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Citizen-Centric Public Policies and Services Through Design

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Debbie NG Li TENG


The Singapore Public Service is well regarded internationally for its efficiency

and effectiveness in policy and service delivery. Notwithstanding this, it faces

challenges similar to public services around the world, including citizens’

rising expectations and increased desire for participation on policies that

impact their lives. The changing operating environment is driving many public

services to develop new skills and capabilities, in order to continue delivering

good policy outcomes. The Government has adopted design thinking and

other tools to support its journey towards developing more citizen-centric

policies and services. Importantly, this journey has provided many useful

insights, particularly on the need to address several organisational issues,

including the mindsets of officers and tendency of agencies to work in silos.

This paper seeks to present how the design thinking has proven to be a very

useful approach to overcome those barriers to create citizen centric public

policies and services. To illustrate, three Singapore public agencies have been

able to see issues from the citizens’ perspectives and reframe their projects to

better achieve both agency and citizen objectives. The officers gained a

deeper understanding of citizens’ needs through ethnographic methods,

experimented with prototyping and co-creating solutions with end-users, and

ultimately learnt valuable lessons on how public agencies can design for

better outcomes.



PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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