Koh Suat Hong, Deputy Director, Accreditation, Industry Development Group, IMDA, Singapore

By Joshua Chambers

Women in GovTech Special Report 2017.

How do you use technology to improve citizens' lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

This year, my organisation, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, celebrated its first-year anniversary. With that, we launched our ICM Industry Transformation Map (ITM), with programmes to multiply growth across every sector, by leading the way in preparing Singapore for the digital economy.

One of the key strategies of the ITM is to strengthen a vibrant core of ICM professionals and companies with initiatives to prepare for new ICM job roles in the digital economy and offer support to raise local digital champions. I think it is important to help build the foundation for Singapore moving ahead.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2017?

This year, our Accreditation@IMDA programme has been positioned at a national level and re-branded as Accreditation@SG Digital. We have also expanded our programme to admit later-stage technology SMEs and foreign deep tech companies, as well as expanded our market footprint to the enterprise sector to help our companies scale up faster.

The re-branding as a national programme is testament to the impact created by our programme to grow our local ICM ecosystem. It is indeed a fruitful and exciting time for us!

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2018?

The topic of Artificial Intelligence has dominated 2017 and will continue to grow in 2018 as more and more tech companies and enterprises hop onto the bandwagon of adoption.

This year, the AI topic has largely been talked about as a disruptive technology that is going to take over the jobs of humans. Least do we realise that AI is already amongst us - instead of taking over our jobs, it has made our work and life much more convenient and productive.

Take the instance of chatbots: they have helped customer service officers divert away the mundane queries and allow them to use their knowledge to serve customers with more complex queries. As long as we keep moving up the value chain, we will learn how to work hand in hand with such disruptive technologies for the better good.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2017, what would it be?

Keep an open mind, and don’t stop learning!

What was the greatest challenge that you overcame in 2017?
No particular greatest challenge for me. Every year, my challenge has been to keep our Accreditation programme relevant to our companies’ growth, and to keep expanding the value that we bring to our companies.

What book did you read in 2017 that most interested or inspired you?

I read “Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child” by Boris Vujicic, the father of Nick Vujicic. Nick is well known as the motivational speaker born without limbs. People know him, but most don’t see the people behind him who have supported and raised him to be who he is today.

I am very inspired by his father, who had been very frank in his book to talk about his internal conflicts and emotions while raising Nick. It gave me courage to face all my daily and work challenges, as well as not to take things for granted, as someone had put in the effort to allow us to enjoy what we have today.

Who inspired you in 2017, and why?

Boris Vujicic.