GovTechies shine at PS21 ExCEL
The annual PS21 ExCEL Convention is a major calendar event for the Public Service in Singapore.
(Trivia fans, here’s a tip: ExCEL stands for Excellence through Continuous Enterprise and Learning!)
The convention recognises and celebrates innovation and creativity within the Public Service, and was held at ITE College Central on 10 and 11 November 2016.
And GovTechies were in the thick of the action throughout the two days.
The theme for 2016 was “Innovation. Productivity. Digital. Ready for the Future” — a rallying call to spur Government agencies to develop and implement innovative digital solutions in response to both present and future challenges.
Head of Civil Service, Mr Peter Ong, kicked off the Convention by sharing about excelling and delivering today, while being ready for the future, in his opening speech.
He highlighted three ways in which public officers could continue to cultivate an innovative culture in the Public Service, namely, Be Ready to Act; Dare to Try, and Lead the Change!
The next day was the inaugural Digital Government Conference.
The keynote speaker was none other than Mr Chan Cheow Hoe, Government Chief Information Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of GovTech.
He spoke about the future of the digital government, and the types of digital initiatives being implemented across the Public Service to serve citizens.
Mr Chan said that the public service needed the fundamental mindset shift of an outside-in approach – it’s about what our customers i.e. citizens demand of us.
He said: “Technology is about people. For the longest time, we haven’t thought of citizens as customers. We need to move towards a demand-driven approach, [as] there’s no point to do things people don’t care about.”
He pointed out that citizens just want their problems solved, and they are not concerned about which agency did so, adding: “Before the OneService app, making a complaint was difficult for citizens since they didn’t know the exact agency to go to.”
And collaboration and crowdsourcing with the community ala a ‘digital kampung’ approach, as seen in the myResponder app co-developed by the Singapore Civil Defence Force and GovTech, is one way to go.
Mr Chan said: “Government cannot solve all the problems. We need like-minded people to come together and help to solve problems.”
And on innovation, he had this one liner to share: “If everyone had to think outside the box, maybe it’s the box that needed fixing.”
GovTech also displayed several fun and interactive projects at the PS21 Convention Exhibition, joining 29 other booths showcasing the best and the brightest tech and creative ideas across the Public Service.
The key highlight was the Smart Nation Platform (SNP) Showcase, essentially a cool city model embedded with hidden content that could only be accessed using the SNP Augmented Reality (AR) app on a smartphone.
Yes, said content includes mini-games that would be familiar to anyone who’s played Pokemon Go.
The SNP will facilitate the sharing and analysis of sensor data collected by various government agencies. This helps to create situation awareness that supports policy-making and the smooth running of city services, as well as the delivery of Smart Nation applications for citizens.
The AR content allowed visitors to understand the technologies and capabilities of the SNP, by visualising how technology including autonomous vehicles and smart energy monitoring will improve our lives in the Smart Nation.
Apps such as Beeline (co-developed with the Land Transport Authority) and OneService (co-developed with the Municipal Services Office) were demonstrated on tablets.
(And this is the part where we thank our MSO colleagues for coming by to help out!)
There were also works-in-progress projects for visitors to touch-and-feel, such as GovBuy (an eBay-like platform that allows anyone to provide microservices, software libraries, non-critical bug fixes and more to government agencies) and an experimental online app that generates official paperless medical certificates that can be automatically sent via email.
The first day of the event included the PS21 ExCEL Convention Awards Ceremony, and several GovTechies shared in the honours.
Two GovTechies attached to other Government agencies, Mr Wee Wern Chau (Singapore Land Authority) and Mr Wong Hong Chew (State Courts), were among the Gold Innovation Champions.
Mr Steven Koh from Government Digital Services joined the ranks of the Bronze Innovation Champions.
Other GovTech-involved projects that won the Most Innovative Project Awards include the Work Pass Integrated System for Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) Transactions, the Digital Experience Design Sandbox, Sport SG’s “Project Team Nila”, MyInfo and the Ask Jamie virtual assistant for Whole of Government (WOG).
A big round of applause for the GovTechies and fellow Government agencies that deservedly won acclaim at the PS21 ExCEL Awards!