Singapore launched the Design 2025 plan to drive greater use of design and its principles in the public and private sectors.

The launch was accompanied by a report that recommends: “Increase the knowledge and practice of design thinking among public servants”. Design thinking principles encourage services to be designed around the end users’ needs.

The recommendations were made by a Design Masterplan Committee appointed by the government. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim has accepted the “broad recommendations” made in the report.

Design “will catalyse our use of technology and data in our path to becoming a Smart Nation, and encourage the same sense of experimentation and creation as in the Smart Nation Programme“, said Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, while launching the Design 2025 vision.

The Design 2025 report called for more standardised procurement of design services across the public sector.

A certain number of design companies could be pre-qualified to help government agencies procure smaller services quickly and easily, it says.

The government could develop a scheme to assist small design firms bid for government projects, it adds. Singapore already has a similar accreditation scheme to help tech startups get work from government.

Agencies should be encouraged to write outcome-based project briefs while tendering for design-intensive projects. The design aspect of proposals should be better evaluated, and shortlisted vendors should be given “fair” compensation for their time and effort.

The Singapore Government has already seen some success using design thinking. The Ministry of Manpower and Tan Tock Seng Hospital have both cut waiting times with better designed spaces and processes.

Singapore will set up a Design Promotion Unit to help businesses, including SMEs and MNCs, adopt design principles, as recommended in the report.

“I support the Design 2025 Masterplan recommendation for a single Design Promotion Unit to be set up within government to provide one-stop assistance for businesses who wish to scale up their use of design to achieve growth”, the Minister said.

Image from Minister Yaacob Ibrahim’s Facebook page.