Singapore Institute of Directors Directors’ Conference 2016 Showcased the Best of Digital Disruptors and Innovation

Singapore Institute of Directors Directors’ Conference 2016
Showcased the Best of Digital Disruptors and Innovation

Event highlights include guest-of-honor address by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information; plenary and breakout tracks on disruption trends; a “Digital Den” exhibition; and featured speakers including ex-Xerox chief scientist Dr John Seely Brown, IDA’s Jacqueline Poh, Mr Khoo Boon Hui, Former INTERPOL President, and many more.

[Singapore, 5 September 2016] – SID, the national association of company directors promoting the professional development of directors and corporate leaders, today set in motion its seventh annual Directors’ Conference.

Themed “Digital Disruption”, the Conference addressed the disruptive magnitude and pace of the opportunities and challenges of the digital age. The topic continued the focus of past conferences on the major trends that impact the board’s role in ensuring value creation and the performance of their companies.

Digital is the defining trend of the times, and it has the reached the stage where the innovative use of exponential technologies has become a major disruptor to businesses and the economy. The subject featured prominently in PM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally 2016 address. He cited disruption as the “defining challenge facing the Singapore economy”.

Minister Yaacob Ibrahim followed up on this by adding: “Going digital plays to our strengths. With technology, we are able to transcend our physical limitations – in land, labour, and market size. We are no longer strapped for space when our businesses can tap on storehouse options in China or India. New developments in software and hardware allow one employee to manage comfortably what it once took three people to do. And with digital connectivity, home-grown companies can now be born with a global market in mind.”

Mr Willie Cheng, chairman of SID, emphasised the role of the board in dealing with the “exponential technological change and the resulting massive business opportunities with accompanying massive risk of being disrupted or cyber attacked”. SID been taking the position that the board has a dual role: conformance and performance. Mr Cheng said that digital disruption plays to both roles: “Digital transformation harks to the performance role, while managing the risk of cyber attacks and the risk of irrelevance from being disrupted harks to the conformance role”.

The one-day event, which took place at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, brought together more than 900 local, regional and global company directors, and government and business leaders, for intense sessions of education, networking and inspiration on the dual aspects of digital disruption: the bright side (transformation of businesses and industries) and the dark side (cyber threats).

Speakers and panellists shared their perspectives on the impact of the digital tsunami on companies and industries, and how boards can respond. In addition to the plenary and concurrent breakout tracks, the “Digital Den”, which exhibited technologies, products and services of over 25 companies that are surviving and thriving in the digital age. Participants discovered and could get hands-on with some of these technologies in a trade fair setting.

The conference featured discussions led by more than 50 government and corporate leaders and digital movers and shakers including Mr Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive of IDA, Dr Terry O’Connor, Group CEO of Courts Asia and Mr Reuben Lai, Group Head of Business Development and Partnerships of Grab, who along with keynote speaker, John Seely Brown aka “Chief of Confusion” shared insights on ways to strengthen corporate-consumer-government experience, innovate with technology and engineer and build trust in “digital matters”, echoing the larger Singapore’s Smart Nation masterplan as highlighted in Dr Yaacob Ibrahim’s opening remarks.

SID Directors’ Conference 2016 highlights included:

  • Thought leading insights on the many facets of digital disruption
  • State of the industry address by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information
·         Keynote address challenging participants on their response to the digital tsunami by Dr John Seely Brown, Chief of Confusion and Co-Chairman, Deloitte Centre for the Edge
  • Eight breakout sessions, focusing especially on digital disruption in four industry sectors: banking, public transport, hospitality and retail
  • More than 25 exhibits featuring robots, virtual reality, and a slew of software, hardware and business model innovations for companies to thrive and survive in the digital age
  • MOIs between IDA and two major industry players to enhance the startup ecosystem

The SID Directors’ Conference 2016 was supported by more than 30 leading corporates such as Accenture, Singtel, UOB and Dimension Data; key government bodies (ACRA, CSA, IDA, SAC, SGX), and industry associations such as SITF.

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