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MCI Insights Conference 2020

Creating New Opportunities, Forging a Thriving Digital Future for All

  • What is the MCI Insights Conference?

    Creating New Opportunities, Forging a Thriving Digital Future for All

    The MCI Insights Conference is a platform that brings together industry leaders, social advocates and academia to discuss how the Government can partner industry and community stakeholders to “Transform Our Economy Through Digital Innovation”; and “Build An Inclusive Digital Society”. We aim to ensure that every Singaporean, regardless of their background and starting point, will be able to seize opportunities in the digital economy, and to thrive in our shared digital future. 


  • Programme and Speakers

    The MCI Insights Conference, held on 16 November 2020, featured keynote presentations and dialogues with industry and community partners, on two key themes – (i) Transforming Our Economy Through Digital Innovation; and (ii) Building an Inclusive Digital Society.

    Overall Programme

    9.00 am Opening Remarks by Mr S Iswaran
    Minister for Communications and Information

    Moderated Dialogue with Minister
    Moderator: Ms Lin Diaan-Yi, Senior Partner and Managing Partner, Singapore Office, McKinsey & Company
    Track 1     Track 2
    10.00 am Keynote
    Transforming Business through Innovation and Technologies

    Moderated by:
    Ms Jane Lim
    Assistant Chief Executive, IMDA Featuring:
    • Mr Aaron Wong
      CEO Paypal Pte Ltd (Singapore)
    • Dr Ayesha Khanna
      Co-Founder and CEO, ADDO AI
    • Mr Russell Tham
      Senior Managing Director, Temasek
    • Mr Zhou Junjie
      Chief Commercial Officer, Shopee and CEO, Shopee Singapore 

    The Future of Content Creation

    Moderated by:
    Mr Howie Lau
    Assistant Chief Executive, IMDA

    • Mr Karl Mak
      Co-Founder, SGAG
    • Ms Tham Loke Kheng
      CEO, Mediacorp
    • Mr Vivek Couto
      Executive Director, Media Partners Asia
    11.00 am

    Dialogue with Industry Partners
    Helping Workers and Businesses Adapt to the New Normal

    Moderated by:
    Mr Kiren Kumar
    Executive Vice President, DISG

    • Mr Martin Chee
      Managing Director, IBM
    • Mr Patrick Tay
      Assistant Secretary-General, NTUC
    • Ms Teo Lay Lim
      Chairman, Accenture Singapore
    • Mr Yuen Kuan Moon
      Group CEO-Designate, CEO Consumer Singapore, and Group Chief Digital Officer, Singtel 

    Dialogue with Industry Partners
    Digital Inclusion after COVID-19: Access, Skills, Mindsets

    Moderated by:
    Mr Aaron Maniam
    Deputy Secretary, MCI

    • Ms Melissa Kwee
      CEO, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)
    • Mr James Tan
      CEO, Touch Community Services
    • Mr Johann Annuar
      Executive Director, Engineering Good
    • Mr Ng Cher Pong
      Chief Executive, NLB
    12.00 pm

    Closing Remarks by
    Ms Yong Ying-I
    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information

  • Pre-conference Panels

    4 virtual panel discussions, helmed by IMDA and NLB, were held in the lead-up to the Insights Conference. These virtual panel discussions allowed for deep and insightful conversations with industry and community stakeholders around the themes for the MCI Insights Conference.

    Date Panels

    4 Nov Creating Lifelong Learning Communities 


    This session explored the definition and general perception of lifelong learning, and how Singapore and organisations can foster a learning culture that motivates citizens and individuals to embrace learning as a way of life. It also discussed how libraries and archives could move towards omni-channel modalities and how libraries could work with the public, partners and volunteers to co-create an inclusive community where knowledge and learning would be accessible to all, including the vulnerable and the marginalised. 

    6 Nov Innovation, Opportunity, Talent: What Lies Ahead in our Journey for Digital Transformation with SMS Janil Puthucheary



    The sessions examined how industry, the research ecosystem and the Government could work together to develop and deploy digital solution to power the next bound of growth. The sessions also focused on how industry and the Government could partner and collaborate to prepare the workforce for the future amid challenges through reskilling and job redesign. 

