Leaders and public service officials gathered to celebrate the GovInsider Innovation Awards Ceremony 2019 at the United Nations in Bangkok on 16 October.

The Awards recognised the work done by extraordinary leaders, teams and projects that have made significant contributions across the public sector. They were presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Sikhanyiso, Principal Princess of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Minister of Information & Communication Technology and Honorable Senator, and Jonathan Wong, Chief of Technology & Innovation at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific.

The Winners

The project awarded Best Adaptation is Desa Digital (Digital Village), initiated by Jabar Digital Service (JDS), the technical unit within the West Java ICT Agency. This project aimed to close the rural-urban digital divide in Indonesia by using IoT technology to improve farming, fishery, stockbreeding and other industries.

However, many villages lacked network infrastructure to support the IoT adaptation. JDS introduced 600 satellites and set up digital literacy programmes for villagers. The team was quick in implementing solutions for the challenges that came up along the way, and this project has inspired local startups to expand their businesses into rural regions.

The award for Best Citizen Engagement Project went to Access 2 Information (A2I)’s ‘333’ project in Bangladesh. This is a central helpline for all government information, services and grievance redress.

This initiative filled the gap for a centralised, voice call-based platform for government-citizen interaction. In a country where 60% of its citizens do not have access to the Internet, ‘333’ makes government services much more accessible. Since it was inaugurated in April 2018, ‘333’ has helped more than 3.3 million citizens with finding government information and solved more than 2000 railway service complaints.

The Jabar Digital Service (JDS) at West Java ICT Agency in Indonesia was recognised as the Best Team Under 35. The team is made up of 60 young professionals equipped with the drive, experience and digital skills necessary in accelerating the government’s digitalisation and improving public service delivery through innovation.

Some of their milestone projects include ‘Sapawarga’, a one-portal application for accessing public information and services, and provide feedback directly to the government; and the Digital Village programme, which focuses on increasing digital literacy in Indonesia’s rural regions.

The National Informatics Centre of India won Best Use of UI and UX Design with S3WaaS (Secure, Scalable & Sugamya Website as a Service). This is a framework for generating government websites that deliver information about government services, and it features a standardised user-friendly interface for over 600 district websites, allowing citizens to navigate, access and understand multilingual information with minimal effort. This is especially important in a country with diverse geographical, cultural and language backgrounds.

The websites generated using the S3WaaS framework offer 18 languages and can be accessed on any device. Government officials can also easily customise the layout and look of their websites by shifting different components around on the web-page.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) received the award for Best Use of Data with its Adaptive Analytics to regulate the hiring of foreigners. MOM used advanced data science techniques and machine learning to identify companies that were not complying with levy laws or paying workers less.

The project allowed a finer distinction between high-risk companies who were deliberately flouting the laws and low-risk companies who were committing the offence due to ignorance. MOM could then adjust penalties accordingly.

The award for the Best Drones and Robotics Project was given to Public Service Division’s (PSD) Singapore Public Service Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Pilot Programme. This programme aimed to facilitate the deployment of RPA in different processes within the nation’s public service.

Through RPA, Singapore’s public service was able to re-engineer processes to improve teams’ efficiency. It also helped in reskilling employees and increasing productivity. For example, the onboarding process of new employees has been cut short by 90%. Additionally, to ensure a smooth uptake of RPA, PSD conducted workshops and training programmes for participating agencies.

Singapore’s Home Team Academy won Best Risk for the Home Team Simulation System (HTS2), a training platform for providing realistic training in incident and crisis management. HTS2 is the first in the world to incorporate virtual simulations in live training by replicating a physical HT command post setting with 3D visuals. Training scenarios are modelled after real-life settings, such as the Trump-Kim summit, to provide a realistic experience of the dynamic escalation of incidents.

The complexity of the training scenarios can be easily scaled according to training objectives. Exercises can also be conducted at the Home Team Simulation Centre more frequently with lesser resources required, and HT officers of all levels can undergo training at the same time.

The Mandalay City Development Committee was named Rising Star. Mandalay was able to address a wide range of urban challenges with the use of emerging technologies.

To reduce water wastage from pipe leaks, Mandalay installed IoT sensors to detect leaks early. The city committee also introduced smart identity cards for residents to facilitate data collection and has started taking a digital census on mobile phones. Garbage trucks in the city have been installed with GPS, sensors and automatic mechanisms for emptying garbage bins. On top of that, schools are conducting training programmes to teach how to separate solid waste and the consequences of throwing garbage outside of bins.

Ridwan Kamil, the Governor of West Java, Indonesia, won the title of Inspirational Leader. His initiatives to improve public service delivery have attracted international recognition in the use of innovative and unique approaches.

He has a vision to turn West Java into a “Digital Province”. The governor’s office has launched a blueprint with more than 700 programmes that will be launched over the next five years across the province, including innovations in agriculture and education.

The Governor is engaging citizens to collect feedback for civil servants’ performance through a province-wide public complaints app. Introduced in late 2018, citizens can submit their feedback on public services to provincial officials directly.

The Awards were judged by a panel including:

Siim Sikkut – GCIO, Prime Minister’s Office, Estonia
Emma Gawen – Partner, Public Digital, United Kingdom
Tamsin Greulich-Smith – Chief, Smart Health Leadership Centre, Singapore
Joshua Chambers – Founder, GovInsider

For more information, contact Nurfilzah Rohaidi at filzah@govinsider.asia.