From Ideas to Impact

07 Nov 2023

At DSTA, we embrace change and spark innovation! Our annual Innovation and Staff Dialogue Day is testament to that. Held on 7 November 2023, our staff came together to engage in a dialogue on unlocking new possibilities.

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Kickstarting the event was guest speaker Professor Lui Pao Chuen, former Chief Defence Scientist and current Temasek Defence Professor at the Temasek Defence Systems Institute. Sharing his insights and wealth of expertise on Singapore’s defence capabilities, Professor Lui encouraged staff to dare to dream and emphasised the need to continuously grow in expertise in an increasingly digitalised and networked world.

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The importance of pushing boundaries was reinforced by Chief Executive Mervyn Tan in his opening speech, where he spoke about the need to embrace failure in order to deliver world-class capabilities. He highlighted: “We must always expect and be prepared for adversity. We must seize the opportunities to turn problems into successes and even if the going gets hard, we must always persevere until we succeed.”

Mervyn also spoke about DSTA’s people and how they are at the heart of everything. He highlighted the importance of building one’s competencies through the various learning and growth opportunities in DSTA.

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Keeping with the spirit of innovation, staff gained inspiration from fellow colleagues through an innovation showcase, where various teams showcased their project initiatives and how they helped improve productivity for their users.

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Senior Engineer (Building and Infrastructure) Lim Wen Zhen (left) and Senior Programme Manager (Advanced Systems) Waylon Ng (right) showcased their project initiatives through an innovation showcase.

Beyond the talks and sharings, staff also got hands-on and took part in a sustainability quiz put together by DSTA’s Environmental Sustainability Taskforce. The quiz tested them on the various green practices that DSTA took part in!

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The day also included a Q&A segment, where Mervyn, Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) (Operations) Roy Chan, DCE (Strategic Development) Lee Eng Hua, DCE (Information) Gayle Chan and Director Human Resource June Liew took to the stage to engage staff in an interactive dialogue session. The panel answered questions ranging from staff welfare to work processes. Through this open discussion, various learnings were made to ensure that everyone has a conducive and nurturing environment to work in.

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No innovation day is complete without celebrating milestones and achievements! Various staff were recognised for their outstanding contributions. The awards and winners included:

  • Eight teams received the DSTA Excellence Award for demonstrating exemplary leadership or teamwork, and another seven teams received the DSTA Excellence Award (Commendation)
  • 11 teams received the DSTA Innovation Award for their achievements in innovation
  • Three teams received the new Dare to Fail Award for embracing failure constructively and intelligently
  • One team received the DSTA Procurement Excellence Award
  • Five individuals and teams received the DSTA Facilities Excellence Award
  • Head Capability Development (Cyber AI) Dr Melissa Chua received the DSTA Outstanding Internship Mentor Award for hosting the highest number of interns over the past five years

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Programme Manager (Advanced Systems) Javier Chew and his team won the DSTA Excellence Award (Commendation) for their Development and Integration of Advanced EO Capability project. He said: “Winning the award is a testament to the hard work by the entire team and not just one person. I am grateful for the patience and guidance from my bosses and fellow teammates. They offered support when we faced difficult situations during the course of the project.”

Project Manager (Building and Infrastructure) Chen Yunxiang and his team were equally humbled to receive DSTA Dare to Fail Award for their Intelligent Video Surveillance Detection System. He shared: “It is a humbling experience to have our work recognised through this award. Ultimately, we are glad to have made a difference and to have delivered a capability that we are proud of to the SAF.”