Malaysian Government Sprints with QUT Design Lab Professor Marcus Foth

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Malaysian Government Sprints with QUT Design Lab Professor Marcus Foth

Professor Marcus Foth was the invited keynote speaker at the 2017 Digital Leadership Exchange jointly organised by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Malaysian Public Administration Training Institute, and Malaysian Administration and Modernisation Planning Unit, held in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 September 2017. This year’s theme was “Enhancing Citizen Experience for Digital Government.”


Professor Foth’s keynote addressed 250 senior government leaders on the topic of “Digital Urban: Citizen Experiences in the Smart City.”


Ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, and big data come together to give rise to a new urban paradigm being celebrated by many technology corporations and municipalities alike: the smart city. Yet, the general tenor of the current hype around smart cities is mainly about growth and productivity through technology automation and the algorithmic analysis of big data.


Professor Foth argued that the citizen experience is key to the success of a smart city vision. City governments often invite people as participants in urban planning decision-making. Yet why limit people to just providing feedback to city governments as part of conventional community consultation processes? Genuine citizen engagement regards them as co-creators in an ongoing effort of collaborative citymaking.


In this keynote talk, Professor Marcus Foth unpacked the relationship between the digital and the urban experience. Using examples and case studies to illustrate his argument, he discussed the need for:

  • Urban policy and regulatory reform to enable co-creation;
  • Unlocking a city’s diversity advantage for fostering creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and;
  • Cohabitation – a new paradigm of urban sustainability in an age of climate change.


The keynote was well received by the audience who was invited to participate in a large-scale four hour design sprint led by Prof. Foth comprising 13 digital government related themes. The results from the design sprint exercise were presented in a plenary and are currently being analysed by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for translation into new projects and policy developments.