    6 Nov Building an Inclusive Digital Society with SMS Sim Ann: An Emerging Stronger Conversation on Digital Readiness


    This session discussed how digital inclusion is no longer just a priority but an imperative and how the industry, community and Government could work together to ensure a baseline of digital access and skills, and to change mindsets. 

    13 Nov Content is King: An Insight into the Impact and Power of Media 


    The sessions examined the evolution of content, its impact on the media value chain, and the role of industry players government in shaping content creation for the future. The sessions also focused on the role and responsibility of media in shaping social discourse through content creation and stakeholder engagement. 

  • Post-event FAQs


    I attended the Insights Conference and have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Whom should I contact? 
    Please reach out to immediately. 


    Will there be photos or videos of the MCI Insights Conference? Can we use them?
    Photos and highlights video can be found on MCI’s social media pages after 16 November. Please credit “Ministry of Communications and Information” should you use any of the content.

    For any other queries, please feel free to drop an email to

  • Minister S Iswaran’s Opening Speech at MCI Insights Conference

    Minister Iswaran at Insights Conference

    Distinguished Guests
    Ladies and Gentlemen

    Introduction –  Digital Watershed

    1. Good morning everyone, and welcome to the MCI Insights Conference 2020.

    2. Many of our partners are here today and I know we also have many who are dialing in. Thank you very much for joining us at this MCI Insights Conference. We wanted to go ahead and do this, continuing the tradition of having this annual event by MCI with our partners because regardless of the challenges that we face, it is important that we continue with our long-term mission whilst we address the immediate challenges. Let me get going on a quick summary of some broad initiatives that we have undertaken and we want to undertake, and more importantly, register with you why we are doing some of the things we are doing.

    3. Firstly, digitalisation is not a new thing. It has been in our lexicon for quite some time. In 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the Smart Nation initiative, and we have since launched many programmes. But the pace of adoption of digitalisation has been quite varied across sectors, across enterprises and across individuals. So, I would say that COVID-19 and these past six months, have really been a digital watershed. What I mean by watershed – well, the data shows. 

    4. The number of SMEs going digital has more than doubled over the past six months. We were starting from a low base for nationwide e-invoicing but the fact that there is a twentyfold increase of growth is impressive, and e-payment transactions have more than tripled. Many of us who are well-aware in the industry, talked about how changes we expected to take place over the next two to three years have been compressed into six months, and this really demonstrates it. If you look at our own WhatsApp messaging service, there was an exponential growth in the number of subscribers. We started with 7,000 in January 2020 and it is at about 1.2 million subscribers now. NLB’s eBooks loans increased as well, especially during the Circuit Breaker period. The downside is that while digital exposure has increased, malicious phishing is also higher, doubling the number compared to the previous period. Again, this is where a lot of the effort we are undertaking in cybersecurity is key. 

    5. The crux of this is that digitalisation has hit home. There was an element of complacency but that has been very quickly overtaken by events, and many have seen a mindset change. I describe it this way because when I was talking to some SMEs several years back – I have had these conversations for some time now as you know – they would give me a polite hear but I know that they were thinking differently. These days, it is very different.  I would say how it has evolved is from “no need to have”, to “nice to have”, to “good to have” and now, “must have”.

    6. The mindsets have changed indelibly, and the shift is undeniable but what it means now is this – execution is key. We have to change the ideas, turn the plans into actions and outcomes on the ground. That is the crux of it – whether we are talking about individuals taking charge, companies taking charge of their own plans and Government programmes at the national level. This is going to be the essence. 

    7. Let me start by saying that we are in uncharted waters. The terrain is fluid and dynamic – that is why the theme of this conference is particularly relevant because we are talking about creating new opportunities, forging a thriving digital future for all, and working in partnership so that everyone can succeed in this endeavour to create a shared digital future for all. That is our focus, mission and something in which we hope all of you will continue to be our abiding partners.

    Laying Strong Foundations

    8. Let me start with the foundations. We have laid strong foundations for our digital future through our digital infrastructure. A key initiative is the 5G system – we are going to have two nationwide 5G networks by 2025 and 50% coverage in two years. This is key because it is going to be the backbone of our digital economy. We are already doing use-case trials, working with solution providers, end users and the telcos. Complementing the 5G effort is cybersecurity because as the digital footprint expands, with it comes the risk of cyberthreats. If you go beyond that, we are looking at data. Data is the key resource for the digital economy, and we want to create that strong foundation of data infrastructure. 

