Best Government Agencies in Asia Announced

Innovative public sector teams from across Asia were recognised on 27 September.

Winners of the GovInsider Innovation Awards 2016 were announced on 27 September at Innovation Labs World. The Awards were judged by an international panel:
  • Siim Sikkut, Digital Policy Advisor, Estonian Prime Minister’s Office;
  • Karen Delafield, CIO, HM Treasury and Cabinet Office, United Kingdom;
  • Tuty Kusumawati, Head of Jakarta Regional Development Planning Board;
  • Stuart Smith, Chief of Service Innovation and Design, National University of Singapore, Institute of Systems Science;
  • Joshua Chambers, Editor, GovInsider.
“We have been very pleased to see such inspiring work being done in the public sector in the region,” said Sikkut, who was Chair of the judging panel. “We hope these examples will inspire public servants across Asia to continue innovating, and push the boundaries of public service delivery.” The Awards recognised public sector projects from across the region in seven categories. These were: Best Adaptation; Best Citizen Engagement; Best Team Under 35; Best UI and UX Design; Best Use of Data; Best Drones Project; and Best Risk. The Winners The Best Adaptation award was given to Singapore’s Business Grants Portal. This is a joint project by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Infocomm Development Authority. The project was recognised for its use of agile methodology. It is the first tech system in Singapore that was fully developed with this approach. The team had to be responsive to changes in business policies and pivot directions quickly. User feedback allowed features to be changed during development. For instance, a company profile was added midway, so that businesses don’t have to provide the same information repeatedly. The Best Drones Project was awarded to PulseLab Jakarta and Swandiri Institute for the UAV-based Mapping for Village Planning and Precision Agriculture. The project uses drones to detect the health of crops in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rice farmers were able to see the locations of damaged and diseased crops using this data. This allowed them to target their attention to particular parts of their fields, with potential to help improve their productivity and income. The crop maps were also connected with information on natural resource exploitation to show farmers how irresponsible activities could damage the environment. Jakarta’s Smart City Unit was recognised as the Best Team Under 35. The unit includes 80 young public servants, developing apps and websites, and using data to provide insights for policy makers and the Governor. The team is currently building a single portal for public services in the city - the first of its kind in Indonesia. The unit has also been working closely with existing tech startups to deliver services faster - including complaints app Qlue, food review app Qraved and taxi app Go-Jek The Best UI and UX Design was awarded to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower for its Work Pass Integrated System for Foreign Domestic Workers. It used a human-centered design approach to simplify the process of hiring domestic help. Digital interfaces were deliberately designed to look minimalist to give users a sense of ease as they went through the procedure. It was designed to hide complexity from users, and provide them with information only when they need it. The project’s design principles went beyond digital to ensure letters are clear, human and helpful. The Best Use of Data was awarded to the National Environment Agency of Singapore for The Waterway Problem. The project used data to change perceptions of cleanliness and improve planning. It started with the notion that higher rainfall leads to more rubbish accumulating in waterways. Instead, the data showed that heavy rain may actually be good for clearing out the trash, with citizens complaining less. This use of data has helped the agency find the best times to deploy cleaners to remove rubbish, leading to better citizen satisfaction. The Ministry of Finance, Papua New Guinea and the United Nations Development Programme won the Best Citizen Engagement award for its Phones Against Corruption project. The project allows citizens of Papua New Guinea to anonymously report corruption using text messages from their phones. This is the first time that citizens in the country have a free corruption-reporting system. The service has proved particularly popular in rural parts of the country, where 87% of the country’s population lives. 93.6% of cases under investigation have been reported from rural areas. Singapore’s State Courts received the Best Risk award for its Seamless Payment System. The system must process over S$70 million of revenue annually, using approaches that had never been attempted before by the courts. The State Courts developed an electronic payment system, allowing people to pay at kiosks islandwide, on their computers or smartphones. Manual cash counters were replaced with electronic kiosks, allowing employees to be re-trained and deployed to other areas. An internal system was developed for payment transactions to be tracked in real-time by the agency. Congratulations to all of the winners and entrants of the GovInsider Innovation Awards 2016. For more information, contact Medha Basu at +65 8535 5774, email or visit