Budget debate: Government crowdsourcing platform to solve tech challenges gets $50m boost

This will help more enterprises access innovative solutions and accelerate the deployment of digital innovations. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A government crowdsourcing initiative to help the public and private sectors solve technology challenges is getting a $50 million boost over the next five years.

The funds for the Open Innovation Platform (OIP) will be used to co-fund more projects under the platform and deliver new features aimed at speeding up the process to find and develop solutions for challenges organisations face.

The OIP managed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) was launched in 2018 to match business challenges faced by organisations to companies that can provide info-communication tech solutions to these problems.

Providing an update on the platform on Tuesday (March 2) during the debate on his ministry's budget, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran said that it has more than 10,000 companies that can offer tech solutions.

More than 190 challenges have been launched on the platform with over 60 solutions successfully developed.

Mr Iswaran said that the Government will invest $50 million to enhance the OIP's capabilities to build on this success.

This will help more enterprises access innovative solutions and accelerate the deployment of digital innovations, he said.

IMDA will also co-fund prototypes for solutions to challenges to help tech companies expand their market base.

With the new funding, two improvements to the OIP are planned to provide faster recommendations and tools for faster testing and development of solutions.

One is the creation of a "discovery engine" that makes for easier searching and matching of tech companies with the solutions to organisations with the problems.

This is expected to be done through automated recommendations by analysing the problems and recommending the solution providers with relevant experience.

The improved matching will also allow more companies, including small- and medium-sized enterprises and multinational corporations, to participate in co-innovation and digital transformation.

Another new feature for the OIP is a "digital bench" that is aimed at speeding up the development of proofs of concepts for tech solution providers. It will give them direct access to digital tools, reusable software, online testing environments and community partners to help the tech companies test and develop proofs of concepts.

The digital bench is expected to shorten the development of these concepts from months to weeks.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.