Open Government of Catalonia (AOC) is a public digital agency with the mission to foster the digital transformation of the 2.200 public administrations of Catalonia (Spain).

The challenges

  • Data is the new oil of the 21st Governments have a huge amount of citizen information but they are not taking advantage of it to provide better services.
  • New generations expectations are much higher than in the past. Some of the demands are to improve customization, proactivity, usability, trust and cross-government approach.
  • Public services are usually developed to meet the administration interests. Governments must use co-design methodologies putting citizens at the center when designing the services so that they fulfill the citizen needs and expectancies

The goal

We applied all the previous ideas to one specific project which tried to respond to the following question: How can Governments provide a personalized, proactive and trustworthy relationship to citizens by using their personal data while respecting privacy regulations?

A citizen usually has three questions about their information: what is the status of my applications? which of my personal data do governments have? and what are governments doing with my personal data? These questions are currently being answered from a cross-government point of view by some of the most advanced governments in the world .

In this sense, it is paramount to respond to the following question “what can governments do for me? In other words, how can governments move from a reactive and standard service practice to a user centric, proactive and customized approach?”

Taking all these issues into account, the ultimate aim of this project was to develop a solution, called MyGov, that accomplishes all the previous requirements.

Methodology and process

The project included the following phases:

  • Legal evaluation: we validated that it is possible to conduct data science analysis according to the European Union legal framework, if we anonymize the personal data, making sure that there are no direct or indirect ways to identify a specific person.
  • Data science analysis: we arrived to the following preliminary conclusions:
    • Little data: AOC holds a large amount of public records but only a small fraction of them is relevant to define citizen profiles
    • One of the areas for which AOC holds larger and most relevant data is “citizens with social needs”. It was decided that this group would be our target early adopters.
    • Mobile-first: citizen with social demands do not have a good internet connection and a PC at home, but most of them have a smartphone. So, we decided to make MyGov a mobile-first solution.
  • Research: we conducted an extensive research in the public and the private sector, inspired by some solutions in the banking industry.
  • Co-design: we carried out several co-design activities:
    • An online open innovation challenge with public employees to manage collective creativity.
    • A design thinking workshop with public employees.
    • Several co-design workshops with citizens to define archetypes and identify their expectations by using design thinking techniques. In these workshops we also identified the citizen journey using ethnographic methodologies; and co-created the main functionalities of the solution.
  • Prototype: from the previous results we developed a minimum viable product to be tested by the users.
  • Validation with end users: we made new iterative versions of the prototype according to the feedback and validation of the end users.

The final prototype

The final prototype done using Invision is the following:

Validation by end users

We have successfully validated the final prototype with end users (citizens and social public employees) and we have compiled the expected benefits.

  • For citizens: empowerment through increased transparency related to citizen’s data, increased confidence, increased satisfaction, time saving and reduced anxiety and stress as citizens know all their entitled benefits.
  • For governments: better valuation of government services by citizens, making sure social benefits are provided to the citizens in need, savings in time and administrative tasks and increased satisfaction of public employees.

Next steps

After several prototypes developed using a mock-up tool, now we are currently developing the solution that will go into production.


  • Miquel Estapé – Deputy CEO of the Open Government of Catalonia
  • Anna Forment – Manager of Everis
  • Francisco García-Moran – Former Director General of IT at European Commission and EU Fellow at UC Berkely

Written by Miquel Estapé

Miquel Estapé is a civil servant, passionate about driving the digital government transformation and to foster public innovation for the common good within an open society. He is an open-minded person, always eager to learn. He brings over 20 years of professional experience delivering digital transformation and innovation projects with a broad executive experience in government and working in consulting firms for several industries. Currently, he is Deputy Director of the Open Government of Catalonia and Vice-president of the Public Management of Catalonia Association. He has been eBusiness Director of Mazars Consulting, Major of la Roca del Vallès town hall and Vice-president of the Vallès Oriental county hall. He is a Telecommunications Engineer by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the University of London. He has done several executive education programs in IESE, University of Navarra.

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