Every organisation, in every sector, faces the challenge of accelerating digital disruption. And it can come from anywhere. In the business world, the evidence is clear. For example, it’s predicted that half of the current S&P 500 would be replaced within the next 10 years. Governments, similarly, face the challenge of meeting evolving citizen expectations that are driven by the pace and demands of modern life. In Singapore, our research shows that 77% of people consider ease of interaction as an important factor in the appeal of their favourite apps. They want government to make it similarly easy to interact with the digital services it provides. And 72% of people would increase their use of government digital services if the government uses new technology (such as AI) to provide more accurate and useful information. What’s more, digital services also promise major efficiency gains for government. The move to digital is a clear win-win.

To take advantage of digital opportunities, government agencies, like their commercial counterparts, should do much more than deliver incremental change. They need to pursue a transformational trajectory that helps them to create growth through innovation that drives new outcomes and sustains value. And they need to seek that at speed and scale. Creating digital prototypes is part of the answer. But if these remain in a state of perpetual testing and, unless they evolve into fully-fledged human-centric digital products or services, they won’t move an organisation forward sufficiently far and fast to address the rapidly-evolving needs of citizens who are accustomed to the personalised digital interactions with the commercial world and to take advantage of the improved efficiency of the digitisation of operations.

So, what do government agencies need to do to overcome the hurdle of getting innovative ideas off the drawing board and into production at speed and scale?

They need to develop the five traits of successful digital organisations:

  1. Embrace a nimble, start-up-like agile mindset, embracing experimentation, data-driven decision-making
  2. Master the art of continuously and iteratively delivering digital products and services at scale and pace
  3. Become citizen-experience obsessed and embrace human-centred design in the product development cycle
  4. Deliver the right technology platforms to facilitate iterative, fast application delivery
  5. Leverage a partner ecosystem for market scanning, technology awareness and collaboration for new products and services. Exploring new verticals could also bring an outside-in view to any new developments.

None of this is easy. And it’s made harder by the need to attract – and retain – the right digital talent to bring them to fruition. So, what is the approach that brings together these traits, acts as a talent magnet and creates a powerful connection to citizen-centric indicators to create scale and impact?

We call it the “Digital Factory”. A proven approach for bringing sustainable innovation to market at scale, acting as a talent magnet to attract and retain the best available digital resources. Its tenets and playbooks are as applicable in a government setting as they are for commercial organisations.

The Digital Factory helps the delivery of digital products and services, and integrates the required digital and business capabilities that work seamlessly to facilitate and empower digital self-sufficiency. Our approach for the Digital Factory targets, delivers and sustains value for our clients and, in turn, their end-users.

The modular design of the factory allows capabilities to be plugged in as necessary, assisting efficiency, scale and rotation to new skills which is required by the growing complexity of digital ambitions in the organisation. The people are given the autonomy to self-organised and work across organisation boundaries, collaborate with ecosystem partners to continuously and iteratively deliver value.

Overall, it’s an approach whose time has come. Innovative responses to citizens’ complex, new and fast-changing needs are a must-do for government. In the Digital Factory, we are able to provide a proven approach to accelerate progress, make innovation real and deliver the outcomes that citizens demand.

Read about how we worked with Singapore Changi Airport on transforming the passenger experience before, during and after travel.

Iker Ibañez


Eleana Liew

Managing Director – Health & Public Service, Client Lead, Southeast Asia

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