Singapore government creates a specialized web development unit

Creating “internal startups” has been pretty popular during the last few years, but not so much within governments. Singapore has made an interesting effort to this effect. I think the story is noteworthy because they really seem to work like an “open startup” – meaning they publish their work, write a blog and truly work as a one team.

Read the article: Inside the Singapore government’s lab of the future.


  • I’m a big fan of bringing things in-house and creating these kinds of “startup environments” where teams can operate independently with their own development resources. This approach works best in situations where the problems are fairly unique (like governments that tend to have pretty unique requirements or unique legacy systems), and there is also a cultural lesson to be learned within the organization.
  • I’ve seen many government organizations dreaming about the same type of approach and then implementing it only partly. My personal view is that such a project is really hard to do in steps – either you go all in, or you handle the problem using a more traditional technical partner approach.
  • I don’t think that having total independence with tools and technologies is ideal (especially when you have a really big organization around you), but if you start standardizing one thing, it probably screws up the whole approach. In most cases, I’d say the main thing is being open about the choices and reasons. For example, this blog article explains why the team chose React and Rails for the Business Grants Portal project.

business case building public sector

Perttu Tolvanen View All →

Perttu Tolvanen is a Web Technologies & E-Commerce Expert at North Patrol. Perttu assists clients on early-phase service design, defining requirements, and in technology selections.