Digital Leadership as a Catalyst for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Southeast Asia

This article is based on the opening remarks given by Fabian Bigar, CEO of MyDIGITAL Corporation, at the MOU signing ceremony for the Executive Digital Leadership (EDL) Programme, held on August 24, 2023, in collaboration with the Asia School of Business and Technology Immersion Partners.

Digital transformation and artificial intelligence have become essential for data-driven decision-making. Malaysia, recognising this, has made significant strides in going digital, especially in areas like business and communication, spurred on by the challenges posed by the pandemic. 

Malaysia’s leaders are also diligently addressing digital challenges, transforming education, and enabling continuous learning, as outlined in the Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint. However, despite these efforts, some parts of Malaysia’s economy have not fully embraced digital technology. Hence, to allow Malaysia to better accelerate its digital transformation, the need to invest in digital leadership is paramount. 


The missing puzzle piece that will accelerate digital transformation in any organisation is digital leadership.

– Fabian Bigar, CEO of MyDIGITAL Corporation, in his opening remarks at the MOU signing ceremony for the Executive Digital Leadership (EDL) Programme.


Digital Leadership and Why It Matters

In his opening remarks, Fabian mentions that digital leadership is a modern approach marked by agility, inclusivity, and a deep understanding of the vast potential in the digital world. It transcends mere technological prowess and delves into the sphere of adaptability and innovation; qualities that one needs to develop and nurture in leaders of today and tomorrow.


Organisations where their leaders are at the forefront of transformation are up to 3.1 times more likely to achieve success,” said Fabian Bigar. “This adds to their economic competitiveness as they are mostly to be more agile and robust to effectively respond to change.


Thus in line with the Malaysia’s Ekonomi Madani strategy, inclusivity is necessary to ensure we lift the floor and raise the ceiling of Malaysia’s digital economy for all segments of the society and a successful whole-of-nation approach requires a concerted effort from the public and private sectors as well as ownership and proactiveness from the “rakyat” to reduce the digital divide.”


Championing inclusivity through digital leadership.

In line with this vision, the Executive Digital Leadership (EDL) Programme was launched by the MyDIGITAL Corporation, in partnership with the Asia School of Business.


“The EDL Programme aims to provide access to empower executives in the public and private sectors with leadership skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in a digital economy, to nurture change agents for digital transformation by equipping future and current leaders with forward-thinking perspectives on digitalisation and to cultivate a high degree of understanding of emerging technologies, integration strategies and key elements of successful digitalisation.

– Fabian Bigar, CEO of MyDIGITAL Corporation, in his opening remarks at the MOU signing ceremony for the Executive Digital Leadership (EDL) Programme.


Spanning  three months, the EDL programme was designed with the spirit of digital transformation at its core, emphasising adaptability, agility, and flexibility. This comprehensive approach includes classroom lessons in collaboration with MIT Sloan at Asia School of Business,

With a curriculum delivered by renowned academic faculty from Asia School of Business in collaboration with IT Sloan at Asia School of Business, focusing on areas of digitalisation, cybersecurity, leadership, and management, and complemented by immersive industry engagements with Technology Immersive partners such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, and Shopee, participants have a unique opportunity to benefit from the best of both worlds


True Innovation stems from the people, not organisations

True innovation doesn’t spring from intricate algorithms or advanced statistics; it originates from people. They are the ones who shape the future, unlock the potential of the digital world, and guide nations toward an inclusive, skilled, and prosperous tomorrow.

As we navigate this digital era, it’s crucial to remember that leadership relies on the strength and adaptability of individuals. In their hands lies the task of transforming today’s aspirations into tomorrow’s realities. This represents the essence of genuine leadership in the digital age, where people are the driving force behind enduring change.

In the words of Fabian, ‘The digital leaders nurtured today will spearhead a pivotal new era of digitalisation tomorrow.'”


About MyDIGITAL Corporation

MyDIGITAL Corporation is a Strategic Change Management Office under the Ministry of Economy, incorporated in 2021 to lead national level change management through driving the execution of the initiatives under the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint and the National 4IR Policy. It serves as the secretariat to the National Digital Economy and 4IR Council (MED4IRN), chaired by the Prime Minister, that is responsible for leadership and policy direction of the digital economy and 4IR-related policies. It also hosts the World Economic Forum’s Malaysia Centre for 4IR; the 1st in ASEAN and 19th in the world.

MyDIGITAL is an initiative that symbolises the government’s aspirations to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation that is digitally-driven and a regional leader in the digital economy.

For more information about the EDL programme, read through the official press release published by MyDIGITAL Corporation. 

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Mouna Aouri

Programme Fellow

Mouna Aouri is an Institute Fellow at the Tech For Good Institute. As a social entrepreneur, impact investor, and engineer, her experience spans over two decades in the MENA region, South East Asia, and Japan. She is founder of Woomentum, a Singapore-based platform dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs in APAC through skill development and access to growth capital through strategic collaborations with corporate entities, investors and government partners.

Dr Ming Tan

Founding Executive Director

Dr Ming Tan is founding Executive Director for the Tech for Good Institute, a non-profit founded to catalyse research and collaboration on social, economic and policy trends accelerated by the digital economy in Southeast Asia. She is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at the National University of Singapore and Advisor to the Founder of the COMO Group, a Singaporean portfolio of lifestyle companies operating in 15 countries worldwide.  Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, business and society, including sustainability and innovation.


Ming was previously Managing Director of IPOS International, part of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, which supports Singapore’s future growth as a global innovation hub for intellectual property creation, commercialisation and management. Prior to joining the public sector, she was Head of Stewardship of the COMO Group and the founding Executive Director of COMO Foundation, a grantmaker focused on gender equity that has served over 47 million women and girls since 2003.


As a company director, she lends brand and strategic guidance to several companies within the COMO Group. Ming also serves as a Council Member of the Council for Board Diversity, on the boards of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC), and on the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.


In the non-profit, educational and government spheres, Ming is a director of COMO Foundation and Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) and chairs the Asia Advisory board for Swiss hospitality business and management school EHL. She also serves on  the Council for Board Diversity and the Digital and Technology Advisory Panel for Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre.


Ming was educated in Singapore, the United States, and England. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and her doctorate from Oxford.