    9. One case in point which demonstrates how we are working with the industry and addressing the data initiatives is the Emerging Stronger Taskforce’s Alliance for Action (AfA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation. A group of private sector partners involved in the supply chain have come together to look at the pain points and issues that need to be addressed, and what can we do about it from the Government working with the private sector perspective. 

    10. One key area they have identified is the need for common data infrastructure for trusted and secure sharing of data across the supply chain. We all know the supply chain and the logistics sector and if you look at the entire way economic value chains are being restructured, and along with them the digital flows as well; it is inevitable that the supply chains have to adapt and one important adaptation is how they go digital. We have had other initiatives like TradeTrust, where we have trust frameworks for digitalising documents. But here, the common data infrastructure aims to bring together different players across the value chain like companies involved in the logistics, the MNCs, the large local enterprises and SMEs, our banks and financial institutions involved in trade financing and even the customs regulators. This will eliminate the paper flow and increase the data flow, enhance clarity and ability to assess; and obliviate the need for paper documentation to validate transactions and the movement of products. This is a key thing for a financial institution.

    11. I am very proud to share with you that this is an important ground-up initiative from the private sector which IMDA, MCI and other Government agencies will fully support it. I want to, at this point, acknowledge two partners in particular from the private sector who have led this initiative – Group CEO of PSA, International Mr Tan Chong Meng, and CEO-APAC of Trafigura, Mr Tan Chin Hwee. Thank you very much.

    12. The last part of this data infrastructure is complementing the digital infrastructure with regulation because we need good regulatory infrastructure. We just moved the amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). A key challenge is finding that balance between personal data protection versus legitimate use by enterprises. This is our key challenge and so what we have done in the amendments to the PDPA is on the one hand, make it easier for companies to use the data, make it clearer and more certain for them the terms and the basis on which they should do so. On the other hand, heighten the assurance to our broader citizen population on how their personal data will be protected with clearer regulations, on what we expect companies to do before they use the data.

    13. We are also working on the Electronics Transactions Act, because this is a complementary move to create greater certainty for electronic documentation to support economic transactions.

    Investing in Enterprises

    14. Let me now move to what we are doing with our enterprises. SMEs Go Digital was launched in 2017, about three years ago. Today, we have more than 50,000 SMEs benefiting from it, roughly about a quarter of our enterprise space, but we should really be doing more. You have seen adoption numbers doubled in the last six months, so that ratio should be getting quite close to some serious numbers – it is a proportion of our base by some time next year. Again, a lot rests with our SMEs and the SME owners themselves.

    15. Another area is Grow Digital, which helps companies use digital platforms to go international, and we have about 1,400 SMEs that have come onboard. This was only launched in June this year, so this is quite a good take-up rate. We also have the Digital Resilience Bonus to help companies, especially in sectors that are hard hit like retail like food services, to adopt digital technologies and to find solutions. We also already have good take-up rate in terms of this initiative. 

    Investing in our Workforce

    16. Let me turn now to our workforce because at the end of the day, we want to create opportunities for people in this new digital economy in the digital environment, and ICT has been the bright spot. We have created about 18,000 ICT jobs and skills opportunities – these are listed on the SG United Jobs and Skills Package which was put up in April 2020 and it continues to grow. Importantly, we are broadening TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA). About 5,500 locals will be trained in emerging and common technologies – we are talking about tech heavy or deep tech capabilities like Product Management, Software Engineering, Data Science and also, some of the tech light or tech complements like business and creative competencies. Essentially, Digital Marketing and Business Analytics are other areas which we want to develop in our people, as a capability to support the broader digital ecosystem. 

