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May 2022

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MIT Governance Lab Associate Director of Innovation visits DSTI

Carlos Centeno, MIT Governance Lab’s (MIT GOV/LAB) Associate Director of Innovation got a first-hand look at the work being done by several partners in the public sector seeking to implement innovation in the governance structure. These engagements were facilitated by the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation(DSTI).

Centeno’s recently concluded week-long (16th-20th May 2022) visit was centred on strengthening the existing partnership between the MIT Governance Lab and DSTI, whilst examining the implementation models of governance interventions currently ongoing with the National Revenue Authority (NRA), and Office of the Administrator and Registrar General (OARG). The visit also explored the possibility of furthering the partnership between MIT GOV/LAB & the governance innovation community (within the public sector) by deploying a designer from the research lab to work closely with institutions such as DSTI, Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education(MBSSE), the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS),  and Freetown City Council (FCC).

MIT GOV/LAB, in collaboration with DSTI, had designed a two-week Governance Innovation Bootcamp in 2021 which provided an opportunity for 25 public servants from various government Institutions to learn and apply the MIT Gov/Lab Methodology to develop an innovative approach to solving governance challenges and spark a culture of innovation within governance in Sierra Leone. 

Welcoming him, DSTI’s COO, Michala Mackay, commended MIT for its continued support to Sierra Leone’s economic recovery and in particular, their support to DSTI through the Governance Innovation Project which is currently being implemented to provide accelerated services to approximately 7 plus  million Sierra Leoneans. 

“Accelerated Governance continues to face cultural barriers, bureaucratic delays, financial constraints among others. These are obstacles to achieving a whole of government approach to quality service delivery. The Governance Innovation Project is proof we can defy the odds, regardless”, Mackay explained.

Mackay told the Associate Director that DSTI is currently dialoguing with other strands of government to see how lessons drawn from Governance Innovation Project can be funnelled into other areas of development.

Making his statement, Centeno mentioned that the DSTI has been very cooperative in finding lasting solutions to problems affecting governance. He stressed that this commitment is an early hopeful sign of a prosperous future where technology can increase its responsiveness to citizens’ needs.

“We’re very interested in how DSTI is able to operate in a complex environment where technology can serve as a catalyst for positive change in the relationship between citizens and government.” He added “In that sense, we’re researching DSTI’s work at a deeper level, hoping to understand better how governance innovation works.   

Carlos met with different team leads at DSTI to form a more detailed insight about the work culture, challenges and ongoing projects. His week-long visit ended on a high note with an informal meeting with the Chief Innovation Officer. They spent time discussing innovative approaches across all sectors and how to untangle some of the problems faced. The several engagements were geared towards paving the way for meaningful steps to complement the existing dialogue for developing governance resources in Sierra Leone.

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