How to get smart

The impact that Singapore has with its government-led digital focus was clear to see at the start of the Innovest Unbound conference as the Senior Minister for Communication and Information opened the show.


It also underpins the reason why Singapore was the world’s top smart City in 2016 according to UK based research house Juniper Research.

The Smart Nation office was former by Prime Minister Lee in 2014. It’s role is to “facilitate innovations by the public and the private sector.” It leads new policy/ law to make it easier, particularly technical, innovation.

It has focussed in five key areas where it thinks benefits for society will be greatest:

1) Transport;

2) Home & environment;

3) Business productivity;

4) Health and enabled ageing; and

5) Public sector services.

A series of projects have been implemented.


But not resting on their laurels, Prime Minister Lee announced at the start of this month the new Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and with Minister Ibrahim as Deputy Chair, to lead the next steps.

The key aim of the government leadership here is not to stifle private innovation, but to make it easier. For example, there are a range of grants and other assistance that a number of start-ups at the Innovest conference spoke about.

A number of countries and some big cities have ‘smart departments’. The challenge is getting them delivering. Singapore is clearly providing a model of how to do this that, adapted for the local environment, could help other cities ‘get smart’.

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