    17. IMDA and DISG have been working closely with many companies on the TeSA Company-Led Training because in the end, we think companies leading this effort are going to make the biggest impact because they will be able to validate the value of the training that has been received. Digital giants, like Google, have partnered with us. Google’s Skills Ignition SG programme will train about 3000 Singaporeans in areas like Digital Marketing and Cloud Technology. While it is not entirely altruistic as there are also roles that serve their own ecosystem, interests and purposes; it is alright as long as we can find common cause and put together. Similarly, local unicorns like Sea Limited (Shopee is one of their entities) is working with us to hire and train 500 entry-level and mid-career professionals.

    Investing in our People

    18. Let me finally turn to investing in our people, because it is not just about the infrastructure, the businesses and the workforce – it is also about the larger society. We need to take an inclusive approach if we are to take the whole society with us in this major transformation that is taking place in Singapore. 

    19. We have launched a nationwide digitalisation movement, epitomised by the establishment of the SG Digital Office which was only set up in June this year. In four to five months, the team has accomplished a great deal. There are 1,000 Digital Ambassadors embedded on the ground in the different constituencies, different community centres, working with the people at the ground level. There are 60 SG Digital Community Hubs, and there are also 150 roving counters as well. What we are doing is basically from the last mile to the last inch. In other words, to the digital extremities. We may have gone digital, but we have not gone metric, yet in our analogies, so we shall stick to wasting two miles and inches for now, if people understand that better. 

    20. What does it mean? We have 40,000 seniors who have been reached so far. Our aim is to reach 100,000. Stallholders – they are really one of the smallest business units you can find in Singapore. So far, 8,400 of them have used the SGQR unified e-payment solution. If a hawker can do it, anyone can do it or should be able to do it. We want to reach the next phase through the Heartlands Go Digital and our aim is to reach 20,000 heartland businesses. In other words, really reach out socially and economically in order to bring everyone together.  

    21. The thrust is really this – we want to work with all our partners in building this safe and inclusive digital future by investing in digital access and skills, in lifelong digital learning and also in online safety and wellness.

    Partners for a Shared Digital Future

    22. To achieve this, we need partnerships with all of you. In the lead up to this, we had some pre-conference sessions, led by various members of the MCI team. One was on innovation, opportunity and talent, chaired by SMS Janil Puthucheary. The focus was on how to combine the head, heart and hand in the future of work and how companies are supporting this by nurturing digital and soft skills as well as advocating for physical and mental wellness.

    23. We had another session chaired by Chief Executive of the National Library Board Ng Cher Pong on creating lifelong learning communities, and the emphasis was on how this has to be nurtured in schools, workplaces and in the community. It also requires a spirit to unlearn, relearn and continue learning.

    24. SMS Sim Ann led an Emerging Stronger Conversation on digital readiness, and they discussed the acronym, TECH – Togetherness, Education, Contribution and Heart. The execution and how we get it done is key and it is about helping those who are digitally marginalised access the resources through technology.

    25. There was a session on content led by Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Communications and Information Aaron Maniam. It was about how the virtual space is challenging our existing assumptions about how we do not need to think of our physical size as a binding constraint. It allows us to really overcome that, transcend that, and reach out to maximise the potential of Singapore. However, we do need to reallocate our resources for this to focus on innovation and digital pushes.

    26. In sum, the digital terrain is a fluid one. We all know that. We also know that it offers many opportunities, but it is unpredictable. There may be winners, there may be losers. We need to make sure that as far as possible, we enable as many of our enterprises and our workers to be on the right side of that ledger. To do that, deep and broad partnerships are key, so that we have the ability to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks, given the nature of the challenges that we are undertaking.

    27. So, where are the areas we can work together to tap on this collective expertise? I just wanted to touch on this briefly and then we can take it up in conversation. Essentially, we need to broaden the way we work together, because the environment is challenging, it is fluid; and we are seeing significant flux. 

    28. First, ideation – coming up with new possibilities, regardless of the possible constraints that you may encounter; and starting to generate that. This is where we need the partnership with the private sector and I have shared with you, for example, what the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation came up with. If we were burdened by constraints, we would not generate solutions or ideas like that. The crux of it is to have the confidence to generate new ideas and working in close partnership.

    29. Second, innovation – turning these sorts of initial ideas and research efforts into value. Just as an example, what we are doing in 5G use-cases by working with our partners, the telcos, the end users and the solution providers; illustrates how we can go about this. Taking it from the lab, from R&D into market, into outcomes and value. 

