Research Department to Be Established at eGov Jamaica Limited

Photo: Adrian Walker Senior Advisor in the Science, Energy and Technology Ministry, Trevor Forrest (centre), along with (from left) Sales Manager of Brands for IBM Caribbean, Pat Tomlinson; Client Manager of IBM World Trade Corporation Jamaica, Leona Atkins; Innovation Advisor of IBM World Trade Corporation Jamaica, Dr. Kala Fleming; and eGov Jamaica Limited, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Maurice Barnes. at the eGov Jamaica Limited Hackathon at the agency’s Old Hope Road offices in St. Andrew on February 15.

Story Highlights

  • A Research, Innovation and Product Development Department is be established at eGov Jamaica Limited to explore new technologies and methodologies for e-government services.
  • Its Chief Executive Officer, Maurice Barnes, informed that the new department, slated to come on stream in March, will also be responsible for prototyping new technologies, developing partnerships with educational institutions, tech companies, think thanks and also executing the first Government of Jamaica Hackathon.
  • “The Department will also be charged with developing blockchain and artificial intelligent solutions for Government. Ideas will be implemented, which will see increased efficiencies, transparency and trust in government operations and service delivery,” Mr. Barnes outlined.

A Research, Innovation and Product Development Department is be established at eGov Jamaica Limited to explore new technologies and methodologies for e-government services.

eGov is the entity responsible for implementing information and communications technology (ICT) projects across ministries, departments and agencies of the Government of Jamaica.

Its Chief Executive Officer, Maurice Barnes, informed that the new department, slated to come on stream in March, will also be responsible for prototyping new technologies, developing partnerships with educational institutions, tech companies, think thanks and also executing the first Government of Jamaica Hackathon.

A hackathon is a design event in which software developers, graphic designers, project managers, non-programmers and other subject-matter experts collaborate intensively to create ICT solutions.

“The Department will also be charged with developing blockchain and artificial intelligent solutions for Government. Ideas will be implemented, which will see increased efficiencies, transparency and trust in government operations and service delivery,” Mr. Barnes outlined.

He was speaking at an eGov Jamaica Limited two-day hackathon, staged in collaboration with IBM World Trade Corporation. The event was held at eGov’s Old Hope Road offices in St. Andrew on February 15.

Meanwhile, Senior Advisor in the Science, Energy and Technology Ministry, Trevor Forrest, said the hackathon represents an outlet for building a knowledge-based digital society where Jamaicans become the innovators and creators of technology.

Mr. Forrest, who represented Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, urged participants to move their innovation from a “minimum viable product” to an actual product, “which is what we want to achieve”.

For her part, Innovation Advisor of IBM World Trade Corporation Jamaica, Dr. Kala Fleming, hailed eGov Jamaica Limited’s management for staging the hackathon.

She said the initiative is the culmination of a journey that began several months ago, adding that “as eGov looks to become the digital innovation centre of excellence for the Government of Jamaica, surely the foundation has been laid”.

“As Jamaicans have done in many other areas, let us push the envelope on this one to demonstrate to other governments across the region what digital innovation is all about,” she added.

The eGov Jamaica Limited hackathon, now under way, consists of nine teams comprising employees within the entity competing for prizes to develop solutions such as websites, applications and other innovations to address the issues of national security, national disaster preparedness and traffic management using movement data.

It is expected that following the development of these innovations, eGov will seek to engage the requisite agencies or entities of Government to enhance the products for market.

Other outcomes include greater networking with like-minded people, such as mentors, and lessons learnt to host more hackathons involving a wider stakeholder group.

Event sponsors included IBM, Digicel Jamaica Limited, Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa, Royal Computers, Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records and Bascho Trading Company Limited.

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