Commonwealth leaders visited Singapore last month for the first of three programmes, which form Part Two of CSCLeaders 2014.
CSCLeaders 2014 began in March where the UK played host to 100 leaders from across the Commonwealth for a week of collaboration and innovation - focussing on some of the world's toughest problems. Having spent their time in the UK formulating solutions to the Challenge - 'How do you get societal - as well as economic value out of technological innovation?' - the Commonwealth leaders are now further exploring their models and ideas through programmes held in Singapore, Toronto and New Delhi.
Participants visited inspiring organisations, ranging from private sector organisations such as IBM, Hyflux and Rolls Royce to public sector innovation, such as water (Public Utilities Board), health - CEO of Alexandra Health Systems spent the morning with the group introducing them to innovation at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and housing - with the CEO of the Housing Development Board. Participants also visited a prison, heard from senior leaders from diverse sectors about their perspective on the city / country and gained insights into what makes the Singapore society tick at the grassroots level. In addition, the visit to Singapore was an opportunity to meet with some of CSCLeaders' key strategic supporters such as sponsors BP, who hosted a cocktail reception at their offices in Singapore. The British High Commissioner, Antony Phillipson, who is very committed in his support for the CSCLeaders programme, also hosted an evening at the High Commission for the participants and supporters.
Many participants in Singapore were keen to commit to action on specific projects in response to the 2014 Challenge. One of the projects, which is developing as a result of collaborative action from the 2014 cohort, is 'The Health Patch', a wearable medical device that constantly monitors the wellbeing of patients, providing them greater knowledge of the health status and better control of their healthcare. The individuals behind this innovative idea are currently looking to establish partnerships with technology organisations and medical professions across the Commonwealth.
Participants said of their experience at CSCLeaders 2014 Part Two in Singapore:
"We learned so much from the many senior leaders we met - opening up some really interesting leadership conversations about both the successes and challenges of Singapore today and in the future."
"We covered almost all the key aspects of the city - health, housing, transport and technology - giving us a very deep understanding of how this city works. It was an incredible experience, engaging with the diverse and very senior leaders, who gave their time unreservedly and were all well selected to cover a wide range of topics."
"I come away from the CSCLeaders experience with a deep sense that as leaders we have a responsibility to never forget to look, listen and learn."
The next Part Two programmes will be held in Toronto (8-11 July) and New Delhi (17-20 September). With all three Commonwealth cities representing vastly different cultures, structures and attitudes to technology and innovation, the participants are set to test their leadership attributes on a truly global scale.