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The Cyberport Entrepreneurship Programmes’ 20th Anniversary Celebration and Graduation Ceremony was a major event attended by notable personalities, distinguished guests and budding innovators.

Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government.

With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment. This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding startups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.

Image credits: Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau

Professor Sun Dong, the Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, Hong Kong highlighted Cyberport’s incredible journey and the achievements of its vibrant community. Expressing his delight in commemorating Cyberport’s two-decade-long legacy, he emphasised the institution’s pivotal role as an ICT powerhouse in Hong Kong.

From its humble beginnings to its present stature, Cyberport has emerged as a catalyst for innovation, nurturing over 2,000 technology companies and startups and showcasing an exponential growth rate over the past five years.

Cyberport’s community has attracted a staggering US$38 billion of investment, marking its significance as an ICT flagship in Hong Kong. The establishment takes pride in its contribution to nurturing numerous innovative ideas and fostering dynamic business ventures, with seven notable unicorns in fintech, smart living, and digital entertainment sectors.

Cyberport excelled at the prestigious Hong Kong ICT Awards, with 25 startups securing 28 accolades, including the esteemed Award of the Year. This achievement showcased the institution’s exceptional calibre and innovation prowess nurtured within its ecosystem.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of startups in Cyberport’s success story, Professor Sun Dong shared how these young enterprises, often starting with a simple idea at a small table, grow in tandem with Cyberport’s support. The institution provides not just financial aid but also a nurturing environment where entrepreneurs can leverage extensive networks, collaborative spaces, and expert guidance to cultivate their ideas into commercial successes.

The graduation of more than 200 startups from the Entrepreneurship Programme stood as a testament to Cyberport’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial talent. This initiative empowers startups to translate their ideas into tangible commercial solutions and market breakthroughs, laying the foundation for their future success.

Looking ahead, Professor Sun Dong outlined Cyberport’s exciting plans, including the upcoming expansion block slated for completion in two years, aimed at providing additional space for the community’s development. He also highlighted Cyberport’s initiative to establish the Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre, a pioneering endeavour set to commence in 2024, envisioned to be a pioneering and substantial facility in Hong Kong.

Cyberport’s extraordinary journey showcases significant achievements while charting a promising future, embodying the core values of innovation, collaboration, and collective growth.

Professor Sun expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government, acknowledging their hard work and contributions to the tech ecosystem emphasising the importance of collective participation for a better future.

The vibrant success of events like the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 resonates with Cyberport’s commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration, further cementing its role as a catalyst for technological advancement and entrepreneurial growth in Hong Kong.

The Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) 2023 saw a turnout of over 2,500 participants during its two-day hybrid event. Themed “Venture Forward: Game Changing through Innovation,” the forum convened 80 global visionary venture experts, entrepreneurial pioneers, and influential thinkers. With more than 120,000 page views and over 300 fundraising meetings facilitated, it solidified its position as a pivotal platform fostering networking and collaborative opportunities.

In a significant stride towards technological innovation and sustainable development, the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have joined forces to revolutionise India’s construction and wastewater treatment sectors.

Image credits: Press Information Bureau

This pioneering collaboration under the “Access to Knowledge for Technology Development and Dissemination (A2K+) Studies” Scheme of DSIR is aimed at aligning with India’s Smart Cities Mission and its ambitious commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

DSIR’s allocation of two crucial research studies to TERI signifies a pivotal step in bridging the informational gap on advanced building materials, designs for energy efficiency, and the assessment of membrane-based sewage wastewater treatment systems for reuse and recycling.

A significant milestone in this partnership was marked by a high-profile Stakeholder Consultant Meeting held at the prestigious India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Attended by key decision-makers, esteemed experts from academia, industry leaders, and policymakers, this event became a platform for insightful discussions and collaborations.

Dr Sujata Chaklanobis, Scientist ‘G’ and Head of A2K+ Studies at DSIR, emphasised the importance of promoting industrial research for indigenous technology development, utilisation, and transfer in her address. Her words underscored the crucial role of research and innovation in fostering sustainable technological advancements.

Mr Sanjay Seth, Senior Director of TERI’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme highlighted India’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070. He stressed the imperative integration of cutting-edge technologies and innovative designs in buildings to significantly reduce energy consumption, a key step towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.

The first session of the consultation centred on leveraging emerging technologies and innovative solutions for advanced building design to enhance energy efficiency. Experts from various domains provided insightful suggestions and information, fostering dialogue on energy-efficient building designs and sustainable construction practices.

