Serving the Public with Excellence
04 Jul 2018

At the Public Service Transformation (PST) Awards reception on 4 July 2018, DSTA clinched the Public Service Distinguished Award for achieving organisational excellence. Three individuals and a team from DSTA, along with a cross-agency team, were also recognised for their significant contributions in service delivery and innovation.


On behalf of DSTA, Chief Executive Tan Peng Yam (left) received the Public Service Distinguised Award from Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Seng

Among DSTA’s PST award winners, Assistant Director (Strategic Plans) Koh Lin Hui is certainly one to rally change. When tasked to tackle complex organisational issues, he took up the challenge to set up an in-house consultancy team instead of relying on the tried-and-tested approach of engaging external consultants.

In addition, unlike taking the traditional way of having management appoint the team, he adopted a bottom-up approach and assembled volunteers across DSTA entities who could offer different perspectives and skillsets, and desired to contribute above and beyond their core work.

The studies have helped tackle diverse issues and led to impactful outcomes, such as delivering Operations and Support service excellence to the Singapore Armed Forces, improving the user experience of a technical system and enhancing the new hire journey.

Citing great teamwork as the reason for his ExCEL Innovation Champion award, he shared: “Our most innovative study breakthroughs were not made during work hours, but over food and drinks. Working and chilling out with the team brought much joy – we worked, laughed, fought and grew as a team, and I am looking forward to celebrate with them!”

2_Lin Hui

Lin Hui was named an ExCEL Innovation Champion for forming volunteer teams pro-actively and leading them to solve important organisational-level issues

Another individual who has inspired his team to excel and innovate was Head (Systems Management) Alfred Tan, whose contributions were recognised with the Star Manager Award. Besides his ability to look at problems from various angles to tackle them in new ways, he advocates innovation by carving out time during team meetings to brainstorm. Under his leadership, his team has delivered cost-effective solutions that achieved three MINDEF Economy Drive awards in a year.

On his leadership style, Alfred shared: “I practise an open door policy so that my team members know that they can always approach me to discuss or share any matters, be it work related or personal issues. I take the opportunity to process the issues and guide or encourage them.” He added: “I am privileged to receive the award and thankful for the support from my leaders and colleagues.”


Alfred received the Star Manager award in recognition of how he has developed his team and inspired change

Winner of the Star Service Award, Senior Engineer (Enterprise IT) Sathesh S/O Navaretnam showed his drive for continuous service improvement in his quick responses to incidents – which included working beyond office hours to ensure critical systems are up and running. He was also complimented for being forthcoming with new ideas.

In particular, Sathesh managed an exploratory project to deliver fitness wearables for NSmen to self-administer their IPPT Preparatory Training. One of the key challenges was to address cybersecurity concerns that arose from integrating the system with commercial fitness clouds, such as risk of information leakage and malware infection.

Sathesh took the initiative to develop a prototype quickly, working with cybersecurity specialists to mitigate the risks. This involved rigorous design reviews with multiple enhancements made over three months. Sathesh also went the extra mile to enhance system usability by soliciting feedback from colleagues, internal user experience design consultants, operational managers and business users to improve the user interface design.

“The sense of satisfaction received from delivering work with quality in mind has spurred me to continue doing better, and that helped me clinch this award. I feel honoured and grateful to my supervisors and peers for their support and guidance provided to date,” said Sathesh.

For the Star Service team, innovation came in the form of developing a first-of-its-kind system that allows sharing of video resources across government agencies and the geographical modelling of planning parameters. This allowed the agencies to enhance their situational awareness to better manage crises in Singapore.

Another Star Service Team Award involved a collaboration effort between DSTA and several other public agencies – DSO National Laboratories, Government Technology Agency of Singapore, Infocomm Media Development Authority and Land Transport Authority – to investigate and resolve the Circle Line signalling disruptions.

4_Enhancing crisis management

Head (MHA Crisis Management) Syn Peck Khay (centre in picture) with Head Capability Development (Joint Facilities) See Thong Hwee and Principal Systems Architect (National Security) Fiona Chen, representatives of the Star Service Team that extended its engineering know-how to enhance crisis management for Singapore