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[FEATURED NEWS] Innovation is for all, collaboration is key


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Xponents at the inaugural Capability Sustainment Innovation Day striking the quintessential HTX “X” pose. (Photo: HTX/Monica Yap)

Innovation is one of HTX’s core values and a strategic priority because as the science and technology arm of the Home Team, HTX must look beyond current operations and foresee future threats and challenges, said HTX Chief Executive Chan Tsan at the Capability Sustainment Innovation Day that took place on October 18, 2022.

HTX’s inaugural Capability Sustainment Innovation Day brought together more than 400 Xponents from across six domains – Central Procurement Office, Corporate & Finance, Building & Infrastructure, ICT Infrastructure, Platform Systems, and Ops Systems – for round-table discussions on innovation and the sharing of transformative initiatives. 

Building an innovative culture 

Acknowledging the critical work done by the domains to ensure the day-to-day operations of the Home Team, CE Chan Tsan underscored the need for an open mindset, how discussions and collaborations can spark new ideas, and that innovation was a necessity and would be exponentially felt by the Home Team Departments (HTDs).

“If we fail to innovate, the consequences are disastrous not just for us, but for the Home Team and for Singapore,” CE Chan Tsan told Xponents in his closing remarks at the event. “Innovation is of vital importance.”

The inaugural Capability Sustainment Innovation Day complements the activities in this year’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Innovation Month in October, which aims to build a stronger innovation culture and community in MHA, highlight the importance of innovation for Home Team transformation, and provide opportunities for Home Team officers to come together, develop new ideas, and build skills. 

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HTX Chief Executive Chan Tsan giving his closing remarks at the Capability Sustainment Innovation Day on Oct. 18, 2022. (Photo: HTX/ Tan Kiat Beng)

An abundance of innovation opportunities

HTX Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) Chen Yeang Tat explained that Capability Sustainment work was crucial to keeping Home Team operations “business as usual”, and every process norm provided an opportunity for innovation. 

He said, “Our greatest limitation is not manpower or money but our mindsets and courage to innovate.” He captured his concept of innovation in five short and sharp points: Innovators will thrive | Collaboration is key | Anticipation buys time | Norms can be challenged | Deliver Outcomes in Transformation – I can do it!

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HTX Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) Deputy Chen Yeang Tat speaking at the Capability Sustainment Innovation Day. (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi) 

Inspiring innovation

Tan Teck Chuan, Director (Platform Systems) and Chairman of the organising committee for the inaugural Capability Sustainment Innovation Day said that innovation is not just about breakthroughs in developing new capabilities or new technologies. “Innovation can simply be challenging the current norms or revising policies or improving processes so that HTX can deliver better outcomes to support the Home Team,” he added. “We must be prepared to change our mindsets and not be bogged down by legacies. No idea is too small, too insignificant, or too wild.”

Xponents from the six domains took to the stage to share about their innovative projects that have enhanced day-to-day work processes, resulting in greater efficiency, improved workflows, and considerable time savings.

“It is very inspiring to see committed colleagues improving their work through various innovations.  It is not the size of the innovations, but the spirit of working towards a better tomorrow that counts!” said Lim Beng Hock, Senior Deputy Director (Immigration & Checkpoints Capability Sustainment), Ops Systems Sustainment Centre, who attended the Innovation Day. 

In two engaging and interactive round-table sessions, DCE Chen Yeang Tat and directors from the six domains discussed questions on innovation posed by the audience. In the first session on “Innovation and ‘I’”, the round-table panellists shared about what innovation meant to them, what drives it, and the need for innovation as part of HTX’s digital transformation journey.

In the round-table session on “Innovation Concept and Challenges”, the panellists discussed the factors shaping a culture of innovation, such as having an open mindset to find better ways to do things and upskilling. They also shared their experiences and practical tips on overcoming challenges and incorporating innovation in everyday work.

What attendees had to say about the event

“The event was a catalyst to go for innovative changes beyond our comfort zone. It sparked a need to strive for positive changes in our daily work lives,” said Rajinder Singh, Senior Principal Specialist, Central Procurement Office.

For Kien Lieang Lou, Lead Engineer (Vendor & Services Management), Ops Systems Sustainment Centre, the discussions around innovation requiring a mindset change resonated deeply with him. “Be inquisitive, adopt a curious mindset. Always seek improvement. As we sometimes would ask ourselves, how could some things be done better or more efficiently. Then act on them – ask, collaborate; and while trying, be prepared to fail!” he said.

Another attendee, Michael Tay, Senior Deputy Director (Cybersecurity Resilience), Ops Systems Sustainment Centre and concurrently Deputy Director (Exercise & Evaluation), Cybersecurity Centre of Expertise, felt that the projects that were showcased had much potential to be applied to other teams across the entire HTX, including the Capability Development and Capability Planning pillars.

“Our work in HTX is never dull. We support the frontline operations of our HTDs, and every effort, regardless big or small, contributes to the overall MHA mission,” he said. “Kudos to the innovation teams and I wish for more people to follow in their footsteps to make our work more efficient and productive!”

Here are more photos of the inaugural HTX Capability Sustainment Innovation Day.

(From left to right) Emcees Senior Manager (Corporate & Finance) Constance Ngiam and Head (Building & Infrastructure) Amanda Lee welcoming Xponents to the inaugural HTX Capability Sustainment Innovation Day held at the Mediacorp Theatre on Oct. 18, 2022. (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi)

More than 400 Xponents came together for the inaugural Capability Sustainment Innovation Day. (Photo: HTX/ Tan Kiat Beng)

Xponents watching a video about HTX’s work. (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi)

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(From left to right) First round-table session on “Innovation and ‘I’” with moderator Amanda Lee, Director (Corporate & Finance) Ang Nam Choon, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) Deputy Chen Yeang Tat, Director (Central Procurement Office) Charanjit Singh, and Deputy Director (Building & Infrastructure) Goh See Wee. (Photo: HTX/ Tan Kiat Beng)

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(From left to right) Second round-table session on “Innovation – Concept and Challenges” with moderator Constance Ngiam, Chief Innovation Officer Ng Pan Yong, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) Deputy Chen Yeang Tat, Director (Platform Systems) Tan Teck Chuan, Director (Ops Systems) Lim Kia Yong, and Director (ICT Infra) Sim Tow Yong. (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi)

Desmond Chong, Senior Procurement Specialist, Central Procurement Office, sharing with Xponents about a simplified procurement approach for corporate membership. (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi)

Project presentation on “Process Improvement for Efficiency Gains” by Ong Qin Xiang, Manager, Corporate & Finance. (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi)

Ianson Woon, Specialist, Building & Infrastructure, speaking about how using the right technology helps achieve desired outcomes. (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi)

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William Wong, Lead Engineer, ICT Infra, sharing about using technology to navigate challenges and enhance asset information management. (Photo: HTX/Monica Yap)

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Bernard Seah, Lead Engineer, Platform Systems speaking about a transformative project that enhances fleet sustainment capabilities. (Photo: HTX/Monica Yap)

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Beh Ming Wei, Engineer, Operations Systems, sharing about different automation techniques that can simplify and improve work processes. (Photo: HTX/Monica Yap)

Top 3 innovation awards
(Clockwise from top) Winners of the Top 3 Innovation Ideas based on audience votes receiving their prizes from CE Chan Tsan: Head (Central Procurement Office) Cheng Yi Yang (for individual idea), Lead Engineer (Marine Systems) Robin Ng (for group idea from Platform Systems), and Lead Engineer (Desktop Services) Kenneth Chin (for group idea from Corporate & Finance and Ops Systems). (Photo: HTX/ Yuan Yidi)