Day 1 of ACLC 2018 started early morning 9.00am in the ballroom of Novotel Phuket Vintage Park, Phuket, Thailand.

I am thankful that all the participants are on time for the conference, making me less nervous but more excited to hear from the speakers.

This year, I am privileged to have a co-emcee with me. He is none other than Mr Low Choon Chye, one of our 2014 SNCF Scholars who is currently serving his bond at NTUC LearningHub as account manager doing business development.

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I will not be sharing all my takeaway from every speaker in the conference but below are a few selected sharing.

We have the honour of Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office and Deputy Secretary-General, NTUC as the keynote speaker for ACLC 2018.

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His sharing on Co-operatives: Future Tense or Tense Future? is very thought-provoking for he asked the participants a lot of questions such as how are co-operatives attracting business, manpower and resources in this disruptive market?

He shared the D.I.A.N.A factors for the participants to consider for their own co-operative’s direction.

D – Data

I- Innovation

A – Agility

N- Networks

A – Adaptation

He continued to share that co-operatives have to consider a very key question daily when we strategised for our business. The question is “Do you think that you will still be the preferred partner that you are?” 10 years ago, you might be the preferred partner with certain companies. However, with the disruption, are we still going to be the preferred partner for our partners?

Are we innovating our business to suit the ever-changing needs of our customers? Or are we changing for the sake of it? He urged us not to change for the sake of it, always put ourselves in our customers’ shoes whenever we want to make a change. We should not shy from developing the next generation for there is a need for continuity for the business. Dear readers, imagine with me that what if one day, there will not be any co-operatives exists, will there be anyone still doing well and doing good? For sure, they will but they will be doing it in another manner. NEVER in the co-operative way! Therefore, there is a need to have a mixture of talents, not just developing the young but helping the older one to impart their knowledge to the young ones without fear.

We ought to exhibit future looking attitude, not just allowing people to assume that we will do good but also do well in our business. Co-operative is about making business with social thoughts! Competition always exists in the market, but how co-operatives can stand out will be ever adapting, innovating to suit the needs of the customers, leveraging on the technology which everyone sees it as a disruptive tool and to have the agility to move fast ahead of what the customers would ask for. This gave us the cutting edge as a co-operative! We do not just do good, but we do well to do good to the community!

His sharing leaves me with a hope that co-operatives will continue to stay relevant to the society if we are able to differentiate ourselves with the D.I.A.N.A. factors.

The next speaker, Mr Chia Hock Lai, Head, Digital Office of NTUC Income Co-operative shared about the Digital Transformation Journey of Income.

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Mr Chia shared about the trend for digital transformation as he sees the rise of InsurTech business, the consumer pattern of Singaporean shown that they want to interact with service providers differently and the government is paving way for digital transformation. Therefore, NTUC Income takes a proactive stance to identify the disruptive business model to defend and grow its market share. How? NTUC Income will leverage on “start-up like” innovation methodology, generate new business models through design thinking and sprints and create a separate business unit as Digital Income.

To become a digital insurer, NTUC Income focuses on leveraging on digital design thinking start-up mindset and setup. In 2014, NTUC Income has the Accelerator Program where they leverage on the interest of young entrepreneurs who are strong in Artifical intelligence and technology knowledge to take part and aid NTUC Income to address pain points that the existing customers have raised their concern on.

Isn’t that meeting the needs of the ever-changing customers? Personally, I like how NTUC Income used design thinking process to address pain points which their customers feedback. This showed how much NTUC Income valued the customers’ feedback and want to ensure a fruitful experience for every customer. I also appreciate how NTUC Income leveraged on the strength of the young start-up instead of just viewing them as disruptive competitors to collaborate in this digital transformation journey.

From Mr Chia’s sharing, my key takeaway is to have the courage to change and innovate together with partners without viewing them as threats. Not to be afraid to push the boundaries but to gain support from the management once we set our heart for this change. A paradigm shift can be trying but in order to keep up with the future, one should be future tense looking!

I am personally very intrigued by Jaga-Me, hence stay tuned for a whole post on Jaga-Me.

The speed dating session conducted by our selected EXCO to talk about the four main things (Business Development, Human Capital Development, Shared Members and Benefits, and Business Matching) helps the participants especially SNCF to be able to see the needs of the participants to match make relevant and interested co-operatives to collaborate.

The sunset came and it was time to wrap up for the Day 1 of the conference. How time has flies!

Can’t wait for Day 2 of the conference to start as I looked forward to hearing from the remaining three speakers.

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