Courage to Innovate and Mentor

Stephanie Hung

Senior Vice President, Singapore Business

Often, we hear people talk about the challenges of new technology and people development, and I am always curious to understand why and what is stopping them from doing. The reasons people give for not wanting to experiment emerging technology, and likewise, for not becoming a mentor are Fear: Fear of not ready yet. Fear of not having the right skills. Fear of not enough time and resources. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of failure and stigma comes with it.

For many of these fears stated, they are mental barriers and verbal excuses, not reasons. We all have more capabilities, time and insights when we choose to prioritise. If we can see the underlying opportunity for growth, we can potentially disrupt with more tech-driven innovation, and enjoy a wholesome experience as a mentor.

What is your opportunity cost? You may weight in and justify. You may disagree and pull out various reasons to dispel me, but let’s first consider the threats for not doing so.

Having worked in the tech industry for over two decades, it is truly mind-blowing to have seen how businesses have been disrupted by emerging technology and fresh perspectives. Be it on-demand streaming or digital photography, be it lodging or transportation industry, and the entire suite of e-commerce platforms, the transformation has brought along radical impact and for some, it meant closure.

Here’s sharing my personal experience on how we can all step out of our comfort zone and make a difference.

Innovate – Think Big, Act Small, Fail Fast and Learn Rapidly

Technology advancement sees no boundaries and it should be regarded as an opportunity.

I advocate the need for organisations to think big, act small, fail fast and learn rapidly. People need to change their mindsets, and be bold to experiment the potential of emerging technology.

At the same time, we must not fall into the trap of blindly jumping into the emerging technology bandwagon and think that any newly touted solutions will be the answer to tomorrow's challenges. It is vital to bring a lens of clarity and simplicity to get into the heart of issues or opportunity to innovate and identify meaningful solutions with the best befitting new tech.

In pursuit of our own transformation and to better co-curate with our customers, we have journeyed to internalise the change of mindset. Over the past years, we initiated a series of insight selling masterclass, design sprints and innovation workshops, customer envisioning exercises and Cloud Days. These workshops help our people to take on a human-centric approach, and explore on how we can best leverage digital 5.0 such as Edge, Cloud, analytics and AI, and DevOps approach, to enable our customers in their digital transformation journey.

The shift is in action with many of our customers. One example is our cloud transformation and adoption projects, which our team collaborates with over 100 brilliant developers, system engineers, data scientists and technical architects in the group. With a deep sense of purpose to help modernise our enterprise customers’ systems, I am emboldened to see how the team has come together adopting people-centric design thinking, and taking on lean approach, to gain holistic view of our customer’ business operations, and successfully developed tailored solutions that deliver great operations impact.

It is heartening to have seen how emerging tech can help drive our customers’ business growth, the way they engage their end users, expand new business developments and the list goes on. The same can be done for any industry, at any time. No matter how good a business or operations we are in now, we have to foresee and be dare to try new approach, innovating with new technology, before it is too late.

Mentor to Be a Better Leader

As an early beneficiary of mentorship, I am a strong believer of coaching and inclusiveness, I am grateful to my mentors and coaches, whom have given me timeless insights from their experiences and wisdom, asking me questions to gain clarity and encouraging me throughout my career. I recalled that I wanted to do a MBA in my 30s and were admitted to Chicago Booth School of Business, and I was afraid that I cannot cope with both. My then-HP boss, Dan said, "Stephanie, if you make up your mind to do, you can accomplish it." This advice led me to thrive in successfully managing a large outsourcing account and graduating with High Honours. Thanks to Dan.

For many years on, I have followed suit and actively mentored executives and teams to foster trust, growth and success. Some of the mentees that I have coached have excelled in their career and achieved momentous success in their respective fields. Being a part of their journeys, gives me great joy as I continue to see growth in the tech industry. Talking about reverse mentoring, I have also gained much fresh perspectives from them, sparking new ideas.

I am privileged to be part of MentorConnect - a cross-company mentorship programme dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is indeed an exciting initiative, which ST Engineering together with Dell Technologies, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Salesforce launched, and I truly enjoyed facilitating and sharing experiences with our mentees at our MentorConnect sessions.

Instead of saying no to mentoring, consider it as platform to hone your coaching and leadership skills and do it with an open mind, as the mentees may teach and share new ideas as well. There is definitely nothing more rewarding than knowing you are making a difference to someone else’s life.

Being Good, Feeling Good and Doing Good

Be it mentoring or innovating with new tech, I would say it all translates to my aspirations in life of being good, feeling good and doing good.

• Being good is to live life to the fullest and enriching people around us positively

• Feeling good is about to be constantly curious and learn about the arts, science and humanity

• Doing good is to do the work that I can create real impact by bridging people and technology, diversity and inclusion, trustworthiness and sustainability.

So, are you ready to dispel your fears and doing good?


Curious to know what is it like to be working in tech? Stephanie shares her view in this 2 minutes video:

Special thanks to Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre (HYC) for the film location.

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