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Tech Lead Journal

67 EpisodesProduced by Henry SuryawirawanWebsite

Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building… read more


#12 - Singapore's Open Government Products - Li Hongyi

“You can run an organization where you communicate clearly, and you treat people fairly, and you try to set people up for success. I have seen it work, and I can make that happen, and I remember that it is possible."

Hongyi is the Director of Open Government Products, a division of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore. He leads an experimental team of engineers, designers, and product managers who build technology for the public good, such as,, FormSG,, and Isomer.

In this episode, I had an inspiring chat with Hongyi about the Singapore government’s challenges in adopting new tech, including some major hurdles that he needed to overcome at the beginning. Hongyi then shared more about his team, Open Government Products (OGP), how he started the whole initiative, scaled it up, and importantly built some cool products that have brought tremendous impact to the public good. Hongyi also outlined his visions for OGP, that include open sourcing the products that his team has built for other governments to adopt and implement. He also touched on Singapore government’s challenges in terms of cloud adoption and hiring engineering talent. Do not miss Hongyi’s explanation on “bureaucratic deadlock” that he beautifully explained as one of the major challenges that he faced when starting OGP.

Listen out for:

  • Hongyi’s career journey - [00:04:36]
  • Singapore government’s challenges in adopting new tech - [00:13:33]
  • The biggest hurdles that Hongyi overcame at the beginning - [00:17:38]
  • Open Government Products (OGP) - [00:21:04]
  • How Open Government Products get approved - [00:24:08]
  • Examples of Open Government Products and the impact - [00:25:38]
  • How Hongyi scaled up OGP - [00:30:11]
  • OGP vision - [00:31:30]
  • Cloud adoption in Singapore government - [00:36:04]
  • Singapore government’s talent challenge - [00:39:42]
  • Hongyi’s 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:42:06]


Li Hongyi’s Bio
Hongyi is the Director of Open Government Products, a division of the Government Technology Agency of Singapore. He leads an experimental team of engineers, designers, and product managers who build technology for the public good. Projects they work on include,, and RedeemSG.

Prior to joining the public sector, Hongyi worked at Google on the distributed databases and image search teams. He previously attended MIT, where he obtained degrees in computer science and economics. In his free time, he works on personal projects like and

Follow Hongyi:

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