Hefan Wong on Transforming the Ministry of Manpower

Hefan Wong from the Singapore Ministry of Manpower in the Behavioral Insights and Design unit spoke about design transformation within that agency over the past six years to achieve a more human-centric culture.

The agencies in Singapore were known for speed and efficiency, but not really for customer experience. Customers often didn’t understand the process, and there was often a large reality gap between the policy intent and customer perspective.

The team changed the way they presented their agency, the organizational tone of voice and how they measured outcomes, including prototyping and randomized control trials. Hefan presented several examples of new initiatives, some that were successful and some less so. All centered around using design thinking to build empathy and understand customers.

She acknowledged that the Ministry of Manpower hadn’t reached the tipping point yet in terms of cultivating sustainable habits for design within the government but she shared several tips for success. Start small, build confidence and demonstrate what design can do. Be brave and keep testing.

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