    30. Third is in execution or implementation of the programmes. What we are doing with the SG Digital Office is that we have worked with corporate partners and community partners to help us reach out into the broader community. We need to do more of this. I am just using our SG Digital Office as one example of the way we are doing so.

    31. Finally, inclusion – making sure that we are able to bring every member of our society together with us in this journey. Again, this is an area where we have scope for partnership, whether it is in making sure that they are informed, that they have the capacity. Whether it is the devices or the digital access and beyond. How can we work together to raise this capacity so that everybody has a role in this future. 

    32. Ideation, innovation, implementation and inclusion. These are some of the key pillars we can work around. I am very open to more ideas and my colleagues at MCI will be very happy to work with all of you in this effort. 

    33. I want to end by thanking all of you for answering the call to action, because many of you have already been working with us in different ways. It has made a big impact, in terms of the outcomes you have been able to achieve on the ground, and we are looking forward to working closer with all of you so that we emerge stronger together in a digital future. 

    34. Thank you very much for joining us. 


  • PS Yong Ying-I's Closing Speech at MCI Insights Conference

    PS Yong Ying-I at Insights Conference

    1. First, my job really is to say thank you to all of you - those who are here, physically, as well as those who are participating virtually - for being here. I hope that for those who are here, despite the inconveniences imposed by COVID-19, you have found this format an interesting one, and you are glad to be out and about again.

    2. I wanted to express my appreciation to all the people who have taken part in our Insights Conference. I am told we have 500 participants here today, both physically here as well as joining us virtually. Our earlier conferences had 180 participants. I just want to mention briefly the participants -  IMDA and NLB’s Board of Directors, advisory panels and committees, the labour movement, SG Tech Council Members, the many companies who support our SG:Digital friends, our various training and innovation programmes, our Singapore Fund for Digital Readiness, Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors, members of the Asia Video Industry Association, amongst others. Thank you all for your participation. Your support has every meaning to us and we are really glad that you are here.

    3. Let me share very briefly, four things I thought we definitely agreed on, and then I will share four of my insights.

    4. What I think we agreed on - I think we agree that digitalisation has hit home. Everyone understands Internet access today, not least because of work from home, and the need to use Trace Together and Safe Entry to go about. There has been a massive spurt in Singapore and I think around the world on digital services during our Circuit Breaker and what the rest of the world called “lockdown”. My minister said briefly - “from nice to do, good to do, to must do”. And I think just about every restaurant, home-based baker, and micro-retailer now participates in online sales and online delivery. So many friends and my own mother told me that they were joining in last week's 11:11 sales. I think the world has changed.

    5. Second, I think Singapore has laid strong foundations for digital to take off. Digitally-mature sectors like financial services, professional services, all adjusted quite smoothly to remote working. For that matter, our international legal arbitrations just went online. Nothing changed. Life just carried on. Our entire education system, from primary school all the way to universities, pivoted online. This did not happen in a crisis. Strong foundations have been laid which allowed this happened. On the Government’s part, we put in the connectivity infrastructure, we systematically invested in enabling enterprises, we helped people go online.

    6. What is the next point, having laid the foundations having agreed digital is hit home? It is now about executing well. We can have good ideas. We can want to do it. But making it happen is different. Many enterprises have told us they want to go digital, but they do not know how. Many of us here who work in the sector have a lot of exciting work ahead to help companies tackle the execution challenges.

    7. The fourth thing I think we all agreed on is that we can achieve much more if we work together. Singapore's weakness and Singapore’s strength is that we are small. One of the things about being small is that we sometimes say we can bring the whole system into one room. I think we have maybe brought a very big part of the system into today's conference. If we can do integrated solutioning across the whole value chain, I think Singapore can turn that into a stronger competitive advantage in the digital world.

    8. Now let me share a few thoughts about my own insights.

    9. One insight was that it is important to have ambition and to seize international opportunities. I was very struck by the speakers today as well as in our earlier pre-conference panels about Singapore's ability to compete globally. They were very optimistic. I welcome their optimism and ambition. But everybody agreed that it cannot be business as usual. Tech offers totally new business models and new opportunities. Tech bifurcation is expected to continue. It will realign supply chains.

