How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation. 

I am a Senior Deputy Director from GovTech’s Services Group currently deployed at the Ministry  of Social and Family Development (MSF). At MSF, I lead the Social Service Sector ICT (SSICT) master plan, implementing technology solutions for social service transformation to support proactive, coordinated, and integrated service delivery.

Amidst COVID-19, there has been an unprecedented increase for social service support and  applications for government assistance schemes. To meet demands, we continued to scale and innovate our social services delivery capabilities to support communities in need.

We have  been progressively rolling out solutions to digitalise social service delivery such as online channels  for self-help (www.supportgowhere.gov.sg), platforms to support outreach by volunteers to tap  on the community (One Service App, Help Neighbour) and coordinating interventions across  agencies (GatherSG).

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?

We started development on a food database and directory to improve coordination and efficiency  in the charity food support sector. The directory consolidates a list of food support organisations  in Singapore on a common platform, allowing members of the public or social service agencies to search for food support based on location or dietary requirements.

The database will  improve the matching of individuals who have food needs with food support organisations, by pulling together data of food support provided and identifying areas where food support efforts could be directed or redirected from. A prototype is slated for release by early 2022. By implementing these solutions, we can help Singapore’s charity food organisations improve distribution efficiency, minimise food waste and give families dignity of choice in receiving food support.

What is one unexpected learning from 2021? 

2021 presented challenges that put us in a place to have to think out of the box for solutions and  set new benchmarks in terms of speed of change required to deliver new capabilities. For example,  when we had to quickly create digital and online applications for the Covid-19 Recovery Grant  Temporary (CRG-T) – which provides temporary financial support for lower to middle-income workers who had been financially impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

My team implemented the  digital service to enable online applications for this grant in a few weeks. Looking back, I learnt how to better deal with the unexpected and keep an open mindset to adapt new ways of working in these uncertain times.

What’s your favourite memory from the past year? 

Following the Tokyo Olympics games and witnessing athletics endeavours such as Singapore’s  table tennis player Yu Mengyu’s gritty resilience, fighting spirit and courage in her journey is a  favourite memory for me in 2021. While she did not win any medal, her resolute fighting spirit  despite odds against her is so inspiring.

What’s a tool or technique you’re excited to explore in 2022? 

In 2022, I am excited to deepen the use of data science to identify patterns and trends, extract  data-driven insights and develop smart platforms that help improve the delivery of social services  and ultimately support government policy outcomes.

What are your priorities for 2022? 

Key priorities I will be focusing on includes: (1) Making services more accessible to citizens through  self-service channels, (2) Modernising solutions and transforming ways of working to enable  possibilities for agile delivery (3) Deepening and leveraging on data intelligence for more targeted  support, and (4) Finding ways to introduce proactive technology to complement the social work industry which has traditionally been a “high human touch” industry.

Who are the mentors and heroes that inspire you? 

Lifted from one of his speeches “There is a glorious rainbow that beckons those with a spirit of  adventure. And there are rich findings at the end of that rainbow. To the young and not so old, I  say look at that horizon, follow that rainbow, go ride it. Not all will be rich, quite a few will find a  vein of gold, dig it out.” I grew up listening to Mr Lee Kuan Yew speeches in a generation that benefited from our education system and meritocracy in society. This quote from him inspired me  to chase my aspirations, seek higher goals, and to be the best version of myself.

What gets you up in the morning? 

Being able to do something positive every day. I am privileged to be working on the MSF Social  Service Sector ICT (SSICT) master plan to use technology to better the lives of Singaporeans and uplift those in need. This mission gets me up and going.