At the start of 2020, the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) launched the Tech Booster project to ramp up the digital transformation of social service agencies (SSAs) in Singapore.
Each project began with workshops to first understand their challenges and needs faced, uncover root causes of their problems and assess the current digital environment. The team then conducted on-site field research to observe in greater detail these pain points and touch points, speaking to ground staff, shadowing processes and conducting time motion studies to get a complete picture of their current processes.
Often faced with shortage of manpower, it is not uncommon for staff to take on multiple roles, having to juggle caring for their clients, running the home/centre and handling paperwork. Research with the SSAs revealed ample areas for technology to alleviate workload and increase efficiency, especially in areas where repetitive, laborious tasks were involved such as surveillance, reporting, cleaning, and more.
Surveillance is a vital aspect in SSAs to ensure the safety of both clients and residents. Using basic CCTV systems and due to shortage in manpower, current measures are more reactive rather than preventive in incident management.
Design Sojourn provided each SSA with recommendations on technology choices to ensure a good match and worked with the SSAs to craft project management plans for effective implementation in later stages.
Change Management frameworks and tools were introduced to give SSAs the necessary handles to bring about successful adoption of the technologies. These included clear implementation plans, change readiness surveys to ensure staff buy-in, training plans, and resistance management plans to address resistances and concerns expressed by staff. It was important to ensure that all users were on board the plans to implement the technologies for successful outcomes, and sustained adoption.
Technologies implemented benefited both staff and clients – from equipment that improved the quality and productivity of therapy to Client Management Systems that offered a centralised, digital platform for efficient case management and streamlined daily operations.
At the end of the implementation phase, check-ins and reviews were conducted to ensure successful adoption and that all stakeholders are satisfied with the technologies. As the SSAs shared their feedback and success stories in their organisations, each project’s learnings, plans and outcomes are also documented for future application and potential scaling to other programmes, to allow for further the digital transformation efforts in the social service sector
* Figures are based on 61 SSAs that have completed at least the first stage of the project