The second session delved into the current status and prospects of membrane technologies in India for sewage treatment. Insights from academia, including professors from prestigious institutions, shed light on research gaps and opportunities for commercialisation in the domain of membrane-based technologies.

Industry experts also provided valuable perspectives on the current membrane market, innovations, and opportunities, creating a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and paving the way for future developments.

The amalgamation of insights from academia, industry, and end-users enriched the discussions, providing a roadmap for future innovation and development in these critical sectors. The event culminated with a commitment from both DSIR and TERI to embark on an innovation journey, heralding a sustainable and resilient future for India.

The DSIR-TERI collaborative consultation stands as a beacon of transformative progress in advancing sustainable building practices and sewage treatment technologies. It underscores the power of partnership in driving technological evolution for a more sustainable tomorrow.

India’s ambitions intertwine technological progress with a steadffast commitment to sustainability, envisioning a future where innovation not only drives economic growth but also champions environmental stewardship.

Through strategic initiatives and cooperation, India aims to leverage cutting-edge technologies to address pressing global challenges, ensuring a harmonious balance between technological advancement, environmental preservation, and societal well-being.

NITI Aayog, in collaboration with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, initiated the India Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) Accelerator under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to bolster circular economy startups from both countries, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) and the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) jointly organised an international training programme, focused on exploring the application of nanotechnology in promoting plant growth and crop protection for sustainable agriculture.

According to an IIT-Kanpur statement, the programme served as a forum for experts from diverse fields to discuss and deliberate on solutions to meet the urgent global challenge of achieving food security and promoting sustainability in agriculture.

Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.

Image credit: mindef.gov.sg

The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.

Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.

This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.

CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.

The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.

On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.

Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.

Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”

He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.

By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.

CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.

Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.

The New South Wales (NSW) Government is working to address the anticipated shortage of 85,000 digital workers in the region by 2030. In a collaborative effort, government officials, leaders from the digital industry, and education and training providers are joining forces to bridge the looming digital skills gap. The Minister for Skills, TAFE, and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan, recently officiated the launch of the NSW Digital Skills and Workforce Compact at NSW Parliament House, marking a significant milestone in the initiative.

Image adapted from 2023-25 NSW Digital Skills – Compact Action Plan

The collaboration involves 37 compact partners, comprising the highest echelons of industry representation. Together, these partners hold a considerable reach, influencing 1.7 million students and representing over 340,000 digital workers in NSW.

The scope of the compact is extensive, aiming to promote digital careers across the state, with a specific focus on encouraging traditionally underrepresented groups such as women, First Nations people, and individuals in regional and remote areas to pursue tech-related professions.

At its core, the compact seeks to transform the perception of digital careers, fostering diversity in the sector and creating welcoming and productive workspaces. Recognising the urgency of the skills shortage, the partnership is committed to developing and implementing new employment pathways, providing on-the-job training experiences for individuals aspiring to embark on a long-term career in the digital industry.

The ambitious goals of the NSW Digital Compact are outlined in a comprehensive set of milestones. Firstly, the compact aims to alter societal perceptions of tech careers, emphasising diversity and inclusivity within the sector. By collaborating with industry partners, the initiative plans to expand and enhance new pathway programs for tech roles, including traineeships and work experiences. Additionally, efforts will be made to extend the reach of mentoring and networking programs to engage a more diverse audience.

Recognising the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in the rapidly evolving tech landscape, the compact seeks to provide increased opportunities for the people of NSW to reskill or upskill in tech-related roles. This not only addresses the immediate skills shortage but also positions the workforce to meet the evolving demands of the digital industry.

A crucial component of the collaborative effort is the establishment of a Digital Education Forum. This platform, created in collaboration with universities, TAFE institutions, school curriculum providers, and industry experts, is dedicated to enhancing tech education and fostering stronger industry partnerships. The forum serves as a proactive measure to ensure that educational institutions are aligned with industry needs and that students are equipped with the skills required to thrive in the digital workforce.

The Minister Steve Whan underscores the significance of this landmark agreement, emphasising the commitment of the NSW Government to shape a digitally empowered future for the state. Beyond just bridging the skills gap, the NSW Digital Compact is laying the foundation for a resilient and inclusive digital workforce.

The Minister highlights that the compact represents a substantial opportunity for government, industry, and education leaders to work together in changing people’s perceptions of ‘tech’ and expanding the inclusivity of the sector.

