Unlocking New Possibilities

08 Nov 2022

Innovation is a huge part of our culture – we don’t just live and breathe it, but also dedicate a special day to it every year. This year, staff came together for the DSTA Innovation and Staff Dialogue Day on 8 November 2022 to explore boundaries and spark new ideas.

Addressing all staff, Chief Executive Mervyn Tan shared his personal reflections and said that as we face newer and nascent technology areas and grapple with more uncertain threat environments, we must be willing to take some risks, experiment, and not fear failure.

Mervyn went on to share some tips to help staff fail smart. These included learning from setbacks and applying the lessons to do better, pivoting fast when the need arises, and designing experiments with the uncertain and risky areas done early.



The importance of perseverance and planning ahead with a long-term vision for innovation was reinforced by our guest speaker Professor Cheong Koon Hean, Chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities (Ministry of National Development) as well as the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities (Singapore University of Technology and Design). Sharing her insights and wealth of experience in innovative urban planning, Professor Cheong encouraged staff to be bold in taking necessary risks and accepting the possibility of failure.


Beyond innovation, the day was also about encouraging dialogue. As part of the day’s activities, staff engaged one another to identify ways to enhance productivity and discuss how they could improve processes.



“Having a day dedicated to innovation is testament to its importance in the organisation. It’s encouraging to know that any form of innovation, no matter how big or small, is recognised!” Senior Engineer (Advanced Systems) Koh Junxian said.

The conversation continued on stage, with Mervyn and members of DSTA management, including Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) (Operations) Roy Chan, DCE (National Engineering) Lee Eng Hua, DCE (Information) Gayle Chan, and Director Human Resource Chng Lay Theng, fielding questions from staff during an engaging panel discussion.


We also took the opportunity to recognise staff who have contributed and achieved significant success. Awards and winners included

  • Five teams which received the DSTA Excellence Award
  • Seven teams which received the DSTA Excellence Award (Commendation)
  • 22 teams which received the DSTA Innovation Award
  • Four teams which received the DSTA Facilities Excellence Award, with a fifth team receiving the Most Improved Team Award for facilities excellence
  • One team which received the DSTA Procurement Excellence Award

Senior Programme Manager (Land Systems) Michelle Sim and her team clinched the DSTA Excellence Award for their project on the Next Generation Army Command and Control Information System (CCIS).

She explained: “My team and I developed the CCIS by adopting industry best practices such as design innovation, where we identified processes that can be streamlined and increased mission efficiency for the Army. We’re so honoured to receive this award, and will continue innovating to deliver advanced command and control capabilities for Singapore’s defence.”