Aaron Maniam is currently Director (Industry) at Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, responsible for coordinating economic policies and regulating the manufacturing, services and tourism sectors, as well overseeing long-term economic transformation. He joined the Singapore government in 2004, serving on the North America Desk of the Foreign Service (2004-2006) and at Singapore’s Embassy in Washington DC (2006-2008), where he was the principal coordinator for Congressional liaison and issues relating to the Middle East. He was posted to the Strategic Policy Office (SPO) at the Public Service Division in 2008, where he worked on scenario planning and analysis of long-term trends relevant to Singapore. He was appointed the first Head of the Singapore Government’s newly-formed Centre for Strategic Futures (CSF) in January 2010, while retaining his SPO portfolio. In July 2011, Aaron was appointed Director of the Institute of Policy Development at the Civil Service College (CSC), which organizes leadership training programmes for public sector talent (the top 1% of the public sector workforce). In 2012, he started the CSC Applied Simulation Training (CAST) Laboratory, an experiment to apply principles of “serious play” to training public officers to deal with complex environments. He led efforts to develop the College’s curriculum on complexity science, and convened the College’s multi-sector interest groups on Complexity and Governance.
He received his education at Somerville College, Oxford, where he graduated with double First Class Honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), was a Coombs Scholar and held the Mary Somerville prize for academic excellence. He was President of the Oxford Economics Society in 2000. In 2002, he received a Master of Arts degree in International and Development Economics from Yale University. He received a Master of Public Policy (with Distinction) from Oxford’s new Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) in 2014, which he attended on a Lee Kuan Yew Postgraduate Scholarship from the Singapore government.
In January 2011, Aaron was one of eight young leaders named an “Outstanding Young Singaporean” by the Orchid Jayceettes of Singapore. In June 2012, he was conferred the Singapore Youth Award, the highest national honour for young people who exemplify excellence in their professional lives and community work, by the Prime Minister. He was identified by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in January 2013
Abhijit is CEO and Co-Founder of Ezetap, which was started in 2011 to help merchants leapfrog India’s cash economy by using mobile solutions built on next generation web technology. The Ezetap platform allows merchants to become a banking service point and accept any type of electronic payment through a mobile handset or tablet. Abhijit has over 20 years of experience in building and launching mobile and software products, and Ezetap is the third mobile product he has launched in India. Previous experience includes leadership positions at ngpay (acquired by Flipkart) and Siebel Systems. Abhijit has a BS in Engineering from Cornell University and MBA from Harvard Business School.
Allan graduated from Nanyang Technological University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. Since then, he has embarked on startup projects varying from microbial research to biodegradable plastics. In 2005, he was awarded the Spirit of Enterprise Award by President SR Nathan for his entrepreneurial spirit and his efforts in promoting this mindset among youth. Allan has served on the panel of judges for the Startup@Singapore business plan competition and has mentored groups of young people aiming to launch businesses in Singapore
Bennett Bay is a composer and musician from Singapore whose music reflects everyday experiences and evokes emotion using pastoral imagery. His debut single ‘Komorebi’ was officially released to rave reviews in April this year on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp. Bennett has been playing music since he was eight, when he first picked up the suona in primary school, and has been writing his own music since 2011. He will now be recording his debut album in the coming months while he also heads to university to further his music studies.
Cheryl heads the strategic planning department at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and together with a team, is building the futures research and teaching capabilities at the School with the “Future Ready Singapore” project. Her work focuses on the intersection of technology, economic and regulatory policy and on capability development in futures thinking for policy makers.
Before joining the School in 2015, Cheryl worked in the Singapore Government where she led futures projects across several ministry portfolios for 8 years. She entered the world of public policy futures as part of the pioneer team for the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Futures Group. There, she led projects exploring the industry development potential of trends such as big data, and 3D-printing. After MTI, she moved to the Strategic Policy Office, under the Prime Minister’s Office, where she co-led the Emerging Strategic Issues Project v2.0 and led research work on the Evolving Role of the State. She also designed, developed, and delivered their in-house training programme, Futurecraft, specialising in foresight communication. Cheryl’s most recent ministry posting was to the Ministry of Transport where she helped to start the Ministry’s futures team and led the development of their policy framework for Autonomous Vehicles.
