September 22, 2023

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The importance of putting “people” at the heart of innovation – governments should empower their citizens in this digital world

The importance of putting “people” at the heart of innovation – governments should empower their citizens in this digital world

Modern technology has initiated pronounced changes in myriad sectors, including finance and banking, property and retail. Naturally, there is pressure for governments and related agencies to stay ahead and empower citizens to take advantage of this revolution. “Smart government” is no longer just a buzzword used in White Papers and political debate and, instead, is now accepted as necessary to address economic challenges and improve the lives of everyday citizens. However, in the midst of delivering breakthrough innovations and driving a digital narrative, governments must not lose sight of the purpose of these innovations, which is to empower citizens and improve quality of life

A report by Accenture revealed that there is a gap between what citizens want from a digital government and the services that are currently available. Therefore, it is imperative for governments to introduce sound strategies to improve citizen services, streamline their functions, and ultimately close the gap between what citizens expect and what is being delivered. In essence, policy makers must ensure that the well-being of citizens is at the centre of their smart nation transitions.

Facilitate easier access to the Internet

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 9 is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. It is true that digital transformation cannot happen without a robust infrastructure. By scaling up public access to the Internet, everyone can enjoy the benefits of connectivity. For example, governments can set up more free WiFi-zones or provide subsidised mobile data for low-income families. Having said that, creating more access points to the Internet is not the end-all solution for digital exclusion. Governments must promote greater digital literacy amongst its citizens too.

Help citizens navigate the digital world

Enabling citizens to leverage the Internet and equipping them with core skills to stay relevant in the digital economy is equally as important as providing access to the Internet. In fact, re-skilling and up-skilling its citizens has been a key focus for the Singapore government to ensure that professionals here remain globally competitive. For example, Singapore’s Digital Proficiency Program helps achieve that goal by providing a framework to acquire and develop digital skills (from foundation to advanced skills); and provides a roadmap towards continuous learning. Raising awareness of and supporting these education programmes will drive greater digital adoption and innovation.

Innovate with the intended audience in mind  

Leaders need to know how to leverage technology to innovate, fail fast and drive value in society, while navigating a volatile and uncertain digital environment. Policy makers and administrators need to embrace the “entrepreneur DNA” and take calculated risks that will eventually lead to unconventional and innovative solutions that can meet the needs of the public. Considering that citizens are mobile-optimised, it makes sense to leverage on this platform. Take the myResponder App as an example – a collaboration between the Singapore Civil Defence Force and then Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to save lives and increase the survival rate for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac arrest. Another example is the Healthy 365 App which relies on data analytics to track and monitor a person’s health.


While governments around the world are beginning to embrace technologies to sustain and improve their citizen services, it is important for us to examine the real impacts these innovations are bringing to the table. Governments and their related agencies must continue to create more opportunities for citizens to be connected. There must be ample platforms for citizens to learn and to align their skillset with the demands of a new digital economy. Finally, governments need to innovate fearlessly and take calculated risks when necessary. In this way, they can ensure that no citizen is left behind in the pursuit of a new digital world.  


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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