Costa Rica


Alicia Borja Rodríguez


78,000 (2020)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Irene García

Innovation is helping to:
  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Understand environmental challenges and plan ahead

  • Complement existing education programs led by the central government

Critical success factors:
  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Dedicated funding

  • Culture of innovation in city

Spotlight on innovation in Curridabat

Curridabat uses a design-thinking approach to modernize antiquated systems, with a focus on conservation and climate change. Its Monitoring System for Ecosystem Services Improvement is a tool developed with a local research center that guides the city in assessing 26 indicators of ecosystem quality. Findings help inform budget decisions and achieve urban environment goals. In 2013, the mayor of Curridabat created the city’s first innovation team comprised of professionals from several different backgrounds. As of 2020, the position of Chief Innovation Official is located within the mayor’s office.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Curridabat has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Curridabat approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Curridabat is focused on

Environment and climate change

Environment and climate change: Curridabat has created a development vision which prioritizes biodiversity. Curridabat is a "Sweet City" that strives to be a pollinator-friendly territory. Ecosystem services and coexistence between people and nature are at the forefront of their work.

Waste, sanitation, sewage: Waste management strategies seek to maximize composting and achieve zero-waste standards. The municipality works in order to tend to any kind of necessity their citizenry comes across in terms of waste disposal.

Policy areas by number of cities

Curridabat utilizes 1 innovation skill or role

Innovation roles by number of cities

Situated within the Mayor’s Office, Curridabat’s dedicated innovation team consists of 3 staff.

Terms Curridabat most associates with innovation

Human-centered design

Curridabat's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Engaging residents in new ways
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
Facilitating organizational change within the municipality
e.g. silo-busting; new internal performance management; staff training and capacity building on innovation tools or techniques; reforms to contracting or procurement
Human-centered design
e.g. prioritizing the end-user at each stage of the design process
Rethinking approaches to financing and partnerships
e.g. new public-private-partnerships; collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

How is innovation funded here?

Like 19% of cities surveyed, Curridabat does not have dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Curridabat has no reported sources of funding.

Activities being funded

Curridabat does not fund any specific activities.

47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

*"Training staff and building capacity" is not an option in the 2018 survey, while "Launching or sustaining a project" is not an option in the 2020 survey.

How is innovation measured?

Curridabat has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with academia and think tanks to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Land use

Built environment

Social welfare/social services

Insufficient data

Economic Development

Policing and law enforcement


Labour market and skills



Social inclusion and equity

Digital governance



Waste and sewage

Public works

Environment and climate change


No Response


Policing and law enforcement