DMatters April 2018 Issue

Public Sector Innovation: Making our city a great place to live, work and play

One of the biggest challenges faced by the governments of today worldwide is firstly how to keep cities innovative, sustainable, robust and inviting, and secondly how to improve the quality of life for people from all walks of life.  Early on in February, the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong released the 2018-2019 Budget. The primary goal of the budget is to create a more diversified economy, invest for the future, and address the needs of the people. “Enhancing liveability” is among one of the main themes that reinforce the importance to distribute resources to public sector as to make Hong Kong a liveable city.

To tackle the environmental challenges, the government continues her effort to consult key stakeholders and to implement policies in various aspects. Enterprises investing in eligible energy efficient building installations and renewable energy devices can have their capital expenditures fully deducted within one year by the Environment Bureau. In addition, to promote the use of electric vehicles, the “one-for-one replacement” scheme allows tax concessions when traditional car owners purchase new private electric vehicles. More resources will go to support innovation and technology development as well. 

Long-term land and housing plans, along with public healthcare issues, are also addressed in the budget. With a solid commitment to an estimation of 100,000 new public housing supply units in five years, the government also promises to inject over 70-billion into healthcare, a 13 percent increase compared with last year.

Nowadays, we need a multidisciplinary approach to analyzing and solving increasingly complex and interconnected challenges facing by cities. A new mission for governments is called upon to create a new mindset that spark and support innovation, both within the public sector and the wider society. 

Government and civil servants are changing the way they think, work and communicate. The strategies are shifting to more collaboration between public sectors, businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals and the public. The mission to shape a liveable city is indeed the ideal platform to demonstrate how public and-private collaboration can amplify liveability and sustainability, placing aspirations, well-being and needs of people at the centre. Last year, a civic organisation, Smart Chicago Collaborative, has launched a model that places data at the service of people. The Array of Things (AoT) project has deployed of a series of sensors that collect real-time data in the city’s environment, infrastructure, and activity for research and public use, leading to more user-centric services and innovations.

Business across all sectors and industries, also need to have heightened sensibility towards emerging trends, cultures and sub-cultures, changing demographics, and how technologies can be developed to empower insight-led discovery and create innovation opportunity. With the advent of scientific and technological disruptions, businesses across all sectors and industries ought to change the ways they think, work and communicate too.  Facing complex and intercalated challenges, we need skillful navigation of complexity and adopt a multidisciplinary approach to framing, analysing and solving problems. 

In the upcoming Knowledge of Design Week (KODW), which will be held on 11-15 June 2018 at Hotel Icon, one among all three inspiring forums will be dedicated to impactful cases, stories and insights for public sector innovations across health and care, smart city development and digital services. It will also look into key ingredients and skills for effective collaboration across policy domains and for striking collaborative synergy that embraces public and private partnership.

The time has come for us to embrace a human approach to read deep into people’s behaviours, trends and culture for big-data-driven insights that can better inform policy and decision making, and transform businesses and services that will be endeared by people.

Click here for DMatters (April) full issue.