Case Study: An Employment Management System focused on the citizen

Alberto Rojas
MANATI | Agencia Web
4 min readApr 9, 2018


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Through agile, collaborative methodologies and Design Thinking we ideated an employment system accessible for everyone. During the process, we helped to implant the citizen centered approach in these government institutions.

Client: ILO & MTSS (Ministry of Labor and Social Security of Costa Rica)

User Personas were developed to benefit empathy of the working group.

Challenge: To design a system for the implementation of an innovative national employment model in Costa Rica.

Result: A system designed through the user centered approach, co created along with public officers.


The MTSS built the innovative Employment Management Model based on the National Strategy for Employment and Productive Development of the Government of Costa Rica. This new model works through 3 axis: labor demand, labor offer and quality of employment. The model works under the concept of “one stop shop” to improve the service it brings to the beneficiaries.


Even though the Ministry already implements programs and strategies to cover those axis, there were no articulation between programs, departments or services. Inside each of those, there is no efficient communication management or consolidated information. The resulting effects are duplicated processes, lack of coordination or functions and responsibilities.

We needed to know the services the Ministry provides, the current processes and how to improve them through the design of a new platform aligned with the new model

What we did

For the execution, we took a course of action based on Design Thinking collaborative methodologies. Because of the inclusion policies the need to assure the correct use of the employment system, these methodologies made a lot of sense inside the public sector.

The activities in the plan allowed us to:

  1. Identify where and when are the services offered, specifically in each department or program, through a service location planner.
  2. Generation of symbolic representations through User Personas, to determine the beneficiaries’ conduct patterns. This benefited empathy with each persona, understanding their necessities and opportunities.
  3. Establish the needs of the users, to structure and rank such information through an Affinity Diagram.
  4. All the processes were mapped with a Service Blueprint, including the Ministry officers, external institutions and the business sector, to identify the connection points at the moment of the service delivery.
  5. Collaborative ideation through Design Studio sessions, to rapidly prototype and iterate with a diversity of teams from several government institutions.
Design Studio workshops helped shape the features of the platform.

An innovative way to bridge the gap between employment and populations at risk

Working collaboratively with a variety of teams and Ministry officers, we co created a democratic and accesible platform.

The usable prototype was thoroughly tested through a variety of users and improved after the tests.

The resulting prototype was tested with a variety of users, including people with cognitive impairments who helped identify possible improvements to the platform. We confirmed the fact that the platform can facilitate the work of the employment managers and that it consolidates both the information and the communication for all the processes. We overcame duplicity and waste that is currently a high pain point of the Ministry.

With our help, this platform has the potential to positively impact access to employment for populations at risk and with that, improve the development of the Costa Rican society.


The methodologies used were very useful to ensure that a group of people from different institutions and even people from different departments in a single institution could understand that they had much more in common than they thought. All had the same goal and similar ways to try to reach it. All of them had users at the center of their work, with very clear needs and jointly built the service route, which is essential to seek the appropriation of the final product and the achievement of the objectives. Although the work has not finished, this was a great contribution.

Carla Rojas
Official from ILO
Office for Central America, Haiti, Panama and the Dominican Republic

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Alberto Rojas
MANATI | Agencia Web

Managing Partner at Manatí. A designer abducted by web developers that never turned back. Embracer of Open Source, helps build the web for human beings.