Cheryl trained as an economist and graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Melbourne in 2002. Cheryl graduated with a Master of Public Administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in 2013. Outside her day job, Cheryl consults for the social sector as Project Director for Conjunct Consulting and is a co-founder of Quad Research, a non-partisan collective that believes in expanding the space for data-driven discourse and assisting in better collective decisions for Singapore’s future.
Deepak Ravindran is the Founder and CEO of Lookup, a free and secure messaging app that connects shoppers with local businesses. A serial entrepreneur, Deepak has founded three mobile messaging companies in a decade: Innoz, Quest and Lookup. A 2011 INK Fellow, he has been recognized as one of the outstanding innovators under 35 by the MIT Technology Review and one of Asia’s 21 emerging leaders under 40 by the Asia Society. Recently, Business Insider described Deepak as the “Mark Zuckerberg of India”.
Gingger Shankar is a singer, virtuoso violinist, composer, model and songwriter, and was born into one of the world’s most influential musical families. Her accomplishments include working with top producers and film composers, and recently contributing to Katy Perry’s album “Prism” on the single, ‘Legendary Lover’. Gingger is an INK Fellow from the class of 2015. She is also the only female in the world to have mastered the 10-string double violin, an instrument that covers the entire range of the orchestra’s double bass, cello, viola and violin, and of which there are currently only two in existence.
Jason Hsu is an educator, design thinker, storyteller and learner of nature. A former journalist for Taiwan News, in 2008 Jason co-founded The Big Question Conference as a way to facilitate, build conversation and network among the youth in Asia. In 2009, he co-founded TEDxTaipei and has been serving as TEDx Ambassador since 2010. Recent work has involved building a new type of school that fosters peer-to-peer, project-based learning and online social learning; the “Starters School” is built upon the theory of beehives and mutualism. Currently, Jason is involved in the creation of Good Lab, a collaborative co-working space in Taipei
Originally from Holland, Jeroen has spend the last 19 years working in the USA, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, China and is now permanently established in Singapore – living and working as the CEO and co-founder of the Orca Group, a lifestyle and entertainment company. The Orca Group provides services and high end products from scuba diving training and equipment, sailing boats and most recently launched the cutting edge ebove™ bicycle simulator in South East Asia. Designed and created by Norwegian start-up Activetainment, the ebove™ bridges the gap between exercise, gaming and outdoor activities. The ebove bicycle simulator is going to rock the exercise, health, activity and gaming world by introducing a revolutionary connection of dynamic screen content and a motion controlled real time exercise device.
Jesko von den Steinen was formerly a principal solo artist with Cirque du Soleil, and at The House Of Dancing Water, the world’s largest water-based show created by the Franco Dragone Entertainment Group. He is currently working with Las Vegas Sands and Sands China as the Senior Advisor for Brand Identity developing the brand experience for a major upcoming integrated resort in Macau. Jesko has co-directed short films for Canada’s BravoFact TV, and worked as a creative strategist with advertising design agency Sid Lee, using his experience as a storyteller and theatre practitioner to integrate the performing arts into experiential advertising and events
Joi Barua is a musician from Assam, India who fell in love with music at the age of four, after his father gifted him a violin. Growing up, his town had one piano and no music teachers, and his father had to cross the border and get him a keyboard from Bhutan. Since then, Joi has been making waves in the advertising, music, and film circuit in Mumbai with his musical stylings and melodious voice. He is also the lead vocalist of the band Joi and has a mixed musical style incorporating elements of rock, soul, jazz, folk and world music.
Jonathan Reiber is Senior Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, where he focuses his research on policy planning, cybersecurity, and resilience. From 2009-2015 Jonathan held a number of senior positions in the Obama Administration, including Chief Strategy Officer for Cyber Policy in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense. In this capacity, Jonathan led strategic initiatives across the cyber policy portfolio and advised government leaders. He is the principal author of the 2015 Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, and has written articles appearing in the New York Times (under senior officials’ names), the Christian Science Monitor and other publications.
Kamran Elahian is Chairman of the BIT-AMENA Center for Building Innovation Economies at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. As an entrepreneur, Kamran co-founded ten companies, of which three failed and six produced a total market cap of over $8B. As a VC, Kamran co-founded Global Catalyst Partners with investments in the U.S., Japan, China, India, Israel and Singapore. Underlying his global vision is the conviction that modern ICT can be instrumental in dissolving barriers between nations and bridging the social and political differences among people. As an innovation catalyst, he advises various governments on the needed transition from fossil based economies to sustainable innovation economies
Kenta is the Founder and CEO at GAKKO, a collective of thinkers and makers working through design, technology, and pedagogy to question the way people learn. GAKKO’s mission is to craft experiences that inspire reflection and action, and through education, to form compassionate and engaged citizens of the world. GAKKO aims to make education richer and more accessible by re-modularizing it through thoughtfully designed digital learning tools and experimental summer camps created by collaborators around the world.
