G˙NOVA will together with the Brazilian Ministry of Planning, Budget, and Management develop digital solutions for the public sector. Therefore, it is important that G˙NOVA know their users: the employees of the Ministry. The practical training, was focused on interviewing the employees of the ministry, creating pattern recognition, themes and drawing future scenarios for what the cooperation should contain. Ultimately, it all was boiled down to a phrase that in a provisional way is G˙NOVA’s mission: opening up government by creating solutions with the citizens and private sector for public value.