Aspire to Innovate, or a2i, is a special programme of the Government of Bangladesh that catayzes citizen-friendly public servic innovations simplifying government and bringing it closer to people. It supports the government to be on the forefront of integrating new, whole-of-society approaches to achieve the SDGs.
Ideas that make us Ecstatic:
The primary goal of a2i is to ensure easy, affordable and reliable access to quality public services for all citizens of Bangladesh. Our strategy is:
- 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.
Simplifying life's many challenges with Innovation & Results
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
How our model can change a country
"a2i drives the creation of a public service innovation ecosystem and delivery infrastructure working closely with the Cabinet Division and local administration."
a2i’s unique, simple and powerful model revolves around:
- Cultivating ‘Empathy’
- Reducing ‘TCV’
- Simplifying through ‘SPS’
- Supporting innovation through ‘Service Innovation Fund’
- Celebrating innovators with ‘Innovation Summits’
- Establishing delivery platforms enabling ‘Services for All’
Our 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 400,000 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 5,865+ Digital Centers - one within 4 km of every citizen in Bangladesh – now deliver over 150 services – both public and private – to an average 6.5 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 would require multiple trips to the district government office 40 km away are now available at the nearby Digital Centre within a walking distance of 4km of every citizen. On an average, time to receive services has come down by 65%, cost by 73% and the number of visits by 51%. A study over a period of 6 years reveals that simplification and digitization saved citizens of Bangladesh 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 Government of Maldives and several other southern nations have invited the a2i team to help them establish their own innovation hub based largely on a2i’s knowledge, models, and methodologies. It is a great example of Bangladesh’s leadership in South -South cooperation.