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 (https://www.mci.gov.sg/ic2020).
 
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