The Annual Co-operative Leaders Conference (ACLC) 2022 may have drawn its curtain for the year, but the spirit of innovation and buzz live on. Happening at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia from Nov 5 to Nov 8, ACLC 2022 covered salient pointers on cybersecurity, crisis communication and even have co-operative leaders join the Forward Singapore conversations.
We hear from some of the attendees—Ms Wily Wan (SNCF EXCO), Ms Jenny Koh (Ngee Ann Co-op), Mr Stanley See (ST Co-op), Mr Daniel Chua (NTUC First Campus), and Dr Leong Choon Kit (GP+ Co-op)—about their reflections from attending ACLC 2022.
What did you feel when you first saw the unveiling of the new co-op movement logo?
Wily Wan: I love how visually appealing the co-op movement logo is. I appreciate the meaning behind the different elements of the logo: the arrows to signify growth and progress, the different coloured circles to signify various characteristics and values of the co-op movement, and finally the tagline which encapsulates, in two simple words, the very essence of what co-ops are about.
Jenny Koh: It is vibrant, and signified co-ops’ readiness to share knowledge, leverage past experiences and the co-ops’ leadership and communication prowess.
Stanley See: I guess the devil is in the details! How the 3 ‘O’s come together makes the logo chic and cool, highlighting the cooperative spirit. This new logo injects vibrancy into Singapore Co-operative Movement and acts as a timely reminder to co-operatives about their mission and objectives with a refreshed sense of vitality and energy.
Daniel Chua: The colour scheme evoked a sense of vibrancy and energy. I think the timing was apt as we just emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic. The new co-op movement logo provides an opportunity for the various co-ops to publicise relevant services to the public at large under a larger umbrella.
Dr Leong Choon Kit: The new logo with more vibrant colours adds more vibrancy to the co-op movement.
Why is cybersecurity an important topic today?
WW: Cybersecurity should be a top-of-mind concern for all organisations, whether big or small. Given that a significant factor in cybersecurity risk is employee awareness and preparedness, I thought that doing the session on "Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape" and subsequent panel discussion were exactly what we needed to bring awareness and focus attention on this important issue. I hope that attendees will be inspired to start discussions (if they have not already done so) within their organisations on what they can/should do to try and mitigate this risk area.
JK: It was a good topic since there are so many risks involved which have monetary and emotional impacts on individuals and families. We must be aware of the risks and strive to be safe from being scammed.
SS: With more organisations embracing digitalisation and threat factors getting increasingly complex, cybersecurity presents risks that need to be managed. It may be daunting and arduous to implement cybersecurity prevention, but we should all learn to keep ourselves updated on the latest scams. Co-operatives must always ensure that we are looking out for and protect our members’ well-being.
DC: The tactics used to exploit our vulnerability have become more sophisticated and the only way to protect ourselves and the organisations we represent is by equipping ourselves with the required knowledge. Yong Seng did a fantastic job in making a complicated topic simple to understand. Kudos to the panel members who answered questions and provided their expert guidance!
Dr Leong: Cybersecurity has always been an important part of our lives since internet started. Many of us have not caught up with the latest and having a speaker to give a quick overview with some depths is very important.
What is one thing you gleaned from the crisis communication segment?
WW: The importance of being prepared. While all organisations work hard to avoid crisis situations, sometimes a crisis finds us. Having a crisis management team or a playbook in place, thinking in advance about different potential crisis scenarios, and practicing how we can handle a crisis will all help to ensure that if/when a crisis situation arises, the organisation is prepared so that everyone knows what to do or not do.
The crisis management team can be mobilised to act quickly in order to contain damage and, in some cases, if well-handled even turn a crisis situation into an opportunity for the organisation to build trust and its reputation.
JK: It's enlightening to know what goes behind the scenes during a crisis. This shows the capability and strength of the people who spent hours in managing the crisis during the difficult times.
SS: My small co-op cannot afford a crisis committee, but there are things we can still do. This session reminded us the importance of becoming ready in case of any emergency when a crisis arises. It may be good to prepare a checklist of things to do (and not to do) for some of the possible scenarios we may potentially face. That way, we will not be dumbfounded or aggravate a crisis any further.
DC: The practical examples they shared helped anchor the principles Jessie and Anne (the speakers) shared. One takeaway from this sharing was to develop a crisis communication manual and to consider running simulation exercises so that in a crisis, we know what to do and how to communicate with the media.
Dr Leong: There are many ways to respond to a crisis. The sharing is a testament that with experiences and exposure, we can overturn a crisis to our advantage.
What did you think of the Forward Singapore exercise?
WW: I think the Forward Singapore initiative is one of the most important exercises of our time. Singaporeans are being asked to think about what their expectations and aspirations are for their future, and the future of the generations after us. I hope that the Forward Singapore exercise that we all participated in at this year's ACLC will start the ball rolling amongst all co-operatives in Singapore to think about how co-ops can support and help make that vision for our future Singapore become a reality.
JK: It was really engaging to see and hear the views and experiences from the different co-op members who shared about their past difficulties and what is needed for the future to improve the technical, social and emotional wellbeing of our members on the little red dot.
SS: There will be benefits when the local co-operatives work together with policymakers. This exercise will help bring Singapore and its people to better inclusivity and progress, all while reflecting our present achievements.
DC: I think this is an important conversation and a reminder that as co-operatives, we can play a role in shaping Singapore's social compact for the next decade. It's about doing more together.
Dr Leong: Personally, the exercise catered specifically for co-ops is a very good start as it stimulates our mind as to how we can help through the coops we have set up in the entire nation building process.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.