    10. Yesterday, our leaders signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) - something that has been worked on for over 10 years. And you know, it is wonderful that has finally happened. But all this show that business models are changing. But then it also tells us we can create new opportunities. I was thinking to myself, as our SMEs sell online, they learn now that they can actually sell to us and deliver to us online in Circuit Breaker - why limit ourselves to only Singapore? If Lim Chee Guan Bak Kwa can now deliver to me, why can’t they deliver to Malaysia, or the world? They vacuum pack.

    11. So, it is about ambition. It is about mindset. COVID-19 and the deep recession have actually generated a huge reset for us and for the world. But this is where we must not be complacent, because many other countries are getting it. If the ASEAN Summit can happen totally virtually online,  chaired by Vietnam, it shows that many countries who have digital access can potentially outpace Singapore in terms of where we have been competitively. So we have to move fast. Now Southeast Asia, which we live in the middle of, is one of the world's most attractive growth markets. It has a rising middle class and rising incomes. Singapore companies should aspire to be regional players to tap on the market demand opportunities in the region. If they can reach Southeast Asia, they can then think about reaching further – America or Africa. But in all cases, our people must learn about what these markets need. It is not a question of saying  we can go global, but what do these customers want?

    12. Our companies here have said, our people, our talent, must spend time overseas to learn about regional perspectives, to be exposed to diverse working cultures. They say it is about talent.  Mr Oliver Tan, CEO of ViSenze said, “My company now works remotely. I use global AI talent from many countries to support me.” Mr Karl Mak, CEO of the HEPMIL Media Group said, “I've been working with independent content creators across Southeast Asia, to sell them content to other parts of the region. They are not even in Singapore.” Many of our people have said, our talent is now much more internationally oriented than they used to be. They can also take part in this global talent business. Many of our panellists expressed hope that this crisis will create a new generation of entrepreneurs who are resilient, adaptable, innovative, and they will have the business and tech know-how to build the next generation of unicorns. That was one insight about ambition and seizing international opportunities.

    13. A second insight - I talked about together bringing the system into one room. I think we can do well if we learn to leverage our ecosystem and innovation capabilities. I think this can be our strength. The Government is working on the building of the ecosystem with regulation standards. My Minister talked about Tan Chong Meng and Tan Chin Hwee leading the common data infrastructure for the trade and logistics sector. If companies decide that they will get on board this, they will work together then they can jointly share in the benefits. But they have to choose to come on board.

    14. So I do hope that Singapore being the size it is, we will be able to get members of the ecosystem to choose to come together. Enterprises could do more to take advantage of the knowledge generation capabilities Singapore's already built. We have research institutes and institutes of higher learning. If you could partner these institutes to translate your research into commercial products and services, we will generate new value. Mr Russell Tham of Temasek was talking earlier that as technology accelerates, he believes that we can capture value from AI and data will become more commercially viable. Dr Ayesha Khanna emphasised the need to have bold leadership and clear strategies in order to capture this value. Some others spoke about enterprises themselves needing to strengthen the ops-tech capability. There may be these technical capabilities but operational managers also  need to learn how to work with technologists so that they can translate the technology into the actual products and services.

    15. Ms Tham Loke Kheng, CEO of Mediacorp was sharing how Mediacorp has leveraged AR storytelling and data analytics to improve audience interaction. She was sharing with me how Mediacorp has been using AI to quickly recast the news from the mainstream TV news to other platforms. AI will cast it very quickly within minutes to formats that work for YouTube, their Channel NewsAsia app and Instagram, and so on and so forth. Enterprises can partner tech companies to do this faster, rather than trying to build it all in-house. Mr Aaron Wong, CEO of PayPal Singapore, talked about how SMEs use of digital payments and platforms have helped them access international customers much faster. Mr Zhou Junjie of Shopee shared how Shopee’s livestream features can help offline businesses engage customers interactively, through virtual interactive marketing. So you can try your clothes on virtually without actually going to the store. These are new capabilities that what we call normal physical businesses are not going to be able to do quickly. But by working with tech partners, you are able to move faster.

