Access to Information, Prime Minister’s Office
a2i is the world’s first Innovation Lab+. Its primary goal is to ensure easy, affordable and reliable access to quality public services for all citizens of Bangladesh. Our strategy is to:
Empower civil servants with the tools, expertise, knowledge and resources they need for experimenting and innovating citizen-centric solutions to public service challenges;
Establish both physical and online one-stop access points that scale innovative services and make them available to citizens easily, reliably and in an affordable manner;
Encourage and support non-government actors, including small entrepreneurs, teachers and the youth, to partner with government actors.
In Bangladesh, citizens have to travel long distances, often multiple times, incur high costs and endure considerable delays and hassle to access public services. Meanwhile, the government has to spend substantial amounts in administrative and transaction costs because of archaic, paper-based, manual processes.
Moreover, the centralized, hierarchical nature of decision making means that officers at the mid and field levels do not usually get the opportunity to offer innovative ideas to improve services and their delivery systems. They also lack the tools and resources to experiment with potential solutions.
A2i’s work has empowered thousands of civil servants to redesign services in a citizen-centric manner and launch ‘Innovation Projects’ around the country, especially at the field level. And over 100,000 civil servants and thousands of Digital Centre Entrepreneurs have been trained to implement e-services centrally created by many ministries with facilitation from a2i.
The 5,000+ Digital Centres and the National Portal uniting 43,000+ government offices now deliver over 100 services – both public and private – to an average 4.5 million underserved citizens at a much lower ‘TCV’ (the time, cost and number of visits it takes citizens to access services) than before. Services that previously required multiple trips to the district government office 20-30 km away are now available at the nearby Digital Centre within a walking distance of 3 km. On an average, time to receive services has come down by 85%, cost by 63% and the number of visits by 40%. A study of 23 services over a period of 6 years reveals that simplification and digitization saved citizens over half a billion dollars. a2i has supported numerous evidenced-based policy reform initiatives to enable and sustain many of these changes.
Bangladesh’s leadership in public service innovation is being recognized internationally. The Governments of Maldives, Bhutan and a2i have established a learning partnership to facilitate the development of their own Innovation Lab+, a great example of South-South Cooperation.
Bangladesh Brand Forum
It recent years, it has become more and more evident that the brand – whether in the corporate, service, product or not-for-profit sector – is the most important asset for any organization. It is estimated that one third of the world’s wealth can be accounted for by brands.
Despite its perceived significance in the global corporate world, Bangladeshi companies are yet to fully realize the benefits of the wielding brand power. Most products in Bangladesh are in unbranded and highly price sensitive. In contrast, a brand mindset always focuses on offering more value and not on price only; it is all about standing for something unique in the minds of the consumer. In this light, Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF) envisions: “Transforming Bangladesh through applying Branding Ethos among local corporate”.
When these local corporations are driven by branding ethos 3 major shifts take place:
1. Long Term Focus: A long-term focus adds new dimensions (e.g. social responsibility, environmental concern) to the way business is driven
2. Value Creation: Through constant focus on value creation, corporations begin to appreciate creativity, innovation & other intangibles
3. Focus on Delivery: Corporations begin to realize that delivering and often exceeding the promise is more important than the promise itself
With the WTO regime and the reshaping of the global economic order to address the ever dynamic ultra-competitive world, only a truly robust economy can transform a developing nation like Bangladesh, which to a large extent is driven by local corporates. It is evident that this transformation that Bangladesh requires cannot take place through mere government intervention or the sole effort of the private sector. Rather it requires multi-dimensional initiatives by all parties, facilitated by government support. In addition, the effort must entail multifaceted activities that are essential to foster both a smooth transition towards sustainable growth under stiff competition and to enhance the image of country as well. Some key areas that require attention are in this light include:
Focus on knowledge, creativity and innovation
Appreciation of quality of standards, employee enrichment, and corporate professionalism
Appreciation of intangibles resulting in societal empowerment and strengthening of national identity
Integrating economic, social, technological, and political vision to focus on sustainability and growth