Keeping Innovation Alive and Thriving
22 Nov 2021

Inspired people, bringing innovation to all we connect – with DSTA’s vision anchored squarely, over 2,700 staff gathered virtually for the annual DSTA Innovation and Staff Dialogue Day, to continue to drive growth and encourage novel ideas.

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Kicking off the session, Chief Executive Mervyn Tan shared his personal reflections about what innovation means. To him, innovation is not limited to technologically complex engineering feats, but also small, bottom-up ideas that can cause a huge impact. In addition, he underscored the importance of collaboration across departments, where individuals and teams with various competencies and skills can come together to unlock new potential.

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To foster a continuous spirit of innovation, Mervyn outlined several new digital initiatives and strategies, which included exploiting and leveraging digital solutions, and providing easier access to tools and resources, among others.

Quoting entrepreneur Elon Musk who once said that “failure is an option here” and that “if things are not failing, you are not innovating”, Mervyn reinforced DSTA’s commitment to cultivate a culture of perseverance, and a dare-to-try and safe-to-fail environment to keep innovation alive and thriving. He also invited colleagues with recent innovative projects under their belts to share their perspectives and key takeaways, to further spur others.

Emphasising that people are DSTA’s greatest asset, Mervyn took the opportunity to unveil new initiatives that will be implemented to enhance productivity through learning, as well as support staff wellbeing.

The DSTA Innovation and Staff Dialogue Day was also a timely occasion to celebrate and recognise staff who have contributed and achieved significant success, through various awards. Congratulations to all winners!

The list of awards and winners are as follows:

  • Seven teams received the MINDEF Savings and Value Enhancement Award
  • Two teams received the MINDEF Economy Drive Certificate of Merit
  • Two teams received the MINDEF Economy Drive
  • Two teams received the DSTA Excellence Award
  • Five teams received the DSTA Excellence Award (Commendation)
  • 20 teams received the DSTA Innovation Award
  • One team received the DSTA Procurement Excellence Award
  • Five teams received the DSTA Facilities Excellence Award
  • Three individuals received the DSTA Excellence Award for Leadership
  • Three individuals received the DSTA Service Excellence Award

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Project Manager (Advanced Systems) Pui Pang Yong, whose team clinched the DSTA Excellence Award for their project ‘Counter Unmanned Aerial System Capabilities’ said: “The team is very happy and we are honoured to receive the award. Being able to deliver this capability is a result of the great support from our management, close collaboration among the various departments, as well as passionate colleagues working towards a common goal.”

The event culminated in an engaging panel session where Mervyn, Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) (Operations) Roy Chan, DCE (Strategic Development) Ngiam Le Na, DCE (National Engineering) Lee Eng Hua, DCE (Information) Gayle Chan, and Director Human Resource Chng Lay Theng took the opportunity to field questions from staff.

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“The DSTA Innovation and Staff Dialogue Day was very inspiring. My biggest takeaway is that innovation is a team sport and it can happen anywhere, anytime and initiated by anyone. No idea is a bad idea, and this motivates us to think of new ways to do things continuously," said Head (Digital Innovation) Shaun Ang, when asked for his thoughts about the event.

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