Digital Innovation and Belonging: Insights from Bogotá’s Care Blocks
June 25, 2024
Digital Innovation and Belonging: Insights from Bogotá’s Care Blocks
June 25, 2024

For unpaid caregivers, resident-centered innovation efforts made the difference in delivering critical social services. Digital Innovation Bogota Care Blocks

By Colin Murphy, Senior Writer

Digital Innovation of Bogotá’s Care Blocks

Bogotá, Colombia, has long been a model for delivering innovative public service and equity-focused resident care. Moreover, among the city’s innovative ways of supporting residents is its System of Care Blocks (Sistema Distrital del Cuidado or SIDICU). This network of care centers is dispersed throughout the city. Here, Bogotá’s millions of unpaid caregivers can access a wide array of social services. These range from water aerobics classes and resume-building workshops to legal counseling and childcare.

The success of Care Blocks presented the city with new challenges. These included streamlining the system’s registration and data collection processes. Additionally, there was a need to provide support staff with more time to provide programming and services. Digital Innovation Bogota Care Blocks

To address these needs, the city’s Digital Innovation team (i-team), Laboratorio de Innovación Pública de Bogotá (iBO), supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University (BCPI), applied public innovation methodology. In particular, the team focused on enhancing the user experience through digital tools.

In the case study examining this digital innovation through Care Blocks, BCPI researchers explore how the public innovation process empowered iBO. By leveraging digital tools to remove barriers, iBO thereby enhanced caregivers’ sense of social belonging and inclusion. Digital Innovation Bogota Care Blocks

What are Care Blocks?

Bogotá’s System of Care Blocks is a global model for how cities can effectively address equity challenges and improve resident well-being. The city’s nearly 8 million residents comprise 3.6 million caretakers, largely women, engaged in unpaid care work. 1.2 million of them do so full-time.

Moreover, by integrating services from 13 city entities into convenient spaces located in densely populated and accessible city zones, Care Blocks make it accessible for caregivers to take care of their own well-being.  Meanwhile, they can trust that their loved ones are looked after. Thus, this holistic approach promotes personal development, improved psychosocial health, economic mobility, and civic participation. It benefits both caregivers and communities as a whole. Consequently, in recognition of this innovative approach, Bogotá won the 2022 Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge.

For a deeper dive into Bogotá’s innovation journey to support access to services through Care Blocks and to explore the methodology that drove its success, download BCPI’s full case study “Public Innovation: Digital Transformation for the Care Blocks in Bogotá” today.

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