The Chair of the NSW Skills Board and CEO of ANZ branch of the partnering tech firm stressed the research commissioned by the NSW Skills Board, projecting a shortfall of 85,000 digital workers by 2030. To address this gap, the compact partners aim to achieve 20% of new hires coming from alternative pathways by the same year. The Chair believes that the compact will play a pivotal role in providing a pipeline of diverse talent to fill high-paying, secure jobs that are being created in NSW’s rapidly growing digital sector.

The NSW Digital Compact Partners include the NSW Government, several major global companies, the Institute of Applied Technology Digital, TAFE NSW, Tech Council of Australia, and all NSW/ACT universities. This diverse coalition reflects a collective commitment to building a robust and inclusive digital workforce, ensuring that NSW remains at the forefront of digital innovation in the years to come.

The Bureau of Industrial Parks (BIP), under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) of Taiwan, is spearheading the University-Research Adoption Programme to propel companies into the field of digital and low-carbon transformation. Recognising the pivotal role of academia-industry collaboration in catalysing this evolution, BIP has enlisted the expertise of the Academia-Industry Consortium of Taichung Software Park in Taiwan (AiCTSP).

Image credit: moea.gov.tw

The consortium, known for its robust “One School, One Industrial Park” academic adoption programme, brings together technical experts from universities to bolster manufacturers in central industrial parks. Recently, the BIP orchestrated its annual pinnacle event at Hungkuang University, orchestrating a vibrant industry-academia cooperation exchange activity that drew nearly a hundred participants.

Yang Po-Keng, the Director-General of BIP, highlighted the pivotal role played by universities, AiCTSP, and businesses in parks during 2023, underscoring the abundance and diversity of industry-academia services rendered to businesses within the parks.

The range of services offered is impressive, encompassing in-depth technical counselling, talent training programmes, student internships, campus visits, and talent matching meetings. The collaboration also extended to assisting in the submission of ten research proposals to secure government project resources and subsidies.

Noteworthy initiatives such as the “Digital Innovation Award” competition were organised, providing a platform for businesses to showcase groundbreaking innovations. Besides, the BIP actively supported businesses in parks to establish talent development classes, sparking enthusiastic participation and yielding fruitful outcomes.

Cheng Tao-Ming, Chairman of AiCTSP and Principal of Chaoyang University of Technology, emphasised the pivotal role of AiCTSP as an industry-academia platform, acting as a conduit to bring industry and academia closer through various collaborative activities.

This strategic approach enables businesses to engage more profoundly with high schools and universities, fostering effective industry-academia collaboration. Looking ahead, in tandem with the organisational restructuring of industrial parks, the collaboration is set to deepen further as high schools, vocational schools, and colleges align with BIP’s planning to enhance industry-academia ties.

As countries join forces to address climate change and emphasise sustainability, the attention is on digital and low-carbon changes. These developments are critical solutions for mitigating the negative effects of glasshouse gas emissions and reshaping industries and economies.

The global trajectory involves a decisive shift toward cleaner technologies, renewable energy sources, and resource-efficient practices, not only as a response to climate change but also as catalysts for innovation and economic growth.

Businesses are increasingly acknowledging the need to align with environmental goals, integrating sustainability into their operations to meet the expectations of a thorough consumer base and socially responsible investors.

The ongoing global transition towards smart and sustainable urbanisation, coupled with the relentless advancement of digital technologies, is setting the stage for the creation of resilient cities capable of adapting to the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change.

The digital era facilitates unprecedented international collaboration, allowing nations to exchange best practices and work together toward shared environmental objectives. Governments worldwide are implementing policies and regulations to incentivise sustainable practices, propelling the momentum behind digital and low-carbon transformations.

The collaborative initiatives in Taiwan represent a significant stride towards fostering a more sustainable and resilient future. The multifaceted benefits of this collective effort extend beyond environmental conservation, promising positive impacts on societal well-being and progress.

Through the integration of cutting-edge technology, the advancement of industry-academia partnerships, and the adoption of a low-carbon principle, this deliberate effort not only tackles present issues but also establishes the groundwork for long-lasting positive transformation.

The seventh annual Gerontech and Innovation Expo cum Summit (GIES), a pioneering tech-centric event co-organised by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) was inaugurated at the esteemed Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The global pace of population ageing is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. According to the United Nations, the demographic aged 65 and above is projected to burgeon from 10% of the global populace in 2022 to a staggering 16% by 2050.

