Puerto Rico Delegation Visit to Singapore

By Mei Lin Fung

Following our work thinking about Digital Puerto Rico, People-Centered Internet’s RAND Corporation project team leader Marci Harris and team members Linton Wells and Mei Lin Fung accompanied a delegation from Puerto Rico. 

This visit to Singapore had already been in planning before the devastation wrecked by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and was set up during the ICANN meeting in Puerto Rico which brought Mei Lin there for the first time. We are grateful to our PCI lead for Puerto Rico, Melvin Cordova for connecting us to Professor Eileen Figueroa who then introduced us to visit leaders Gloria Viscasillas from Banco Popular and Manuel DeJuan of Puerto Rico NEXT led a business delegation and Manuel wrote

“Our week in Singapore was an intense series of site visits and interactions with top leaders and sources-of-wisdom. The potent agenda was made possible by Mei Lin Fung and Johnson Paul, renowned Singaporeans and amazing world citizens. The attached agenda opens a window onto our activities. But, “meaty” as it may be, it doesn’t do justice to the torrent of “I3 – I-cubed” (information, insights, and inspiration) obtained. We interacted with truly remarkable individuals who shared freely their experience and perspective. Are we mesmerized with Singapore? Yes. Is it truly a source for Puerto Rico leaders to learn from and be inspired by? Yes. More on this topic to come. Stay tuned.

As background, the Singapore Delegation consisted of representatives from Puerto Rico’s private, academia, other non-government and government sectors. We travelled to Singapore for a jam-packed week (June 18-22 2018) to “harvest I3.” For perspective, the Singapore Delegation forms part of a larger plan to understand lessons from key jurisdictions that can fuel the acumen of Puerto Rico leaders/decision-makers. The Project was spearheaded by WPR/PuertoRicoNEXT, the Puerto Rico Private Sector Coalition, and the Puerto Rico Multi-Sector Collective Impact Movement Echar Pa’Lante.

Our immediate goal is to transfer the knowledge we obtained to Puerto Rico’s leadership, as it confronts our Island’s grand challenges. We hope that the strategic choices to be made will be based on big dreams, bold choices, swift and relentless implementation of strategies, and zero tolerance for “no se puede.” We have seen how it can be done. Per capita income in Singapore has risen from $500Sg in 1965 to $90,000Sg (about $67,000US) in 2016. How? Exceptionalism relentlessly pursued. Maximal multi-sector collaboration. Widespread bedrock values of duty, honor, the collective above the individual, and most of all hard work by everyone. ”

Manuel DeJuan of Puerto Rico NEXT

We all learned a great deal – I was particularly struck by our visit to the Ministry of Education and their involvement in the SkillsFuture initiative in Singapore – In the 2015 Singapore Budget, Singapore committed $1B -Sg per year through 2020 to this program (US$730 million). From the Singapore 2018 Budget (pages 16-17) in the section on Human Capital which included:

B35. Besides digital capabilities, we must also build deep skills for workers of all ages.

There must be depth in whatever we do, because this gives us the foundation to innovate, and the ability to compete. This is the essence of SkillsFuture.

B36. Industry partners have a big role to play here. Ultimately, the capabilities of a firm depend on the capabilities of its people.

B38 We will continue to work with industry partners, to help the whole spectrum of our workforce develop deep skills. This will help our people to stay relevant and develop the cross-cultural skills needed to capture opportunities in the region and beyond.

…. for our corporate leaders, it is important that they have the skills needed to drive the transformation of their businesses and industries. To develop the next generation of corporate leaders…

We will be tracking the developments between Puerto Rico and Singapore and how the Internet can help improve social and economic opportunity for all.

PURSin.pdf

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