Prior to this venture, Kenta worked at Palantir Technologies and a handful of start-ups as a designer and engineer. He is also a professional magician, and a magic trick inventor
Min is the co-founder and Princess of Possibility at PlayMoolah, an innovation company that empowers the next generation to develop a positive relationship to money, using money mindfully for the well-being of people and the planet. The team is known for their innovative methods and award-winning products that combine educational, digital and community experiences with the power of play. Min brings an eclectic blend of experiences to lead product innovation, strategy, and community engagement. She has spoken to audiences around the world on various topics ranging from best practices in social enterprise, to connecting money with values for inner transformation.
Nancy Margried is the CEO and Co-founder of Piksel Indonesia Company, an enterprise that focuses on creative industries. She also created Batik Fractal and jBatik Software in 2007 to spread innovation to empower traditional artisans, giving them the tools, technology and skills to help them develop their crafts. Nancy was the recipient of the UNESCO Award of Excellence in 2008, was named Google Innovator Hero in 2013, and presented at APEC 2013. Nancy’s team is currently establishing a cooperative in Bandung, Indonesia, which aims to empower the community and bring them out of poverty
Neville is a Dutch architect who has been active in China since 2003 as the head of the Dynamic City Foundation, an international research platform investigating hyper-speed urbanization. At his design studio, Mars Architects, Neville works on sustainable projects on all scales – from buildings and furniture to urban master plans. Working on the premise that urban growth is essentially organic, Neville has applied his radical new Evolutionary Planning methodology in response to China’s accelerated and pressured market conditions. His most fascinating projects include the new Sino-Dutch Ecocity in Shenzhen and an ongoing sustainability strategy for Mumbai with the BMW-Guggenheim Lab. Neville is a 2013 INK Fellow
As the Head of DBS Foundation, Patsian Low drives the focus on championing social entrepreneurship in Asia. The Foundation is an endeavor from DBS Bank to make an even greater impact in addressing Asia’s evolving social needs. Patsian was the former Director of the Philanthropy division in the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) to provide programmes that promote and engage philanthropy from different donor sectors in Singapore. Some initiatives include the online philanthropy platform – SG Gives, independent charity analyst reports from the ICAn programme, bi-yearly Philanthropy In Asia Summit in 2012 and 2014 Funders Roundtable, among others
Peng T. Ong is a Managing Director at Monk’s Hill Ventures, a technology venture fund. He sits on the boards of YY Inc. and Singapore University of Design & Technology; and, also on the advisory board of the Chancellor of the University of Illinois. Until recently, Peng was also on the boards of SingTel and Singapore’s National Research Foundation; and, chaired Infocomm Investments. Peng founded Match.com (bought by IAC), Interwoven (now part of HP), and Encentuate (acquired by IBM).
The businesses he created now generate annual revenues that total more than US$1 billion. He has a master’s in Computer Science from UIUC and a BSEE from UT Austin.
Pulkit Jaiswal, 22, is an entrepreneur, roboticist and Founder-CEO of SwarmX. At 18, Pulkit designed and implemented a medical device at Stanford University that can recognize viral infection signatures in real-time from DNA samples. At 20, Pulkit founded Garuda Robotics, a company that is the regional leader in aerial drone fleet applications and services in Southeast Asia. Now 23, Pulkit is spearheading SwarmX, a startup building the world’s first fully autonomous drone platform for governments to tackle terrorism, respond to disasters and address poaching.
Dr. Ramanuj DasGupta received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from St. Stephen’s College and an affiliated Master’s degree in Genetics from Cambridge University. He also went on to earn a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology at the University of Chicago and to pursue postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. In 2005, Ramanuj started his own laboratory at NYU School of Medicine/NYU Cancer Institute and recently transitioned it to the Genome Institute of Singapore. Currently, his lab is focused on investigating the molecular regulation and function of cancer-signaling pathways in tumor progression, metastasis and treatment resistance using the power of the murine/human disease-relevant cell culture and animal PDX models.