Image credits: Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation

This demographic shift is particularly pronounced in Hong Kong, with projections from the Census and Statistics Department indicating that the proportion of elderly individuals will surge from 20.5% in 2021 to a staggering 36% by 2046. This extrapolation signifies that more than one in every three Hong Kong residents will belong to the elderly demographic.

Dr Sunny Chai, Chairman of HKSTP, emphasised the pivotal role of gerontechnology in revolutionising the city’s landscape, stating, “Gerontechnology stands as an indispensable tool in our efforts to craft a smarter and more adaptive urban environment, particularly tailored for our ageing population. With a robust gerontech ecosystem comprising over 70 companies, HKSTP remains steadfast in its commitment to elevate the well-being of the elderly and fortify our healthcare infrastructure through seamless collaborations encompassing governmental bodies, industrial entities, academic institutions, and research sectors.”

GIES has evolved beyond its initial role as a mere platform for gerontechnology awareness. It has transformed into a pivotal nexus for industry stakeholders, facilitating collaborative engagements, policy formulation, and technological advancements crucial for steering Hong Kong’s societal, economic, and technological growth.

Apart from being a stage for innovation, GIES is a networking hub fostering partnerships aimed at enhancing elderly care and fortifying Hong Kong’s status as an elder-friendly city. This year’s edition, spanning from November 23 to 26, boasts an impressive showcase featuring close to 800 innovative solutions curated by over 200 exhibitors, representing a remarkable two-fold increase since its inception in 2017.

Under the overarching theme of “Age Smarter with Hub of Gerontech,” the HKSTP pavilion stands as a testament to innovation and progress, uniting 43 Park companies to showcase breakthrough advancements across seven pivotal categories. These encompass health screening, vital sign monitoring, rehabilitation and cognitive care, fall risk management, service operations, tech-enabled care, and sensory aids.

Occupying a gross floor area of 500 square meters, this year’s HKSTP pavilion represents the most extensive showcase since the inception of GIES in 2017. Notably, the inclusion of seven InnoHK centres, including three from Health@InnoHK and four from AIR@InnoHK, debuting their pioneering gerontech solutions at the adjacent “InnoHK Zone,” further accentuates the depth and breadth of innovation on display.

To immerse attendees in a hands-on experience and actively engage end-users, HKSTP has meticulously curated an interactive zone within its pavilion, themed as “Rehab@Home.” This setting replicates a home environment, showcasing 13 specialized rehabilitation products and solutions designed for seamless integration into domestic settings.

Complementing this experiential zone are the “Gerontech Ambassadors” drawn from physiotherapy students at Tung Wah College and elderly ambassadors from Lingnan University’s “Jockey Club Gerontechnology and Smart Ageing Project.” These ambassadors are stationed to offer firsthand insights and share personal experiences regarding user-friendly solutions.

While advancements in technology, medicine and healthcare offer longer life spans, ageing does have challenges. Hong Kong has been eager to be a more inclusive country and aims to better care for its elderly.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) showcased the technological achievements within the gerontechnology field through the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub Project. Collaboration among experts from various disciplines was facilitated to share their technological advancements and best practices and discuss the future of Hong Kong’s gerontech landscape.

Quantum computing is a rapidly developing field with the potential to revolutionise many industries. As quantum computers become more powerful and affordable, they will likely play an increasingly important role, especially in tackling complex computational problems that are currently beyond the reach of classical computers. One of the key promises of quantum computing lies in its ability to perform certain calculations exponentially faster than classical computers.

Image credits: news.umich.edu

In a significant step towards the realisation of room-temperature quantum computers, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a method for transporting excitons. This breakthrough could pave the way for a new era of computing. This innovation, challenging conventional wisdom, including Einstein’s relation, opens avenues for developing highly efficient devices.

Excitons, peculiar electron-hole pairs devoid of a net electrical charge, find applications in diverse fields, from natural photosynthesis to technologies like OLED displays, LEDs, and solar cells. The University of Michigan researchers, led by Parag Deotare and Mackillo Kira, have harnessed the ability to manipulate excitons with precision, potentially enhancing the efficiency of existing devices and advancing into the realm of excitonics for computing.

The research presented a pyramid-shaped structure, similar to a wire, serving as a pathway for excitons. This pyramid design successfully addresses the inherent difficulty of mobilising excitons attributed to their absence of a net charge. It provides exceptional accuracy in conveying smaller excitons, which is crucial for prospective applications.

