When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, many social challenges arose, such as vulnerable groups of people not receiving help directly or quickly enough.
As many people and organizations rallied to help, the National Center for Volunteers and Philanthropy (NVPC) realized that it did not have full visibility of who needed help, nor how to effectively connect those in need with those who can help.
The center therefore decided to turn to a government crowdsourcing initiative called the Open Innovation Platform (OIP), which connects public and private sector organizations with technology companies capable of developing solutions to their problems.
âWe decided to leverage digital innovation to develop a culture of giving and create greater social impact, because technology has the power to (bring together) people and create a better future,â said a door – NVPC’s speech to the Straits Times.
Since then, the center has partnered with companies to develop solutions or improve existing ones.
This includes the development of a new multilingual online portal for NVPC aimed at migrant workers of different nationalities to provide them with timely access to accurate information and connect them with credible means of community support. , such as health care, workers’ rights and mental health support.
NVPC is also working with another company to develop an existing app to match volunteers with seniors who live alone and need help with their groceries.
OIP, which is managed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), has also helped organizations address pandemic-specific issues such as preventing and mitigating the transmission of Covid-19 on flights.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) called on the OIP to develop management systems for coronavirus testing and contact tracing on construction sites.
Construction companies had to work on resuming operations safely after their suspension during the two-month breaker that ended last June.
Companies must, among other things, adhere to safe distancing measures and perform health monitoring, but there were no existing digital solutions to enable this for construction environments.
Thus, BCA, in collaboration with construction companies Kajima Overseas Asia and Boustead Singapore, launched a challenge on OIP last July on how to better manage contact tracing and safe distancing on construction sites. The proposals of three firms were finally selected.
Since then, they’ve been testing prototypes like a health screening app and contact tracing beacons and fine-tuning them so they’re ready for mass deployment.
Other organizations have also found solutions to various challenges through OIP. These include finding ways to improve the process of extracting and analyzing information for financial analysis, as well as helping approved lenders go digital.
More than 190 challenges have been launched on the platform since its launch in 2018, with more than 60 solutions developed.
OIP now has more than 10,000 companies on board that can offer technological solutions.
Mr. Lew Chuen Hong, Managing Director of IMDA, said the government sees the potential for OIP “to be the leading platform for digital innovation in our digital economy”.
âOIP can meet a wide range of innovation needs, from a broad-based innovation marketplace to a platform for complex challenges with transformative impact at the sectoral or national level,â Lew said. .
It is with this in mind that the government wishes to continue investing in the OIP to improve its speed and scale capabilities, he said.
Last month, the government announced that the OIP will receive an increase of $ 50 million over the next five years to co-fund more projects under the platform and provide new functionality for organizations to find technological solutions to their problems more easily and quickly.
âUltimately, it’s about helping our start-ups and companies seize new business opportunities, in Singapore and around the world,â Lew said.