Learning Innovation Challenge: Co-creating with and for public officers


Once again, UP Singapore brought together passionate learners and innovators to co-create solutions that will redefine the learning experience. This time, we helped Singapore public officers meet their needs and aspirations, while embracing the Future of Learning!

The Learning Innovation Challenge was held from 30 June to 1 July 2018, in partnership with Civil Service College (CSC). As a key player in shaping the learning culture of the Public Service, the College is on a mission to provide an inspiring and impactful learning experience for public officers.

As the way we learn is continually evolving along with emerging technologies, the community took up the challenge by tackling the following problem statements:
· Understanding what Learners need or want
· Learning as an “omni-channel” experience
· Extending beyond the learning programme

Over 90 enthusiastic participants gathered at LEVEL3, to craft ideas and build solutions that seek to transform the way public officers learn. It was co-creation in action — people from different backgrounds equipped with a variety of skill-sets in education, tech, design and organisational development, coming together to benefit many learners out there.

For every challenge, preparation is needed. We conducted Pre-Challenge Workshops where relevant theme-specific and technology partners joined us to provide participants with much needed context and information.

From an AR prototyping class to a panel discussion with experts, the workshops were designed to fit the needs of the participants from CSC and the public. It was a perfect opportunity to discuss issues revolving around learning and spark inspiration towards solution-building.

AR Prototyping at the Pre-Challenge Workshop @ CSC

AR Prototyping at the Pre-Challenge Workshop @ CSC

Panel Discussion at the Pre-Challenge Workshop (from left to right): Li Hongyi, Maish Nichani, Roger Tan, Thomas Yeo, Adam Lyle

Panel Discussion at the Pre-Challenge Workshop (from left to right):
Li Hongyi, Maish Nichani, Roger Tan, Thomas Yeo, Adam Lyle

With the participants armed with new perspectives and technology, they were geared up for the challenge in the following week!

The weekend event kicked off on a Saturday morning where individuals took the stage to pitch their ideas. Idea Pitching is an essential practice as it gives a glimpse of what each person has to offer and an opportunity to gather like-minded members. In under a minute, they introduced themselves and provided a summary of their aims and potential ideas.

Pitching ideas to the rest of the participants

Pitching ideas to the rest of the participants

Once the pitching was over, it was time for Team Formation. Participants were encouraged to go around, talk to each other and form their dream team. Ultimately, a total of 20 excited teams emerged — ready to start hacking!

Team formation

Team formation

To start the engine running, a Design Sprint was conducted by Adam Lyle and Derrick Chiang, Executive Chairman and CEO of Padang & Co respectively. Teams worked to reframe the problem, define the user and finally, brainstorm ideas leading up to the big solution.

Brainstorming during the Design Sprint

Brainstorming during the Design Sprint

From then, it was work, work, (a little tea time in between) and more work! With less than 24 hours left before the big pitch, teams spent their time discussing, building and reiterating their prototypes.
Thankfully, the participants were not on their own. Mentors from CSC and the industry came down for the Mentor Consultation to answer questions, share their own experiences and provide advice on how teams can further develop their ideas.

The following Governmental and Industrial leaders helped to fill in any knowledge gaps and ensure that the proposed solutions are relevant to the needs of public officers:

· Chia Nah Nah, Assistant Director/Lead Consultant, Institute of Leadership & Organization Development;
· Dr. Douglas Oloughlin, Senior Principal Consultant, Institute of Leadership & Organization Development;
· Emily Wee, Manager, Institute of Public Sector Leadership;
· Sim Phei Sunn, Principal Consultant, Institute of Leadership & Organization Development; and
· Tham Su Fern, Senior Manager, INNxCSC, Institute of Public Administration & Management;
· Bryant Tang, Experience Design Producer, Citi;
· Chia Hai Siang, Principal Analyst (Technology), Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office;
· Hong Khai Seng, Head of Singapore, Foolproof;
· Keith Ng, Lead of Business Group and Client Engagement, Gametize;
· Lionel Chok, Creative Technologist, iMMERSiVELY;
· Li Hongyi, Deputy Director (Government Digital Services Data Science Division), Govtech Singapore; and
· Richard Goh, Deputy Director, Capability Development Division, SkillsFuture Singapore
In addition, our technological partner, Microsoft, was also there to provide tips to the teams who were using Microsoft tools in their solutions.

The teams continued working on their solutions until the venue was closed for the day.

And just like that, it was the big day! Participants were up bright and early for Day 2 to attend the Pitch Practice Clinics. The mandatory clinics were useful as the teams received feedback on how to give a more effective presentation within the allocated time of three minutes.

Team Funsized during the Pitch Clinics

Team Funsized during the Pitch Clinics

Finally, it has come down to the Final Presentations to the panel of expert judges:

· Lam Kai Wah, Director, Strategic Human Resource & Finance, Civil Service College
· Darryl Parrant, Country Leader, Talent & Reward & Practice Leader, Future of Work, South Asia Willis Tower Watson
· Laurence Smith, Head of Asia, SmartUp.io

After an exciting series of pitches, we are pleased to present to you the winners of the Learning Innovation Challenge! 
1st Prize: Agora — A chatbot that answers course-related queries from the bot itself and fellow peers, along with a quiz function that helps users retain information.
2nd Prize: Hypervalence — A platform that helps public servants condense their courses significantly using natural language processing and topic modelling.
3rd Prize: Better Than Whatsapp — An app that encourages learning on the go and internalise it.
Merit Prize: Catalyst — An app that allows public officers to do mobile micro-learning in order to have a more flexible learning experience.
Merit Prize: Flow — An app that allows users to learn new skills and share their existing knowledge at the same time, so as to promote effective peer to peer learning.
Merit Prize: Hello World — A redesigned CSC course selection page for better UX, by adding incentives, reviews and recommendations, using data analytics for customised learning.
Merit Prize: Team Five — A mobile app to attract social learners to level up through gamification with avatars in a fun and social manner with real incentives.

In just 48 hours, teams came up with 20 inspiring solutions that could transform the way public officers learn in the future. To watch the winning ideas, check it out here!

A huge thank you to everyone who was involved for making the Challenge a great experience! We hope the participants had a fun and meaningful time of discovery and collaboration.


Stay tuned for more innovation challenges and hackathons in the coming months!
Until next time,
UP Singapore Team

Christina OhComment