Getting to know you
It was an active discussion from start to finish.
Where bold questions were asked and honest responses given.
“A country where Wi-Fi is freely available, where there are driverless car, driverless trains, driverless buses, (where there is) automation of transport in general.”
This was one participant’s answer in response to a question we asked: ‘What does the Smart Nation mean to you?”
The lively discussions erupted on 22 March 2017 at TechChatSG, when some 30 GovTech fans and social media followers came, enjoyed and contributed to a two-hour long session of mutual sharing at GovTech HQ.
They were selected from an enthusiastic group of over 200 interested citizens who responded to various #TechChatSG social media posts, Tech Kaki outreach and the TechNews newsletter.
Aged between 25 and 62, the participants came from all walks of life and varying backgrounds, and armed with questions and suggestions.
And we are grateful that they came ready to share about technology, the Smart Nation, and how we can improve the quality of life in Singapore together.
When we asked, “What would you like Smart Nation to achieve for you?”, the answers came fast and furious — some verbally, some through post-it notes on flipcharts.
“An adaptive and responsive country. As demographics and people change, it should respond to our needs and understand what we need.”
And another participant suggested, to a round of spontaneous and enthusiastic applause: “What Smart Nation can do is to fix the pain-points of normal people, such as long waiting time at polyclinics. How can technology enable people to make use of their time better?”
The heart of a Citizen
This inaugural TechChatSG did not happen out of the blue.
Last October, we began our journey as GovTech with a strong promise to transform the delivery of government digital services by taking an “outside-in” view.
In essence, it simply means: We start by listening to you, our citizens!
We have been actively engaging our citizens through various channels — the TechNews portal on the website, GovTech social media posts, and the Tech Kaki community of GovTech of ‘kakis’ or friends who help us out with surveys on tech topics.
But we knew the best interactions happen face-to-face, and so it was time for our first public engagement session.
Ergo, TechChatSG, where citizens could give feedback to us in person.
And if anything, the heart-to-heart talk debunked the myth of the shy Singaporean who does not dare to ask questions.
We heard great feedback for improvement, such as “Be like Google! Have a main search bar to all government websites, know what we need, and show us the relevant information.”
To sum up, it was an insightful evening where we learned of some areas where we could do better and serve citizens better — for example, participants shared that more could be done to help senior citizens understand tech better, and that digital services should be designed to be easy-to-use for the elderly who are not tech-savvy.
We hear you, and we hoped that all the participants enjoyed the sharing as much as we did!
And now for more good news: If you would like to be part of future sessions TechChatSG, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you, and getting to know you better!