How Mexico does the hard work to make things simple

    Here’s the third film we shot at the Harvard event earlier this year. It’s another wonderful short story of a team doing the hard work to make things simple.

    In Mexico, it used to be very difficult to get a replacement for a lost or damaged birth certificate. People had to physically travel back to the state they were born in, apply for a replacement certificate, and wait.

    In this film, Yolanda Martínez, the National Digital Strategy Coordinator at MexicoDigital, explains how a central government team handled logistical and financial relationships with 32 different state government teams, in order to make the new digital birth certificate replacement service a success.

    The team in Mexico has made huge progress in very little time. Yolanda is a dynamic and inspiring leader, and we greatly enjoyed hearing the stories she had to tell when we got together in Cambridge in the summer.


    Birth certificates is our number 1 exemplar service, it’s an end-to-end interoperable service available in

    It was a very challenging integration, because birth certificates is a local service, and in Mexico we are a federation.

    That means that the states have their own regulation on digital services. So first it required a lot of political will, and then it was a process of developing digital capacity within 32 different technical teams in each of the states.

    And then to deal with 32 different Ministries of Finance, because the money that you collect from the birth certificates goes to each different bank account from each of the states.

    So now you can get a birth certificate in minutes, you pay online, you can print your birth certificate on a napkin if you want to, and it’s valid. Because it as an electronic signature, it has a QR system, it has a number than you can go into, you put the number and you get confidence that it’s a valid document.

    And more and more we’re working with government agencies to not even ask for the document, because they can interoperate.