Using a laser, the operating principle involves creating a cloud of excitons at a designated corner of the pyramid’s base. A thin layer of tungsten diselenide semiconductor, only three atoms thick, covers the pyramid, modifying the energy landscape for excitons. The stretching of the semiconductor alters the energy gap between the valence and conduction bands, prompting excitons to migrate to the lowest energy state along the pyramid’s edge before rising to its peak.

While previous studies, led by Deotare, utilised acoustic waves to propel excitons through semiconductors, this pyramid structure offers a more refined transport mechanism. The lack of net charge in excitons, an advantage in avoiding energy losses, has historically posed challenges in their precise movement.

The study also challenges Einstein’s relation, revealing that its application to predict exciton mobility in complex scenarios may need to be revised. Defects in the semiconductor were found to act as traps, influencing the diffusion of excitons.

Mackillo Kira, Co-corresponding Author of the study, envisioned the potential for room-temperature quantum computing. Excitons, capable of encoding quantum information and retaining it longer than electrons in a semiconductor, could play a pivotal role in overcoming the challenges associated with the degradation of quantum information.

Beyond quantum computing, the team is exploring the integration of lightwave electronics to amplify the processing capabilities of excitonics. This research’s transformative nature extends its applications beyond computing, presenting opportunities for advancements in diverse technological fields.

Supported by the Army Research Office and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, this pioneering work created the pyramid structure at the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. With patent protection sought with the assistance of University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships, the team is actively seeking partnerships to bring this technology to market.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the global economy, digital transformation has become a key driver of growth and competitiveness. Indeed, embracing this transformative wave is not just a choice but a necessity. The key to unlocking Indonesia’s vast potential lies in adopting a skills-first approach to learning, where the workforce is equipped with the digital skills needed to thrive in the 21st-century economy.

Indonesia, with its diverse culture and abundant resources, stands at a crossroads of opportunity. However, to harness this potential fully, the country must transition into a digitally-driven economy. The pandemic has underscored the importance of digitalisation, making it imperative for businesses and individuals alike to adapt to the new normal. Embracing digital transformation is not only about survival but also about ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth.

While the vision of unlocking Indonesia’s potential through digital transformation is promising, some challenges must be addressed to ensure successful implementation; and one of the primary challenges is the digital divide.

To overcome this barrier, concerted efforts are needed to expand digital infrastructure and provide affordable access to technology, especially in remote and underserved areas. Government initiatives, public-private partnerships, and community-based programmes can play a pivotal role in bridging this gap.

Additionally, the education system must undergo a significant overhaul to align with the demands of the digital era. This involves revising curricula to include not only technical skills but also critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Encouraging multidisciplinary approaches and project-based learning can help students develop a holistic skill set that prepares them for the challenges of the digital workforce.

As Indonesia steers towards embracing digital transformation through skills-first learning, the trajectory of its economic and social development is poised to undergo a significant shift. A digitally skilled workforce not only attracts foreign investment but also fuels innovation and entrepreneurship domestically. The country can position itself as a hub for technological innovation, creating a vibrant ecosystem that fosters collaboration between startups, established enterprises, and research institutions.

Likewise, the benefits of digital transformation extend beyond economic considerations. Improved healthcare, enhanced public services, and increased connectivity can contribute to an overall improvement in the quality of life for Indonesian citizens. Smart cities, sustainable practices, and resilient communities can be nurtured through the integration of digital technologies into various facets of daily life.

The OpenGov Breakfast Insight held on 28 November 2023 at The Westin Jakarta discussed strategies to leverage emerging technologies for development and growth while acquiring digital skills to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market in Indonesia.

Opening Remarks

Mohit Sagar∶ Indonesia’s job market is rapidly transforming due to digital advancements

Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia recognises Indonesia’s foray into digital transformation, signalling a transformative phase poised for substantial economic growth. Digital transformation, the integration of digital technologies into all aspects of society, Mohit agrees, is essential to propelling the nation into a new era.

The surge in smartphone adoption, expanding internet accessibility, and a burgeoning middle class are propelling the country’s digital economy at an astonishing speed. However, he underscores that this shift must go beyond adopting gadgets. It must become a fundamental shift in how businesses operate, governments function, and citizens lead their lives.

Highlighting the importance of digital transformation in Indonesia is crucial, especially in enabling economic growth, enhancing efficiency, and improving overall quality of life. This hinges on the citizens’ capability to comprehend, utilise and optimise digital innovation and technology.

