On Day 5 of the National Young Leaders Fellowship Induction Programme, we were honoured to have with us a panel of distinguished speakers, consisting of Ms. Sheila Pakir, Principal of Kaye Consulting, Executive Education Singapore Futures Fellow, LKYSPP, Ms. Joyce Kua, Deputy Director of Ministry of Comms and Information, Mr. Andre Oei, Goh Chok Tong Assistant, Prime Minister Office, and Ms. Jeanette Kwek, Director & Head of Centre for Strategic Futures, Prime Minister’s Office. The plenary topic was on ‘Leading Policy Change’.

During the session’s opening statement, the panellists introduced themselves and discussed what policy change entails. Ms. Kwek began by stating that public policy aims to solve problems, and when setting a policy, it is important to think about the objectives and target audience. A country’s success depends on making good decisions and investing in good policies, to which Ms. Pakir suggested applying reverse engineering to think of a solution in mind and finding a problem that matches it.

In order to make public policies that serve others and improve lives, decision makers need to have confidence, commitment, humility, and a strong vision. ‘Policy making is a continuous dialogue. Things change, the centre of gravity shifts, and the needle moves. How do we then ensure that we are considering the interests of different stakeholders?’ says Ms. Kua. This is why it takes time to effect a policy change as we have to take into account all factors while remaining steadfast to our objective.

Mr. Oei added that anyone can work in public service policy, as long as they share the same common vision of making the world a better place for others to live in. Ms. Kwek says, ‘With today’s problems, it is impossible for anyone to handle them alone. A part of leadership is to gather people around you to make up for your shortcomings.’ This inspired our fellows to realise that leadership does not have to be a solo endeavour.

As the session came to a close, the speakers encouraged our fellows, who are our next generation of leaders, to focus less on their own needs and more on society’s needs. ‘Let your circle of concern be wider than your circle of control. Start having concerns that are wider than your control!’ Ms. Pakir adds.

Find out more on how we support our youths to lead through the National Young Leaders Fellowship at halogen.sg/fellowship!