Lena Goh | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 AP Lena Goh

Lena Goh

Director, Public Affairs

Temasek International
Singapore

“I admire the B2B folks most especially those with an obscure or no touchpoint with users. That calls for ingenious creativity to touch people”

Lena Goh joined Temasek in 2017 as public affairs director, after serving for three years as chief marketing and communications officer for GovTech Singapore, which successfully repositioned the island state around the idea of being a ‘Smart Nation’, by driving digital transformation of government ICT solutions and providing better digital services to citizens and businesses. As such, Goh has plenty of experience when it comes to driving transformational change, skills that she honed during her previous corporate stints leading communications at Microsoft and Motorola. 

How do you define innovation?
Understanding a friction point and being able to disrupt the norm and tap on an opportunity to solve the problem.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Norges Bank, using real time data to explain their work.

 In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
It’s easy for consumer marketing folks to innovate as they have a direct touchpoint with consumers. I admire the B2B folks most especially those with an obscure or no touchpoint with users. That calls for ingenious creativity to touch people or gain recognition/ brand preference.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Taking on the challenge to brand Singapore as a Smart Nation. It was tough when we first started 4-5 years ago. No students, parents or teachers would recommend their kids study Computer Science or be an entrepreneur. We had to leverage on many channels both domestically and internationally to pitch ourselves and build credibility. Love it that Smart Nation is synonymous with Singapore today.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Our Prime Minister Lee. His resilience and tenacity that if its good for the nation let's just do it. Its not just about the approach, but the mindset that we dare to try but put in all the precautions to make sure when we try, we give it our best shot at success. But even if we don't get it right, we learn from it and do better the next time. That's how it has allowed our small nation to progress. 

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Yoga and travel! I love the diversity and how much you can learn from fellow global citizens. Constantly putting oneself in others perspectives.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Don't just compartmentalise oneself into a box. Even if its a different industry, market or stakeholder, you can always learn and pick up from something or someone that you least expect. Basically, keep your mind open to all possibilities!

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Going back to school to pick up international trade and politics.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
Black Mirror on Netflix, spooks me out but yet opens my mind to all the possibilities that technology will provide us with.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Early morning. I'm an early bird and I think and process stuff early in the day. I like to get the urgent stuff sorted out first thing in the morning before getting caught in the daily meetings.