Nimbleness needed to engage citizens

Regardless of the topic, public engagement that involves citizens as solutioning partners is confronted with two perennial questions. Can citizens be effectively engaged on complex issues and how can technology be exploited while minimising its pitfalls?

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong spoke recently on initiatives to drive the Unite Pillar under the Forward Singapore exercise. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
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Policy problems are becoming increasingly complex and "wicked" in nature.

Spanning from environmental sustainability, social mobility, gender equality and national identity, they tend to elicit different, oftentimes conflicting views, of what needs to be done. As such, traditional means of problem-solving where the government takes the lead are becoming glaringly inadequate. Instead, many governments, including the Singapore Government, are adopting a more collaborative approach towards policymaking. The Forward Singapore exercise, launched in June, is the most recent example of this.

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