    16. Third insight from me – It is about people. We have to develop a digitally-savvy workforce. We also have to develop a digitally-savvy society. There have been many insights shared about how to upskill our workforce and bring everybody in society on board. But we did agree because we are reaching so many people, it cannot be one size fits all. It needs all of us to cover this canvas. Because we have to build expert tech specialists. We have to build skilled tech professionals of all types. We have to have tech-lite roles. We have to have corporate leaders and management teams learn ops-tech. We have to reach the big companies all the way down to the micro-enterprises. We have to bring on board the seniors and the vulnerable groups. We cannot just do this like we approach it as a technical issue. We cannot say well, we run the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) training programmes or technical programmes and hey, presto, it will work.

    17. Many people here – the panel that just finished – Mr Martin Chee and Ms Teo Lay Lim - also spoke about how we need empathy and understanding of soft skills, in order to reach the people we are trying to teach and to help seniors effectively. Mr James Tan, the CEO of Touch was talking about the importance of patience, and quality of physical engagement. It is not just a matter of the head, it is a matter of hands and heart as well. Minister Iswaran  talked about the acronym that the earlier panels had been talking about – that TECH stands for Together, Educate, Contribute with Heart. I quite like that.

    18. My fourth and last insight is - it takes partnerships and trust. I think success in implementing the solutions we discussed today requires close partnership between all of us - industry, community partners, and the Government. None of us can do it alone. We are stronger together. These partnerships must be built on mutual trust. Trust that all of us are looking at issues increasingly with a shared perspective. That we understand how others see the issues, not just how we see it originally. That  we trust each other by working together, by helping each other overcome difficult challenges. And gradually we appreciate that we're all on the same side.

    19. Let me end this closing with a reiteration of a couple of points that Minister Iswaran mentioned very briefly. Today's conference is the Insights Conference, so I am going to summarise the conclusions in a number of  “I’s”.

    20. The first “I” is Innovation and Ideation. Enterprises can and should accelerate the innovation by leveraging IP from our Research Institutes (RIs) and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), from leveraging data. Because competition in the region is accelerating, we cannot stand still. 

    21. The second is International. Our local enterprises should go international and we need to have the ambition to do this and aspire to break boundaries.

    22. The third “I” is Informed Individuals. We really need to bring the whole of Singapore together to embrace lifelong learning as a way of life. We must have an informed citizenry that can make use of the opportunities of the digital age, while staying safe from cyber threats and misinformation.

    23. The fourth “I” is Inclusion. The Government has a strong commitment to build an inclusive society that no one will be left behind. We also believe that enterprises should work together within the sector and across sectors as well, so that the system can move effectively, because that probably is Singapore's competitive strength.

    24. And the fifth and last “I” I would mention is Implementation for Impact. We learn and adapt agilely during the journey, and we continually test our ideas against what actually happened. We adapt and we pivot, if necessary. That is how we know we will ultimately deliver impact. With your partnerships, I am confident that we will surmount the challenges with optimism and determination, and we will forge a thriving digital future for all together.

    25. Thank you all very much. Thank you for coming. Have a great rest of the day. 


  • Announcement: Emerging Stronger Together Alliance for Action on Supply Chain Digitalisation - Plans for a Common Data Infrastructure (CDI)

    The Alliance for Action (AfA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation was formed to examine how stakeholders in the supply chain ecosystem can come together to seize opportunities amidst a global crisis. 

    One of the AfA’s key initiatives is the development of a common data infrastructure. Over the past three months, the AfA has engaged more than 50 supply chain players, ranging from multinational corporations (MNCs) and large local enterprises (LLEs), to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), startups, and government agencies, to identify pain points, opportunities and solutions across the supply chain customer journey. Based on findings from these engagements, the AfA identified the need for a common data infrastructure to facilitate trusted and secure data sharing among industry players. This can in turn enable use cases to drive resilience and efficiency, such as by strengthening trade finance and supporting the decongestion of container flow nodes. IMDA and other government agencies will work with the AfA on a pilot to develop this common data infrastructure.

    For more information, please click here.



