Professor Christopher Chia
Hall of Fame, 2015
While at the NCB, he pioneered the concept of quality assurance and application development standards in the Civil Service Computerisation programme. He then went on to head the IT Manpower Development and IT literacy promotion initiatives and also became the founding head of the Information Communication Institute of Singapore (ICIS).
Chris was eventually appointed as the Director of the Information Technology Institute, the R&D arm of the NCB. There, he led the team that developed and deployed strategic innovations which enabled organisations to prepare for their future including an educational management system - the Student-Teacher Workbench, which catalysed the world of digital content and learning management systems years ahead of their time. He participated in the formulation of IT2000, in the media, publishing and information services sectors.
In 1995, he took on a new challenge as the founding CEO of the National Library Board (NLB). There, he relentlessly led the team to innovate its way into the future, touching the lives of at least half the population. IT was leveraged to set up digitally-networked libraries which offered users information in multiple formats including electronic databases and various multimedia services. The Electronic Library Management System (ELiMS), the world's first to use radio frequency technology for lending and returning books, was introduced in 1998, with Chris as one of the co-patentees. New services like remote user answering services, self-check machines, cashless payments and library transactions using SMS were introduced, all of them innovative by the standards of the time. Also, all these ground-breaking steps permanently eliminated the long queues that had plagued the libraries.
By 2003, Chris and his team had tripled membership to over 2 million members, tripled annual loans to 32 million loans and increased visitorship six-fold to over 30 million visitors to the library.
From 2004 to 2010, as Chief Executive of the Media Development Authority, Chris was responsible for transforming Singapore into a global trusted capital for new Asia Media. Under his watch, he successfully increased the value-add of the sector from about S$4.27 billion in 2003 to over S$7 billion in 2010, with the sector comprising 62,000 media-related jobs in the television, publishing, film, animation and interactive digital media industries.
In 2012, Chris became an educator. He continues to contribute to the IT world by bridging IT to the business world. As Professor of Transformation Practice at the NUS Business School, he teaches MBAs, undergraduates and also senior executives from around the world.