Q & A with Dr. Shirley Yeung, UN Sustainability Expert on Rethinking the Future

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Dr. Shirley Yeung is an educator on issues around leadership and innovation, and an advocate for sustainability in business. She is an award-winning university academic, whose work has been recognized by the Hang Seng Management College, now a private university. She has a formal education in supply chain management, auditing and quality management – topics on which she has a considerable list of academic publications. Dr Yeung is a working group member of UNPRME Anti Poverty,  Human Rights and Asia Region Ambassador, Sustainability Mindset. And, a member of United Nations UNESCAP, Banking and Finance.

In 2017, Shirley was appointed an Associate Vice-President of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Hong Kong Association, a charitable body promoting sustainable development and international exchanges. In that role she has been fully engaged in fostering a discussion around corporate social responsibility, sustainability and management at a global level. She is also involved in grassroots organisations and enjoys yoga.

We sat down with her to get her perspective on some futurist topics and sustainability. 

TANTV: What skills are required for the next decade as we begin 2020? 

Dr. Yeung: 

1. Co-working with team skills

2. Individual commitment and proactiveness

3. Tech skills in layman language

4. Design thinking for innovations

5. Disruption with curiosity for pilot projects and bravery

Dr. Shirley Yeung

Q: What  issues have you dedicated yourself to solving or being an advocate for? 

1. Anti Poverty, engagement with women for technology and empowerment for the visually impaired. 

2. Sustainable business methods and engaging in international civil duties as an appointee at  UNSDGs / UNPRME 

3. Block chain application in industries and publications

4. I am also committed and advocate for global yoga wellness

Q: What are some futurist issues facing us as we begin a new decade? 

  • Lack of integrating contemporary issues with mind, spirit, values, skills and acknowledgement in a holistic way. 
  • Predicting the future with solutions to design updated curriculum for talents. 
  • Government should put in place policies and have ongoing dialogue with SMEs, NGO, young people for future possible actions with milestone plan. 

Q: What action points can governments, businesses and individuals take to be part of the solution? 

Governments and businesses can develop a mindset of Futurists with UNSDGs  (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) type of thinking. Under advanced technological development and no-boundary learning mode, disruptions are usually found in business operations and education models for sustainable development. In past decades, professional development focused on vertical learning in a certain discipline with some horizontal knowledge for a T-shaped holistic personal development. 

In order to have innovations in curriculum and positive values in life, we need to :

1. Integrate identified contemporary issues in our daily lives with alignment in our minds, spirits, values, skills, attitudes and knowledgement in a 3-dimensional way, that is, professional disciplinary knowledge supported by mindfulness and spirituality with sustainable skills, positive attitudes and universal values. 

2. Consolidate observed behavior and mindset of people around you to predict future, from reasons of issues, stakeholders affected to impacts created,  with possible and user-friendly solutions to design curriculum for talents and invent our lifestyle for sustainability,

3. Recommend improvements for government policy via ongoing dialogue with SMEs, NGOs, community with young people for possible actions with a milestone plan for a better world, 

If the above steps are followed with passionate and committed professionals and young people /mid-aged community, the following observed issues may be perceived from a new angle:

1. Anti Poverty actions may need to have engagement and empowerment with women and visually impaired community on advanced technology. 

2. Sustainable Business actions may need to embed with UNSDGs / UNPRME via operating CSR / SDG  (corporate social responsibility and sustainable development goals)  activities with compliance/ liaison professionals,

3. Blockchain community applications may need to have participation of a variety of industries with research and publications to educate the community and open up new business markets for new job creations. 

4. Integrated and holistic wellness lifestyle activities may need to have consistent measurements for a healthy person and society. 

Shirley Yeung can be followed on twitter @shirleyUNPRME11 

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