Singapore’s Dr Strange: Drawing on Data to Power Up the Digital Nation
Harnessing the power of data, organising massive data tournaments, and sourcing solutions for Singapore — these are just a few responsibilities of a Digital Lab rat.
Marvel’s Dr Strange gets his powers from the energy of the universe and other mystical entities, but Ang Yan Jie, Deputy Manager at LTA’s Digital Lab, only needs data science to work her magic.
She transports Singapore into the future by using data science to efficiently process large amounts of data from multiple sources, bringing valuable insights, smarter decisions, and value in any domain.
“It isn’t news that the world is heading towards digitalisation. The pandemic and increasing demand for remote and digital services have made digital inclusion increasingly important,” Yan Jie shares.
She first joined LTA because she wanted to put herself at the forefront of public service. Working in Land Transport allows her to contribute to an integral aspect of citizens’ lives.
As technology continues to reshape the way we live, work, and play, Yan Jie spends her time in the Digital Lab devising a more cohesive digital strategy for Singapore.
How Do You Drive Change When People are Unsure?
Change is never easy, especially when you must convince an entire community to live and learn differently.
Yan Jie says, “Change is always faced with resistance. Users may be skeptical of the change, especially if they do not have the necessary skills to harness the technology.”
This is why she says “proper change management, including seeking users’ involvement early on, keeping them engaged throughout the journey, and equipping them with relevant skills is essential”. After all, data isn’t useful unless it is analysed and applied appropriately.
The core of her job sees her setting up the Digital Lab, planning programs, sourcing solutions and exploring experimental approaches, and engaging stakeholders for partnership on digital initiatives.
The real-life launch of the Digital Lab in Q2 of 2022 will showcase a range of user-friendly digital tools including:
- Panorama: one-stop data platform built in-house to facilitate users on the data analytics journey
- Ignite: In-house platform to develop Geospatial Information System applications
- InSIGHT: Building Information Modelling platform across the land transport value chain
- GIS: Mapping and spatial analytics software
- Other digital software and physical maker tools like AR/VR glasses and 3D printers
To stay up to date with the ever-changing digital landscape, Yan Jie focuses on three key areas:
Make Information Your Friend
LTA possesses a huge amount of data for planning, service delivery, and operations. When collected, categorised, and stored properly, one can transform processes, get deeper insights, and increase productivity.
Collaborate to Integrate
As modern digital platforms allow team members to collaborate easily, it is easier to scale technological solutions as a team.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Establishing a baseline literacy in digital competencies among all staff, so they can communicate in a common language, opening doors for collaboration.
She also works on data science projects, hones her digital competencies, and organises events to proliferate the use of analytics in LTA (such as partnering GovTech on Data Arcade Tournament (an event which last year saw 400 teams across whole-of-government to compete to be the masters of data visualisation).
Forging the Future
Yan Jie says it is “fulfilling to see LTA move towards more data-based approaches for decision-making and policy formulations”.
When she made the move from Corporate Strategy to Digital Lab, Yan Jie took her analytical, planning and LTA domain skills with her. In her current role at the Digital Lab, she also picked up data science skills and technological breadth.
“My work involves a wide range of technologies as it requires me to stay on top of the latest technological trends. On a more daily basis, it involves data processing and analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and software engineering,” she continues. Basically, all of the tools that are forging what people call the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Despite this, Yan Jie says she does not have the answers to all tech-related questions. But that’s not a problem. Her never-ending search for information means she’s always acquiring new knowledge.
Moving forward, Yan Jie predicts we will see an increase in remote working and learning, enabled by Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality — so get those headsets ready.
“To work in this field, you need to have an open mindset and a thirst for learning, as the technological landscape is constantly changing,” she adds.
[SOURCES] Interview with Yan Jie