I would like to talk about the “LeaveHomeSafe” COVID surveillance system implemented in Hong Kong during the pandemic. During the pandemic, the government forced all citizens to use the system’s app and scan QR codes wherever they go to track their location. This is a change that failed miserably, and many things went wrong in its implementation which makes it a very bad example of change management.
Awareness: There was a lot of public discussion about what is the best way of pandemic surveillance, but the government did not go through public consultation and just announced that they decided to move ahead with a QR code system without justification. They also only announced that everyone required by law to use the system, without giving PSA about how to actually use the system. This left a lot of citizens confused as to “why” the system exist and “how” it should be used.
Desire: The government should be responsible for making the system convenient such that citizens are willing to use the system. However, the app is not very smart, and is very difficult to be operated especially by the elderly. Instead of improving user experience, the government only kept repeating that everyone is required by law to use the app. And so, everyone’s only reason to use the app is the force of legal deterrance. A lot of times people actually avoided using the app because they bet that no one will enforce the law, and the police would not just so happen to catch him. This makes the system ineffective.
Knowledge: As mentioned above, the awareness with the system among the public is weak to begin with. The government should be responsible for the education of the public regarding the system. However, there are no TV advertisements about how to use the app. Everyone in the city is just expected to “download the app and learn by themselves”. However, not everyone is tech-savvy enough to just know how to use an app. The government has failed to account for diversity in its population.
Ability: The government should be responsible in providing practical assistance and removing obstacles such that everyone has the ability to use the system, and if not, are still provided alternatives. However, there have only been legal enforcement of violations (the government charged people for not using the app). There were not enough people in public places to help people such as the elderly to use the app. When there is a change, the government should focus on enabling and helping people adapt with the change, instead of using an authoritarian approach to punish everyone not knowing how to adapt. This has put the government under a lot of criticism.
Reinforcement: When a change occurs, it is important to continue monitoring and reviewing it to see how it is implemented. However, even though the whole implemetation plan has been under fierce criticism by the Hong Kong public, the government has failed to listen to the public’s feedback and the app was never updated