News & Events


International Conference: Disruptive Technologies and the Public Service - Day 2

Drusilla, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication Studies

8 March 2017

“Trust and Legitimacy of the State” was the theme for the second day of the conference. Opening the day’s conference was
Mr Pedro Conceição, the Director of Strategic Policy of UNDP’s Bureau for Programme and Policy Support. The keynote revolves around the topic of Tech Innovation and the Sustainable Development Goals.


In his speech, Conceição focuses on the relationship between science, technology, economy and society as well as the people-government relationship during this transition period of advancing technology. With the rise and advancement in technology, it provides a sense of hope and optimism for the everchanging world. However, Conceição also mentioned the concern of possible disruption that could be both dramatic and traumatic to the people. As the technology advances, it generates the fear of being left behind in an evolving economy or society. This result in a “erosion that appears to be taking place in the trust of governance”, where people questions if the government is able to manage the transition into what Conceição calls, “the 4th industrial revolution”.

Hence, Conceição concludes by suggesting that government should engage proactively with technology, embracing instead of rejecting it. Government should think through the various policy and decision and ensure a smooth, inclusive and secure transition to the next stage of technology advancement.                                                                              

Following Conceição’s speech, a panel discussion by moderator, Mr Danny Buerkli (Programme Director, Centre for Public Impact) discussed on the topic of how the new disruptive technologies will affect public services as well as examining the effects of such reconfiguration on the relationship between the state and citizen with regards to trust and legitimacy.

Mr Aaron Maniam (Senior Director, Industry Division, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Government of Singapore) spoke about the potential use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for government and how technology helps to make life better for the people as seen with Singapore’s own initiative – Smart Nation. Mr Nimo Naamani (Chief Technology Officer, Horizon State) talks about technology with foot print transparency and how it benefits the government by allowing the government to interact with the citizens. Mr Askar Zhambankin (Deputy Chairman of the Board, «Zerde», National Info-Communication Holding of Kazakhstan) presented on the cost saving properties of the new technology. Mr Evan Stubbs (Associate Director, Boston Consulting Group, Australia), discussed the government’s important role that ease the friction during the transition period into the new technology age.  


The morning session of the conference ended with a “Speed Dating” session, moderated by Mr Arndt Husar, the Deputy Director of UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence. Participants were split into two groups. Group A consists of Civil servants, elected officials and development practitioners. Group B consists of young entrepreneurs, innovators, technology providers and experts. Participants were matched to meet each other for a 1-on-1 conversation, sharing their ideas, or any other topic of interests. Each participant then captures the points made via a mobile application which enables live crowdsourcing, allowing an immediate feedback from the session. The session ended with a recap on the insights gathered from the “Speed Dating” session.

The last activity of the conference is an interactive expert panel with regards to the morning sessions and a poll result presentation by Mr Danny Buerkli, with regards to the eight technologies and their hype cycle that were presented the day before. The panel continues from the presentation with the topic of automation, where Mr Muzi Ntombel (Chief Innovation Officer, Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), South Africa) begins by sharing on how South African Government uses robotic such as Pharmacy Dispensing Units, to automate pharmacy process.


Along with the other panellist – Miss Christine Leitner (Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, Centre for Economics and Public Administration (CEPA) Ltd.), Miss Derval Usher (Head, Pulse Lab Jakarta, UN Global Pulse, Indonesia), Mr Ivar Tallo (Founder & Board Member, e-Governance Academy, Estonia) the panel continues the discussion of the key trends, tools, technologies and techniques used in public innovation.

The conference comes into a conclusion with Mr Max Everest-Phillips, Director of UNDP GCPSE, thanking the speakers, moderatos, panellists, and participants for creating a network of like-minded people who can discuss and keep in touch with each other to develop thoughts for the future.