What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2017?
I look after professional services for Singapore, and our mission is to be an enabler. We want to enable our government customers, and elevate the skillset of the people within the organization on an international level. In this case, it is analytics technology.
With the availability and insight into your data, there are a lot of things that you can imagine and do. If we enable enough people to work on the technology, the outcome will be magnified. It’s up to individuals to dream and aspire about what they want to achieve with the technology.
What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2018?
We are very appreciative that the Singapore government has put so much focus on analytics. When the emphasis is driven at the national level, versus at just a company level, the outcome of applying analytics is exhilarating.
Consequentially, we see an explosion of interest in analytics, and there is a lot of “stretching the boundaries” of what can be done. The possibilities of analytics are very wide and diverse. you can either start with baby steps or have a very ambitious roadmap on applying analytics, depending on the company’s appetite and readiness. For a company planning to embark on analytics, this is the best time to start the journey because government is driving it at the national level.
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2017, what would it be?
It would be ‘Don’t stop learning’. The economy, industry and world is so fast-paced. Grab all opportunities, grow and learn.
It’s okay if you cannot have everything in place before you move. Just lean in, try it out, explore, stretch it. Have an open mind. It’s alright to make a mistake. Learn from it and grow. Keep trying. You need to strike a balance between moving forward, and stretching it.
What was the greatest challenge that you overcame in 2017?
I would say the notion of no one should be left behind. I see that as a common theme and that’s also partly because in this industry, things are moving so fast, from compliance to security to skill sets to setting expectations with stakeholders.
There will be telltale signs when we get resistance from stakeholders and participants; that’s where you pick up the signals that perhaps, they need more help than we anticipated. Collectively, we need to have open communication and say that we want to move in the right direction. And if there’s a group that’s feeling left out, we will guide them along.
What book did you read in 2017 that most interested or inspired you?
I would say the much-talked about Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Think about it: he has limited resources, yet he launched a spaceship and developed reusable spaceships. It’s a massive change in perspective, a classic case of ‘the world is your oyster’.
What stood out very clearly for me is that Elon Musk dares to dream big. Many people thought he was crazy, but he was determined to make that dream a reality. How he did that was by looking at his weakest links and fixing the problems. In his case, he fixed his electric car project’s weakness that was the inefficiency of batteries present in the market by building a battery plant. He changed the game.
Who inspired you in 2017, and why?
We did an exploratory project with a defense organization in 2013, trawling data on the web and globally in different languages, and worked with structured and unstructured data. The Use Case was a civil war in the Middle East. Now that we look back, this war has panned out massively.
The key sponsor for the project was very visionary. He had the right mindset to push our technology for the Use Cases, and challenge the mindsets of people to look beyond what they had and tap on the technology, explore what it could bring. We’ve been hearing feedback that the project is moving in the right direction and has taken on a life of its own.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the year, the sponsor passed away. But his spirit, mindset and how he ran the whole project, really left a lasting impression on all of us. Until today, we always say “Never stop learning, let’s try. Don’t leave people behind, bring them all together”.
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