  • Press Release: MCI Insights Conference

    MCI deepens partnerships with the industry and community to co-create a thriving digital future for all

    The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) hosted its first Insights Conference at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre today. Themed “Creating New Opportunities, Forging a Thriving Digital Future for All”, the Conference brought together more than 500 industry leaders, social advocates and academia both virtually and physically, to discuss how the Government can work closely with industry and community stakeholders to chart the course for digital transformation across the economy and society, so Singapore can emerge more resilient, inclusive and stronger post COVID-19. 

    2. Speaking at the conference, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran highlighted that digital transformation is now a well-established norm. He said, “The crux of this is that digitalisation has hit home. The mindsets have changed indelibly, and the shift is undeniable, but what it means now is this – execution is key. We have to change the ideas, turn the plans into actions and outcomes on the ground. That is why the theme of this conference is particularly relevant because we are talking about creating new opportunities, forging a thriving digital future for all, and working in partnership so that everyone can succeed in this endeavour to create a shared digital future for all.” 

    3. Minister Iswaran also emphasised that partnership is key, not just in execution but also in ideation, to forge a shared digital future. He said, “We want to work with all our partners in building this safe and inclusive digital future by investing in digital access and skills, in lifelong digital learning and also in online safety and wellness. We need to make sure that as far as possible, we enable as many of our enterprises and our workers to be on the right side of that ledger. To do that, deep and broad partnerships are key, so that we have the ability to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks, given the nature of the challenges that we are undertaking.” 

    4. Minister Iswaran also announced the common data infrastructure initiative conceptualised by the Emerging Stronger Taskforce’s Alliance for Action (AfA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation, to facilitate trusted and secure data sharing between supply chain players to drive efficiency, productivity and resilience through information flows across the ecosystem. The initiative is an example of how Government agencies and industry stakeholders have come together to build a robust data infrastructure for the digital economy. Over the past three months, the AfA has convened more than 50 supply chain players from the industry and government agencies to jointly identify pain points, opportunities and solutions across the end-to-end supply chain customer journey.

    5. The Conference also featured keynote presentations and dialogues for two concurrent tracks – an economic track themed “Transforming Our Economy Through Digital Innovation”, and a social track themed “Building An Inclusive Digital Society”. The economic track facilitated discussions with industry players on transforming businesses through innovation and technologies, and helping workers and businesses adapt to the new normal. The social track focused on discussions with media players and community partners on the future of content creation and digital inclusion post COVID-19. Please refer to Annex A for details on the conference keynote speeches and dialogues. 

    6. MCI’s Permanent Secretary Yong Ying-I acknowledged the diversity of discussion throughout the event, and the consensus on the challenges that Singapore faces. She said, “Implementing these solutions is a test of our ability to collaborate in an increasingly polarised world. Singapore’s success hinges on close partnership between industry, community partners and the Government. Our best chance at navigating our challenges is together. Our work is just beginning, and all of us have a critical role to play… But with your support, I am confident that we will surmount the challenges to forge a thriving digital future for all”. 

    7. In the lead-up to the Conference, four virtual pre-conference discussions were organised, helmed by IMDA and NLB, to provide a platform for deep and insightful conversations with industry and community stakeholders. Key recommendations arising from these discussions included the need to seize external opportunities and be internationally competitive; the Government’s role in developing the necessary regulations and standards to nurture a healthy tech ecosystem; the need to embrace lifelong learning as a way of life; and the need for enterprises to strengthen innovation capabilities.  Please refer to Annex B for details on the pre-conference panel discussions. 

    8. More information on the Conference is available on the MCI website (


  • Emerging Stronger Together for a Shared Digital Future

    Singapore’s success in the Digital Future hinges on the close collaboration between industry stakeholders, community partners and the Government, to turn conversations into action. See how the these partnerships make a difference in the lives of all Singaporean businesses, workers, and individuals.



  • Conference Highlights

    Curious about what happened during the MCI Insights Conference? Find out more here: 



  • Embracing digitalisation during COVID-19

    Mothership shared how they turned to digital tools and video conferencing during the pandemic. Mothership also shared their take on how Singaporeans have adapted to digitalisation in the new normal. 

    The video is a Mothership production for the MCI-Insight Conference 2020.



  • Photos

    Please feel free to use or share any of these photos. Please credit “Ministry of Communications and Information” should you use any of these photos.

    Check out the photos here