Ramprasad Sundar is a sound designer, mixer and composer who has been writing music and editing sound for films and TV since 2009, both in Hollywood and India. Fluent in sound editing, mixing (Surround) in multiple formats and music composing, he also teaches music and sound to students around the globe. He has worked on several sound design and surround sound mixing projects including Bradford Young’s installation piece ‘Funk God Jazz and Medicine’. He has worked with Gingger Shankar, Mali Elfman, Anisa Qureshi, Santosh Sivan, Mandolin U. Srinivas, Shankar Mahadevan, Ilayaraja to name a few.
Rani Paruchuri is a serial entrepreneur, visionary and technologist with over 22 years of experience in information technology. She served with Intel Technologies for several years prior to founding Dream Tekis, a software products company for building B2B core insurance enterprise products. A well-recognized and respected name in the realm of corporate training in the domain of ERP and Sun Technologies in India, Rani’s brand equity lies in the rare combination of a passion for success, practical business sense and undoubtable technical expertise
Alarmed by the rising rates of suicides and stress levels in India and the concurrent social stigma attached to seeing a psychologist, Richa Singh co-founded Your D.O.S.T — an emotional support network for people to anonymously discuss their problems with qualified and experienced individuals. Since its launch in December 2014, over 50,000 people have sought support on the portal and the numbers continue to grow
Rick Smolan is a former TIME, LIFE and National Geographic photographer best known as the co-creator of the “Day in the Life” book series. He is currently CEO of Against All Odds Productions, a cross-media organization which utilizes the skills of hundreds of the world’s leading photographers, writers, filmmakers, designers and programmers to merge creative storytelling with state-of-the-art technology. Rick’s global crowd-sourced photography projects combine creative storytelling with state-of-the-art technology and have generated hundreds of millions of media impressions and have been featured on the covers of Fortune, Time, and Newsweek.
Robert Amjärv (bass, guitar) is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, and filmmaker. His musical pursuit began at an early age, primarily engaging himself in the self-taught route. Soon after graduating high school at 14, he attended the Academy of Entertainment Technology in his hometown of Los Angeles. Rob involves himself with a wide variety projects in LA, and continues to travel the globe as an active performer.
Ronak is the co-founder of NowFloats, a start-up aimed at make the internet relevant for India’s innumerable small businesses. NowFloats helps business owners without access to the internet or a computer set up and update their own websites entirely by SMS. An inventor at heart, this 2013 INK Fellow is also the co-inventor and chief advisor of Bolt, the world’s first smartphone charger for bikes, and the co-designer of a ‘Speech Glove’ which recognises finger gestures and converts them to speech
Sharad Devarajan is a creator, producer and media entrepreneur. His latest company, Graphic India, is the culmination of his lifelong dream to launch superheroes and stories that tap into the unique creativity and culture of India but appeal to audiences worldwide. In the same way the West has created superheroes or Japan launched anime, Graphic India is transforming the perception of India in character entertainment from being an ‘outsourcer” to being ‘the source.’ In addition to Graphic India, he is also the Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Liquid Comics, a digital entertainment company that uses the medium of graphic novel storytelling to develop original content for various digital platforms, publishing, theatrical live-action films, animation and games
Shawn Hoon, a Research Fellow at Molecular Engineering Laboratory, is currently working on developing means to amplify nucleic acids with bacterial cells, small RNA characterization in model organisms and applying genomics to biomimetic research. Shawn did his undergraduate work in computer engineering at the University of Virginia and obtained a PhD in genetics at Stanford University working on chemical genomics using yeast as a model organism. He is interested in projects that have both a computational and experimental bent
Shubhendu Sharma, an experienced industrial engineer turned eco-entrepreneur, is the Founder & Director of Afforestt, a company which creates urban forests. Developed using the Miyakwaki methodology for growing saplings from Japan, backed by robust management, intensive research and cutting edge technologies, Afforestt can create a “100 year old natural forest” in just 10 years. Shubhendu is an INK Fellow from the class of 2012.