In light of this, the urgency of acquiring digital skills cannot be overstated. In a job market evolving at a breakneck pace, individuals equipped with digital skills stand at a vantage point, securing employment and propelling their careers forward. The consequences of lagging in this digital race are stark, posing a risk of job displacement and a potential slide into obsolescence across industries, from healthcare to finance.

Adaptability, perpetual learning, and the relevance of skills in the swiftly evolving digital landscape take centre stage in this educational revolution. Enter Skills-First Learning is an innovative educational approach prioritising practical skills over conventional academic qualifications. This groundbreaking method aims to equip individuals and the workforce with the precise skills needed to flourish in the digital age.

Indonesia’s job market is undergoing a radical metamorphosis, propelled by the swift march of digital technologies. Conventional job roles are shape-shifting, creating a new wave of digital-centric positions. Automation and artificial intelligence are reshaping the private sector and infiltrating government jobs, streamlining administrative tasks and service delivery.

Citing the Indonesian government’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology’s projection of a need for up to 9 million digital talents by 2030, Mohit underscores the critical need for upskilling to meet the surging requirements of the digital age.

“In e-commerce, proficiency in digital marketing, data analysis, and e-commerce platform management is paramount,” says Mohit. “Fintech demands expertise in digital payments, blockchain, and risk management. Also, cybersecurity professionals need skills to shield digital assets from evolving cyber threats.”

The public sector, a cornerstone of societal development, must lead by example in embracing digital technologies. Government agencies grappling with skills gaps must bridge these divides to ensure effective digital transformation, necessitating collaboration with private industries and academia.

Moreover, as AI integration expands, ensuring transparency becomes paramount, aligning its use with public sector objectives, overseeing performance, and ensuring ethical deployment.

“Identifying existing skill gaps, tailoring training programmes, fostering digital literacy, and promoting a culture of continuous learning are the keystones to navigating Indonesia’s digital future successfully,” Mohit concludes. “The journey is difficult, but the destination promises unprecedented growth and innovation.”

Welcome Address

Chad Al-Sherif Pasha∶ Upskilling of individuals is important to face digital transformation

Chad Al-Sherif Pasha, Senior Advisor and Head of APAC at Coursera for Government offers a thought-provoking analysis that projects a seismic shift in the employment paradigm by 2027. Anticipating a substantial transformation affecting approximately 28% of current employment, he underscores the pressing need for upskilling and adaptation to stay abreast of the accelerating digital environment.

Chad perceives this transformative wave not as a mere obligation to stay relevant in an ever-evolving job market, but as a gateway to thriving in the face of advancing technology and the imperative for industry transformation, offering a realm of new opportunities to unfold.

This dynamic environment, he notes, necessitates strategic planning in skills development – an essential for both confronting challenges and capitalising on opportunities that will unfold in the future.

At the core of preparing for this imminent digital transformation is upskilling. Upskilling not only provides a competitive edge but also serves as a gateway to innovation and a deeper comprehension of the changing dynamics in the market.

Strategic planning, as understood by Chad, involves a proactive approach to skills development. Recognising the trends in digital transformation and identifying the forthcoming skills requirements allows individuals and organisations to position themselves adeptly to meet the demands of the future.

“This involves the implementation of adaptive learning approaches and educational solutions tailored to the constantly evolving needs of industries,” Chad explains

Coursera, a pioneering platform in the digital education sector, plays a pivotal role in this paradigm shift. Through its diverse array of programmes and courses, Coursera contributes significantly to preparing individuals and organisations to grapple with the challenges posed by digital transformation. The platform provides access to relevant and regularly updated educational content spanning various disciplines and skills vital in today’s digital era.

Being a leader in online learning, Coursera not only facilitates access to global educational resources but also dynamically adapts its learning approaches to align with the needs of individuals and organisations amid the rapid changes in the world of work.

Chad’s role encompasses Coursera for Government, where he has organised programmes tailored to assist government agencies and organisations in readying their workforce for the ongoing digital transformation.

This initiative revolves around building a learning ecosystem that is responsive and meticulously aligned with industry needs, thereby continuing to support endeavours aimed at enhancing relevant skills and knowledge.

The significance of Coursera in supporting upskilling and reskilling extends beyond individual career development. It also contributes to organisations building teams that can adeptly navigate the dynamic business environment, fostering adaptability and innovation.

Coursera acts as a strategic partner in advancing education and skills development in the digital era. By consistently offering innovative and responsive educational solutions, Coursera is actively shaping the future of education, one that is more inclusive, accessible, and relevant for all.

