Boosting productivity and building innovation capabilities among enterprises in Singapore
With rising costs and an increasingly difficult business environment to operate in, enterprises are prioritizing productivity improvements. However, more than a third of SMEs in Singapore have yet to embark on their digitalization journey – a key aspect to boosting productivity levels. This is mostly due to the high financial commitment required to invest in digital solutions, limited long-term view, as well as organizational inertia to transform business operations.
As such, the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) was introduced in April 2018 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), to assist businesses in its transformation and productivity journey in accordance to the Industry Transformation Maps (ITM). PSG supports the mass adoption of various pre-scoped productivity and technology solutions to enhance SMEs’ business processes, across sectors including retail, food, precision engineering, and built environment. As one of the administering agencies of PSG, Enterprise Singapore was keen on assessing the impact and effectiveness of the PSG, identifying key drivers of impact and surfacing potential ways to better support SMEs in the continual improvement of the programme.
Eden was therefore commissioned to work closely with Enterprise Singapore to conduct this study. Eden’s approach centers around intimate engagement with SMEs through 129 in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations, to understand the unique pathways in innovating and improving productivity while modelling the outputs and outcomes of PSG solution adoption. The findings and insights were analysed through a rigorous process with the use of statistical methodologies including correlation, significance tests, and pivot analysis to systematically review the entire grant journey, to eventually establish key impact drivers.
From the study, Eden identified key areas for improvement and provided a series of strategic recommendations for Enterprise Singapore to better collect feedback, improve assurance of vendor quality, enable decision support for SMEs, and to reinforce existing partnerships that could best address the needs and feedback from SMEs. This will help to potentially enhance the digitalization journey for SME applicants and increases the incidence of positive impact which the grant will help to create.
"Enterprise Singapore commissioned the study as part of periodic programme review, to understand the impact on businesses since PSG’s launch in 2018 and identify areas for continual improvement and better management of the programme.
Calvin, Kim Yee and the team are deeply passionate in their work, demonstrating deep appreciation of the programme intent and design, study objectives as well as challenges faced by SMEs from the get-go. The team is dynamic, open and receptive to new ideas, resulting in a collaborative and effective working relationship.
We were also impressed with the team’s professionalism and effectiveness in building rapport and engaging SMEs in the in-depth interviews. By asking the right questions and effectively guiding SMEs in assessing their productivity and grant journey, we were able to gather rich data and relevant insights with real impact on policy decision making. Overall, it has been a pleasant experience working closely with the Eden team."
- Rebeca ONG, Assistant Development Partner, Enterprise Capabilities, Markets & Capability