2021 Byte-sized Review: All About Our Products
Looking back on the products we built and the impact we made in 2021
2021 — what a year it has been for all of us! As we continued the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we created a record number of products to handle the crisis as we transitioned from pandemic to endemic. Many of our existing products and also Hack for Public Good prototypes converted into full-fledged products were also utilised to solve a myriad of problems for public good. In the midst of everything, we also doubled in size from over 30 to 60-odd individuals. It was a wild year, with lots of new challenges and product development.
The Non-stop Battle from Pandemic to Endemic
Throughout the ongoing pandemic, our team has been working tirelessly to develop products and systems that tackle various aspects of living with COVID-19.
Accelerating Vaccination Rollout
This year, one of the main challenges was to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the entire nation, creating a first line of defense against the virus. Within just two weeks, our team built the National Appointment System (NAS), where Singapore residents could easily book vaccination slots regardless of age or digital savviness, along with a suite of other backend systems. Many elements such as the vaccine information landing site and pre-registration form were created using our existing products, Isomer (government website builder platform) and FormSG (online form builder). This accelerated the vaccination rollout, and as of December 2021, about 87% of the population has received at least 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
When Singapore transitioned from a “Zero COVID-19” to a “Living with COVID-19” endemic strategy in August 2021, numerous communication and operations workflows had to change to support the new direction. In order to manage the virus as an endemic disease, keeping track of and managing COVID-19 cases became crucial.
One of the solutions that we swiftly built was an automated COVID-19 case management system for COVID-19 related flows. It facilitated the management of COVID-19 positive patients and those who were on Health Risk Warning (HRWs), while at the same time supporting the 1–2–3 protocols created by MOH. This automated system allowed Singapore to more quickly respond to the wave of new COVID-19 cases, ensuring that people received the care and treatment they needed while also identifying and isolating those at risk of infecting others.
Sync is another system we created in response to the need for easily accessible and up-to-date COVID-19 health records, not just for healthcare institutions but also for employers and other organisations. Sync allows individuals to choose who can receive their COVID-19 health records and requires the individual’s consent, which can be revoked by the individual at any time. Syncis presently in beta, having been onboarded to companies such as Grab.
Lastly, with COVID-19 protocols constantly in flux to keep up with an evolving pandemic, we worked with MOH to create covid.gov.sg, a central place where members of the public could find information on living with COVID-19. Built using Isomer, the COVID-19 microsite also featured new OGP products such as CheckFirst, a tool used to guide people to the right information, and AskGov, creating our own kind of Quora for the government to provide official, searchable answers to citizens’ questions about COVID-19. Both CheckFirst and AskGov were Hack for Public Good 2021 prototypes (with AskGov previously known as HelpGov) that became full-fledged products and essential pieces to our COVID-19 communications strategy.
Digitalising the Public Sector
While much of our 2021 was spent on developing COVID-19 solutions, we were also hard at work on products focusing on the digitalisation of government services, making life easier both for public officers and citizens.
Building an Inclusive Government Vouchers System
Digitising paper vouchers has traditionally posed administrative and operational challenges for the government, with the need for inclusivity so as to cater to the less digitally savvy. This led to RedeemSG, an inclusive government vouchers system to support the launch of the recent $130 million CDC vouchers scheme for all Singapore households. With RedeemSG, both digital and paper vouchers can be redeemed easily by residents, and merchants are able to receive payouts by the next day. Currently, more than $7 million of vouchers have been spent.
Developing a Product Suite for Digitalisation
Product development never stops, even for those in production and catering to millions of users. This year, we’ve continued to develop our suite of existing modular products, used in all 16 Ministries and across the different Statutory Boards to digitise government processes. Some of these include:
- FormSG — government form builder that has enabled more than 71,000 public officers across 120 agencies to digitalise over 252,000 forms
- Go.gov.sg — link shortener that has been used by over 24,000 officers across 70 agencies with over 180,000 links created so far
- Isomer — government website builder that has launched more than 100 websites including covid.gov.sg with 100x reduction in downtime
- Postman — omnichannel communication tool that has sent out more than 43 million messages to citizens
- SgID — authentication and data sharing tool that is integrated to Singpass
With the digitalisation of the public sector often seen as an uphill task, our products are expanding the possibilities of how public officers and government agencies can tackle public good problems with less time, money and resources.
Having had a busy year in 2021, we’ve set the last two weeks in December as no-meeting weeks for many of us to rest and recharge before the start of Hack for Public Good in January 2022. OGP officers and co-hackers will be coming together to ideate, create and build prototypes based on public good problems that we are interested to work on. Additionally, with so many products launched and developed this year, we will also plan to share more about the engineering, design and operation processes behind our products through talks and events in 2022, so stay tuned!
While who knows what challenges and opportunities 2022 will bring, here’s to another year ahead of building tech for public good!
Curious to learn more about what we’ve done at an organisational level to enable our product success? Look out for our next blog post!