“As individuals and organisations plan a holistic skills development strategy, they not only brace themselves for the challenges of the future with confidence and readiness,” Chad explains. “They also play a pivotal role in making a positive contribution to the development of society and the global economy in this era of profound digital transformation.”

Closing Remarks

Acknowledging the valuable insights from participants, Chad extended words of encouragement and motivation, emphasising the importance of dedicated upskilling and reskilling efforts. Highlighting the dynamic nature of a rapidly evolving world, he underscored the necessity for ongoing skill enhancement to stay relevant and competitive, advocating for a positive approach to meet these demands.

Chad emphasises the importance of proactively developing skills in the era of ongoing digital transformation. He pointed out that by continuously enhancing skills, individuals not only keep up with technological advancements but also position themselves as innovators and leaders, adept at understanding and implementing innovations.

He reaffirmed Coursera’s commitment to aiding individuals in their learning endeavours. With access to top-tier educational resources globally, Coursera stands as an essential tool in nurturing a workforce that is adaptable and ready to tackle change head-on.

“Coursera for Government reiterates its commitment to being a dependable partner for individuals and organisations navigating the complexities of digital transformation,” confirms Chad. “We are committed to the pivotal role in empowering individuals and organisations to excel in an era marked by ongoing change and innovation.”

Mohit emphasises the dynamic nature of the workforce, underscoring its continuous need to adapt to the rapid changes in today’s digital landscape. In this era of digital transformation, he acknowledges that workforce management extends beyond technical skills, encompassing vital attributes such as agility, creativity and adaptability.

Organisations need to prioritise a deeper understanding of workforce needs and skill growth as the cornerstone for crafting enduring policies that will positively shape forthcoming industrial and technological progressions.

Investing in skills development and human resources is pivotal for maintaining a relevant and productive workforce. Hence, continuous learning, ongoing training, and leadership development are integral components of a successful workforce management strategy.

“Success in overcoming the challenges of digital transformation for any organisation does not hinge solely on adopting the latest technology, but equally on cultivating an innovative work culture,” he concludes. “An agile, skilled, and innovative workforce stands as the linchpin in steering market dynamics towards triumph during the digital transformation era.”

Digital technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, particularly within education. The rapid evolution of digital tools and platforms has ushered in a transformative era, reshaping the landscape of learning and teaching methodologies. This swift progress is revolutionising how educational content is delivered and fundamentally altering the dynamics of the learning experience.

As countries navigate this swiftly changing digital frontier, it becomes increasingly apparent that these technological advancements are pivotal in redefining the future of education, opening up new possibilities and opportunities for learners and educators alike.

In an era where access to the digital world is essential, where access to the digital realm has become indispensable, the stark reality surfaces: one hundred and twenty thousand Kiwi children need additional home learning devices to establish crucial connections in the realm of education. Recognising the critical need to address this digital divide, a transformative initiative scheme has emerged as a solution, actively working to bridge the digital equity gap and empower students with the necessary technology for their education.

This initiative lies in repurposing and redistributing refurbished ex-lease machines that might otherwise contribute to electronic waste. Since its inception in 2022, the scheme has made strides, donating 400 high-quality ex-lease laptops to needy students. It provides a valuable resource for learning and contributes to the sustainable and responsible use of technology by extending the lifespan of electronic devices.

Rob Downie, the Head of Health and Physical Education at Auckland’s Tangaroa College, witnessed the scheme’s impact. Pupils at Tangaroa College are among the beneficiaries of this initiative, gaining access to learning devices that play a pivotal role in their educational journey. Rob Downie’s perspective sheds light on the tangible benefits that digital inclusion can bring students, creating opportunities for enhanced learning experiences and improved academic outcomes.

At the core of this initiative is a commitment to sustainability, not just in the environmental sense but also in fostering a sustainable and equitable digital future for New Zealand’s youth. “By repurposing and redistributing ex-lease laptops, the scheme aligns with the principles of responsible technology consumption, contributing to a circular economy where resources are utilised efficiently, and electronic waste is minimised,” said Rob.

The scheme operates as a catalyst for change, challenging the status quo and encouraging other entities to explore innovative solutions for digital inclusion. As technology becomes increasingly intertwined with education, bridging the digital divide is not just a matter of access to devices but a fundamental step towards creating equal opportunities for learning and growth.

