Conducting Open Innovation Workshops at the CSC Learning Festival 2015

As part of the Civil Service College (CSC) Learning Festival 2015 (28 September to 2 October 2015), the UP Singapore team conducted two Open Innovation workshops. The Learning Festival is a week-long event that gives public sector employees a chance to learn and develop new skills.

Titled “Citizens, Government & Business working in partnership to innovate for tomorrow”, the UP Singapore workshops on 20 September 2015 introduced the concept of Open Innovation, hackathons and innovation tools such as Design Thinking and Lean Start-up methodology.

In all, we had 40 participants, with representatives from a wide cross-section of ministries and agencies. We’re really pleased to learn that many are already familiar with the innovation and ideation tools that we discussed, making it even easier to go deeper with these topics.

With a savvy and engaged audience, the workshops were lively sessions, with lots of back-and-forth between the trainers, Adam Lyle and Derrick Chiang, and the participants. Some of the participants were candid in sharing the challenges they face and how they overcame them.

The second half of the workshop was a “rapid prototyping” ideation session using the UP Singapore “Hackathon Canvas” (which UP Singapore hackathon goers would be familiar with). Presented with the actual challenges from Hackathon@SG (July 2015), participants tried address problems posed by government agencies by taking off their ‘government’ hats and drawing on their personal experiences.

Here are some of the interesting ideas that came out of the two sessions:

Challenge: Providing means for the community to care for one another (Housing Development Board)

Have a buddy system between older and younger neighbours so the elderly can easily request for help when in trouble. Allow families, companies and schools to take part in programmes where each person is responsible for taking care of a senior citizen in their neighbourhood. Let the community pool together for a vehicle that can transport the elderly.

Challenge: Encouraging the practice of the 3Rs through personal or collective action (National Environment Agency)

In commercial / office settings, do away with paper baskets at the desk and put centralised point for waste collections. This will save cleaning costs too! Gamify the process to make it fun and educational.

Challenge: Promoting a culture of reading, knowledge-seeking and discovery (National Library Board)

Encourage library users to create lists with their personal reviews: “Books I’ve read”, “Books I’m reading” and “Books I’ll read next”. Based on these reading lists, users can get recommendations based on their preferences and those from from other library users.

The CSC Learning Festival was a great opportunity for the UP Singapore team to share the benefits of Open Innovation with civil service community. We also gained more insights into how different ministries and agencies have been using innovation tools and their learnings. Hopefully, this small exercise will inspire greater collaborations within the civil service and broader Singapore community!

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