Founder & CEO, MindTheSystem

Agnes has a passion for the intellectual and humanitarian challenges that public service brings. She spent 17 years in the well-respected and rigorous Administrative Service of the government of Singapore. During this time, she gained much policy and service delivery experience, not to mention networks, through 6 extremely varied portfolios: defence diplomacy, labour policy, community organisation and social welfare, public service transformation, and land transport. 

Her niche – and passion area – is in transforming organisations through design. Design became the clarion call for Agnes’ career when she witnessed the transformative power of design in creating citizen value and agile organizations, when she was leading the charge for developing innovation approaches for the government, at the Prime Minister’s Office. In 2011, she wrote an internal manifesto that articulated the Singapore public sector’s ambition to be citizen-centric, and firmly put design at the heart of public sector transformation. She set up the Singapore public service’s first in-house design team; it is estimated that today there are 30 such teams scattered around various government agencies in Singapore. In 2013, she was sent by the Singapore Government on a one-year attachment to a global design consultancy, IDEO (San Francisco) to live and breathe design. Back to Singapore in 2014, she helmed the transformation effort of the Land Transport Authority of Singapore, where for the first time, an engineer-heavy organization saw a transportation system not as sets of infrastructure, but rather as delivering a loveable transport experience to citizens. 

Agnes headed the DesignSingapore Council as its Executive Director from November 2016 to May 2018. The Council is the national government agency in Singapore for all things design, and its vision is for Singapore to be an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city by design. Agnes and her team charted national policies and programmes for growing the design ecosystem, advised business and government leaders on using design to transform their organisations, worked with academic institutions to strengthen design education, and helped design businesses grow. 

From 1 May 2021, Agnes is the Founder and CEO of MindTheSystem, a consultancy and training outfit whose mission is to help government, non-profits and private sector build their internal capabilities and confidence to address complex systems challenges, through a combination of Futures foresight, Systems Thinking, Design Thinking and Cognitive Behavioural approach. She has distilled her 20 years of experience working in complex environments into a ,methodology and practical tools to help teams and leaders navigate complexity - but most importantly, to build the mindset and muscle memory required to address their own complex challenges. 

Agnes graduated with a First Class B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, Lincoln College in 2000. She went on to do a M.A. in International Relations in the University of Chicago in 2001. She has an Advanced Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Coaching, by the Centre for Coaching in the UK, accredited and recognized by the British Psychological Society and International Society for Coaching Psychology.