Rob emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing the digital equity gap. It includes partnerships with financial institutions, namely private sectors and government entities like Te Puni Kōkiri, showcasing the power of collective action in driving change.

The scheme’s impact extends beyond providing laptops. However, it is a powerful testament to the transformative potential of digital technology when harnessed for the greater good. In an interconnected world where digital literacy is synonymous with empowerment, initiatives like these lay the groundwork for a more inclusive and sustainable future, ensuring that no child is left behind in the digital age.

OpenGov Asia reported that Tāhūrangi, the Ministry of Education’s new online platform for curriculum content, teaching resources, and news, went live recently. Parents and caregivers can access resources and information to help students with their learning. Tāhūrangi’s content aims to encourage effective teaching and learning in various educational contexts. This includes support for the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum (Te Whāriki: He Whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa), Māori-medium schools (Te Marautanga o Aotearoa), and the New Zealand Curriculum. Additionally, the platform plans to expand its offerings to include resources for kindergarten schools (Te Whāriki a Te Kōhanga Reo).

“We know that finding suitable teaching resources is harder for people than it has to be. The new platform is designed to make that experience quicker and easier,” the Ministry of Education said in a statement.

Amid the relentless surge of cybersecurity threats, governments and technology agencies must embrace heightened awareness and implement meticulous data protection strategies. The escalating cyber threats necessitate a proactive stance, where staying one step ahead is crucial to safeguarding crucial information assets.

In this dynamic digital landscape, where information is a commodity, governments must acknowledge the evolving nature of cyber threats and continuously fortify their cybersecurity measures. Rapid technological advancements bring new challenges, requiring adaptive and innovative solutions to balance potential vulnerabilities.

Collaboration between government bodies, regulatory agencies, and technology experts is paramount in fostering a collective defence against cyber threats towards data privacy. Sharing insights, intelligence, and best practices creates a robust cybersecurity ecosystem capable of anticipating and mitigating emerging risks.

To secure public information and ensure data privacy, Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, the Minister of Digital Economy and Society, has initiated measures to combat leaks and the illicit trade of personal information. Recognising the situation’s urgency, the Minister outlined a comprehensive plan divided into three periods—30 days, six months, and 12 months.

During the first 30-day period, the Office of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDC) established the Personal Data Violation Surveillance Centre to investigate public information disclosures promptly. The operations conducted this November inspected 3,119 government and private sector agencies. The PDPC detected data leaks in 1,158 cases, leading to corrective actions taken by the agencies in 781 instances. Notably, three issues of personal data trading were uncovered, prompting investigations and prosecutions in collaboration with The Police Technology Crime Investigation Headquarters.

Simultaneously, the PDPC, under the directive of the Police Technology Crime Investigation Headquarters, expedited inspections of 9,000 agencies within the next 30 days. This initiative targeted government agencies deemed critical information infrastructure (CII), including those in the energy, public health, government services, finance, and banking sectors.

During the inspections, the cybersecurity systems of 91 agencies were examined. Of these, 21 were identified as having high levels of risk, prompting corrective actions by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The third measure involves collaborative efforts between the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), NBTC, and relevant agencies such as the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Bankers Association, Thai Life Assurance Association, Thai Hotel Association, and the media sector network. The objective is to raise awareness about personal data protection and prevent potential risks from inadequate security procedures. This includes knowledge-sharing sessions on maintaining cybersecurity through Cybersecurity Awareness Training. The collaborative initiative emphasises preventing intrusion from outsiders, securing system settings, and enforcing the law within the purview of the authorities.

For the subsequent six-month period, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will expedite efforts to block illegal trading of personal information. Offenders will be actively pursued, prosecuted, and arrested to ensure a swift and effective response in safeguarding the privacy and security of individuals’ data.

This strategy underscores the government’s commitment to leveraging digital technology to fortify data protection measures and create a safer online environment for all citizens by partnering with other entities.

OpenGov Asia reported that Thailand is strategically addressing escalating cybersecurity concerns with a multi-faceted approach involving tech, partnerships, specialised task forces, public relations efforts and training programmes to fortify cyber resilience and foster innovation.

The Minister of Digital Economy and Society, Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, along with Professor Wisit Wisitsaratha, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, and ministry executives from affiliated agencies, recently conducted a meeting to review strategies to address cybercrime problems, notably personal data leaks. Thus far, Thailand has generated several ideas concerning cyber threats, particularly in financial cybersecurity. Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong has initiated several steps and frameworks to address these issues:


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