Karen Tay


Smart Cities

Karen is a Princeton-educated policymaker, strategic communicator and organizational transformer, and a member of the Singapore Government’s top leadership corps.

In her current role, Karen is Singapore’s Smart Nation Director and technology ambassador, based in the Bay Area. Her team unpacks exponential technologies such as Autonomous Vehicles and IoT and asks: how can Government, tech and business work together to bring about exponential outcomes for city dwellers? How can technology develop inclusively? How can we mitigate downsides, such as job displacement and privacy, and security? She writes about these, and others, at www.techandpublicgood.com, and is a sought-after speaker globally. 

Karen has a track record of stimulating innovation within the public service. Over the past decade, she started up the Singapore Institute of Technology. It was the first university to offer applied degree programs to students from vocational backgrounds, blurring the lines between industry and the classroom. Enrolment is now en-route to 10,000 students by 2020. She championed new policies worth $1b to enable more equal access to affordable, quality preschool education, and new opportunities for people with disabilities. She set up a new strategic engagement function in the Education Ministry, strengthening its ability to connect with the public on controversial policies. Before her move to America, Karen was a strategy and policy advisor, and speechwriter, to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet on technology and social issues.

Having set up numerous new functions in the Government, Karen acutely understands the challenges of disrupting a large organization. She has a passion for helping other leaders walk through these challenges in a way that is healthy for themselves and the organization.


  • Policy, Law & Ethics
  • Smart Cities
  • Finance
  • Education