Innovations and Risk Taking: The Engine of Reform in Local Government in Latin America and the Caribbeanby Campbell Tim E. J.
This report summarizes a study by the Technical Department of the Latin America and the Caribbean region designed to deepen understanding of innovation in local government. The study documents 20 cases of best practice at the local level. Five cases were selected to broadly represent the complexity, sector, geography, and age of innovations. The cases are: (1) incorporation of the private sector in public management and services in Cali, Colombia; (2) an integrated transport system serving 75 percent of the city's passengers in Curitiba, Brazil; (3) an indigenous institute that professionalizes municipal staff in Manizales, Colombia; (4) a credit program involving intense grassroots participation in identifying and building infrastructure in Mendoza, Argentina; and (5) a city-wide referendum to affirm willingness to pay benefit levies to remake the flooded city of Tijuana, Mexico. Insights produced from the cases were: (1) agencies can help to stimulate leadership and encourage prospective risk-takers; (2) successful innovators engage local groups to sound out needs, get feedback, and gain their help in implementing small-scale projects; and (3) innovators restore ties between voter taxpayers and their governments. The report emphasizes the many opportunities to foster and deepen reform at the local level.
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