The BUddy Post – HKBU Alumni Affairs Office

December 2022
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Go

People・Wisdom

Propel Innovation and Technology to Recast Tradition

An Interview with Mr Alfred Sit Wing-hang, Senior Advisor to the President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU

Mr Alfred Sit Wing-hang, Senior Advisor to the President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU

Mr Alfred Sit Wing-hang, former Secretary for Innovation and Technology, has served the Hong Kong Government for 40 years. Recently, he joined HKBU to take up the position of Senior Advisor to the President and Vice-Chancellor. Mr Sit hopes to make use of his experience gained from the Government to help the University scale new heights.

Recasting Tradition through Technology

On his new role in the tertiary education sector, Mr Sit is filled with great passion in his vision for HKBU: “A university offers a perfect environment to nurture future talents for society. I believe that young people in Hong Kong are outstanding, and I hope to build up mutual trust and respect with them through direct communication, so that we could, together, promote social harmony and contribute to a better future for society. Grounded in a Christian heritage, BUers to me, from senior management to front-line staff, are brimming with mutual trust and respect, so an ambience of open and effective communication is cultivated on campus.” The National 14th Five-year Plan has set the vision to develop Hong Kong as an international innovation and technology hub. As cradles for future leaders, the tertiary education sector of Hong Kong shoulders the prime responsibility to support the development of innovation and technology in the region. An expert in the field, Mr Sit stresses the importance of HKBU to embrace the power of innovation and technology into its strategic development. He is of the view that HKBU has many unique advantages which can contribute greatly to the innovation and technology development in Hong Kong. For example, HKBU is particularly strong in traditional Chinese medicine (CM). With such a strong foundation, HKBU is well competent to expand and introduce more scientific analysis in the traditional CM, say , by establishing a big data system concerning the diagnostic results of patients through traditional CM means. This evidence-based research will enhance CM diagnosis and treatments in a more systematic way. On another front, Mr Sit affirms the efforts HKBU has put into the advancement of Art-Tech. He says that Art-Tech does not only enable more participation of the audience in the art performances but also open up boundless frontiers for artists. Mr Sit also suggests that HKBU should attempt to develop effective business models for its innovative research outputs, which correspondingly will also be beneficial to the long-term development of the University.

Mr Sit shares his views on how HKBU could garner the power of innovation and technology.

Complementing Each Other

Mr Sit is of the view that the tertiary education institutions in Hong Kong should make the best use of its potentials and cooperate with other cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), so that they can complement each other to foster a win-win situation. He elaborates, “University faculty members in Hong Kong are more geared to conducting research in a free and open environment, leading to better performance in basic research, whereas on the Mainland, applied research for the benefit of business enterprises is more well established. The transfer of research outputs to business applications has to go through steps concerning the preparation of prototype, then small scale production followed by mass production, to be succeeded by the raising of capitals and finally marketing of the products. As an international finance centre, Hong Kong is best positioned as the bellwether in raising capitals for business development and Hong Kong is also well known for its excellent professional services. On the other hand, many Mainland GBA cities are strong in advanced manufacturing and usually own a vast array of land and labour resources, which in turn help lower production costs. Hong Kong and the Mainland GBA cities thus can complement each other in raising the productivity and competitiveness of the GBA for the greater good of the nation.” Having served for a long time in the civil service, Mr Sit said that he has met numerous BUers, they usually share common attributes of inclusiveness, and are receptive to new frontiers. To promote the development of innovation and technology on campus, Mr Sit emphasises that the power of alumni is not to be undermined. He encourages alumni who are thriving in different fields to share with their alma mater the pain points of their industry, so that research teams at HKBU can conduct research to find out feasible solutions for them. Furthermore, alumni could help provide networks and capital support to further promote the products of the solutions.

Mr Sit discusses with Director of Alumni Affairs Dr Melanie Lee (left) on how to enlist alumni support in promoting the development of innovation and technology on campus.

Exceeding Expectations

In his 40 years of civil service, Mr Sit served the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) the longest. He was promoted to head the EMSD in 2017 and has gone through a number of challenges in the journey.  He recalled that as part of the public sector reform in 1990s, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund was established in 1996 and from then EMSD needed to compete with private sector for their electrical and mechanical services to other government departments. This significant change has triggered Mr Sit to reflect on his team’s performance, “Regardless of the types of service, we have to adopt a client-oriented attitude. In this ever-changing business environment, a successful service provider not only has to fulfil client’s demands, but also exceed their clients’ expectation.” This client-oriented philosophy is also, in Mr Sit’s opinion, applicable to the tertiary education sector. Universities should always look for opportunities to excel and to exceed the expectation of their stakeholders including students, their parents and society at large.

Personal Traits Determine Your Destiny

Mr Sit believes that personal traits determine our destiny.  He shared that when he was young, he used to make ready his uniform and school bag every night in an orderly manner so as to get ready sharply for the school day next morning. This proactive attitude has helped him better prepare for unexpected situation and capture opportunities when available. Mr Sit also highlights that it is important for us to build up rapport and trustworthy relationship with each other. The power of getting small things done properly should not be underestimated. Usually only when you can demonstrate clearly that you are competent to handle small things right and gradually win the trust of others, will you be given the opportunities to shoulder more responsibilities.  To Mr Sit, young people should acquire good manner of dealing with people and work which begins with good habits. He recommends alumni to read the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by American management guru Stephen Covey, in order to get themselves prepared for a bright future.