Steve, a conservation biologist featured by National Geographic, is the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust in South Africa, an organization that works to preserve wildlife and advance the research and education on the conservation of all birds in Africa. The organization’s work has been instrumental in getting the Okavango Delta wilderness in northern Botswana listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its annual expeditions across the wilderness represent the most comprehensive biodiversity survey ever undertaken in this remote area. Steve recently completed a major National Geographic-sponsored expedition across the Okavango Delta to promote broader protection for the watershed and its wildlife
Suresh Shankar has over 28 years of experience working in a variety of roles ranging from large enterprises to start-ups, setting up new companies or divisions and launching or turning around brands or businesses. His latest venture is Crayon Data, a company that powers enterprises with the big data capability to offer ultra-personalized choices to consumers. Founded in Singapore in 2012 with a development center in Chennai, Crayon’s vision is symbolized by the seven tangrams in basic colors in its logo, with the idea to solve the perplexing data problem in a minimalist, simple, visual way.
Dr Susan Lim is the current Co-chair of the Global Advisory Council of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). At 35, she broke through the gender glass ceiling in transplantation surgery and became the first in Asia, and the second woman in the world to have performed a successful cadaveric liver transplant. Since then, Susan’s desire to discover that next big thing has kept her actively focused on robotics and stem cell research. She strongly believes that as society increasingly embraces technology, communication and interactions will extend beyond humans to robots and other inanimates.
Dr Sydney Brenner earned degrees in medicine and science in 1947 from Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand before moving to England, where he received a doctorate in chemistry from Oxford University and began taking part in leading-edge research into DNA, molecular biology and developmental genetics. It was Sydney’s pioneering research with Caenorhabditis elegans, however, that led to his Nobel Prize. In 1965, he began to lay the groundwork to make C. elegans, a small, transparent nematode, into a major model organism for genetics, neurobiology and developmental biology research. As a direct result of his original vision, this tiny worm became the first animal for which the complete cell lineage and entire neuronal wiring were known
Tan Hock Beng graduated from the School of Architecture, National University of Singapore, with a Bachelor of Architecture (Honours). He was awarded the Singapore Institute of Architects Medal in 1989, and has been involved in many competition-winning projects for a diverse range of building types globally. Tan is deeply committed to the study of traditions and cultures of Southeast Asia, and is particularly interested in how these relate to contemporary practices. He lectures widely throughout the world and his works have been exhibited in many cities including Tokyo, San Jose, Costa Rica, and the prestigious 9th Exhibition of Art and Architecture at the Biennale de Venezia in Venice, 2004
Thirthankar Dash created Quantum360, a human insights and design solutions lab that helps organizations innovate around powerful human insights. Prior to this, he also created StoryCompany, a unique search engine that helps individuals and communities find meaning in their lives. In addition, he authors askingmyself.com, a blog which provokes people to ask themselves un-frequently asked questions. He speaks often in classrooms and at conferences and forums
Veerappan Swaminathan is the founder and director of Sustainable Living Lab, that operates in Singapore, India and Indonesia. He has a keen interest in addressing sustainability challenges through foresight methods, community development and technology.
Veerappan is a pioneer of the maker movement in Singapore, was awarded the National University of Singapore Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 2019, the Joseph Jaworski Next Generation Foresight Asia Special Award in 2018 and represented Singapore at its UN SDG Voluntary National Review in the same year. He is also a recipient of the YSEALI professional fellowship by the US State Department. He sits on the panel of the Lotus-NUS Fund which awards seed funding to social enterprises.
He is currently working on ensuring AI fluency across the general population, getting companies to innovate around the UN Sustainable Development Goals and reducing healthcare expenses in aging societies.
Vikas Agarwal is the General Manager of OnePlus India and was instrumental in the Chinese smartphone company’s expansion into India. Agarwal was responsible for setting up OnePlus’s operations, building a local team and launching the OnePlus One in the country. Prior to this, Vikas served as Corporate Excellence Director at Ibibo Group for about a year and half and was also the co-founder and CEO of Paras Softcom, an online retailer of lighting and electrical products. He is also a founding member of PE fund SITQ India and has had stints at Trikona Capital, Ocwen Financial Solutions and i2 Technologies.
Vladi Ruppo is a seasoned software executive with almost 30 years of international experience. Born and brought up in St. Petersburg, Russia, he worked for 12 years in Jerusalem, Israel, before moving to Bangalore to set up a branch office of a British MNC. After stepping out of his role as VP, Engineering, CISCO, Vladi now wants focus on Beautiful Years, an elder care startup that aims to improve the lives of senior people and of those who care for them by facilitating mutual support, bringing innovative products, and providing socially reviewed listings of elder care services.