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Press Release

DesignSingapore Council and SkillsFuture Singapore partner Tribal Worldwide to launch transformational skills development programme for SMEs in the design sector

7 min read

28 January 2021 – Local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the design sector will get more support to build the skills and capabilities of their workforce, and be part of a learning ecosystem that will enable them to grow their businesses by investing in their talent. Led by Tribal Worldwide, SMEs will be able to identify capability gaps, co-design training plans and access government funding solutions to address their skills training needs. This first-of-its-kind industry-led skills development programme is made possible with the support from DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), through the SkillsFuture Queen Bee initiative. 

Against the backdrop of rapid digitalisation of customer experiences and business models, further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in demand from all areas of the economy for customer-centric services and solutions. This has led to a critical need for the design, marketing and technology industry to evolve their capabilities to keep pace with these developments. The introduction of this new programme for the design sector is timely during such economic uncertainty as it aims to help local design SMEs strategise and invest in the development of their own talents. This would make it more sustainable for their businesses in the longer term, rather than focusing on short-term business goals such as sales revenue increment.  

Tribal Worldwide – a subsidiary of DDB Group Singapore – is the first SkillsFuture Queen Bee company appointed in the design sector to drive this initiative. As an industry leader, Tribal Worldwide will reach out to design SMEs to understand their skills needs and develop a holistic plan to deepen design excellence within the industry, with the aim of responding to rising demand for quality experience design and innovation.  

Through the SkillsFuture Queen Bee partnership, Tribal Worldwide aims to transform the current context of the design sector by fostering a community of learning and encouraging a culture of collectivism.  Smaller firms are encouraged to come together or partner other firms that can complement each other’s capabilities, so as to grow their business collectively and share knowledge, as well as gain a competitive edge when competing with larger design companies. Design SMEs that participate in the programme will also have access to a conducive support network that shares a common goal to grow through skills.  

Tribal Worldwide will impart their expertise gained from their own transformation journey with participating SMEs, having developed the Total Experience consulting offering and Equator training programmes over the last few years. These SMEs will be supported by a Skills Manager who will assess their current capabilities and identify future capabilities required to drive business goals. SMEs will be guided by a robust skills development framework that draws the best of public resources from SSG and Dsg, such as through the Skills Framework for Design, as well as funding support from the government and private resources from Tribal Worldwide.  

Design talents will receive training in transdisciplinary skillsets across the diverse spectrum of specialist disciplines. This includes technical design, strategy and research skills as well as non-technical innovation and management skills required for today’s holistic experience design solutions. Design leaders will be coached to develop their talent attraction, retention and management strategy to foster a culture of growth.  

Tribal Worldwide’s goal is to support at least 30 SMEs on their learning journey over the next 12 months. The initial phase of recruitment for the programme has begun with five companies and Tribal Worldwide will share more at a later stage.  

Mr Jeff Cheong, Deputy CEO of DDB Group Singapore: “Tribal Worldwide has been through its own journey of digital transformation by evolving our skills and services that focus on the experience economy. As a network, we arrived at Total Experience™️ where each of our practice leads for business consulting, customer experience, technology, data and creative deliver innovative solution for our clients.  Our in-campus operation Equator has expanded from Temasek Polytechnic to other Polytechnics. We are committed to impart and train up the next generation of tech-creative thinkers and doers for a post-pandemic world. Now with the SkillsFuture Queen Bee partnership with SSG and Dsg, we are ready to share our experience and expertise with our peers in the industry, and grow a stronger ecosystem, to take on the opportunities and challenges ahead together.” 

Mr Mark Wee, Executive Director of Dsg said, “The SkillsFuture Queen Bee initiative is timely in this climate where digitalisation and consumer trends are evolving, and design talents will require transdisciplinary skillsets to respond with agility to keep pace with these developments. We are heartened that Tribal, a leading firm in the design industry, has stepped forward to share its experience with other design SMEs, on how investing in their people through skills development and training could help businesses boost internal design and innovation capabilities and strengthen their competitiveness. Over time, we hope to see an ecosystem of design SMEs who see the value in, and are committed to prioritising training as a business and people development strategy.” 

Mr Ong Tze-Ch’in, Chief Executive of SSG said: “Partnerships with SkillsFuture Queen Bee companies, such as Tribal Worldwide, will help to extend the reach and impact of the SkillsFuture movement to more companies and in particular, SMEs. We are thankful to Tribal Worldwide for coming on board the initiative. We will continue to bring more partners onboard the SkillsFuture Queen Bee programme to further build up our SMEs’  business capabilities and sharpen their competitive edge.” 

More details on the SkillsFuture Queen Bee partnership is on Annex A. 


About Tribal Worldwide 

Tribal Worldwide Singapore is the leader in digital business transformation, providing solutions: enterprise e/m -commerce; Adobe experience manager; social media marketing; native content marketing; user experience consultancy; social content and community marketing; mobile applications and Internet of Things. It has a team of 140 professionals, including 50 technologists. Founded in 2001 as a division of DDB Group Singapore, Tribal Worldwide Singapore is also the Global Centre of Excellence for Technology providing innovation leadership for the 35 Tribal Worldwide offices across 21 countries. For more information, please visit 

About Design Singapore   

DesignSingapore Council’s (Dsg) vision is for Singapore to be an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city through design by 2025. As the national agency that promotes design, our mission is to develop the design sector, help Singapore use design for innovation and growth, and make life better in this UNESCO Creative City of Design. The Dsg is a subsidiary of the Singapore Economic Development Board. For more information, please visit

About SkillsFuture Singapore  

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will drive and coordinate the implementation of the national SkillsFuture movement, promote a culture of lifelong learning and strengthen the ecosystem of quality education and training in Singapore. Through a holistic system of national SkillsFuture initiatives, SSG enables Singaporeans to take charge of their learning journey in their pursuit of skills mastery. SSG will also work with key stakeholders to ensure that students and adults have access to high quality and industry-relevant training that meet the demands of different sectors of the economy for an innovative and productive workforce. For more information, visit

Media contact

Jayne Tay

SkillsFuture Singapore

D +65 9711 5809
Jolene Quek

Tribal Worldwide Singapore

D +65 96822001

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Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines
One of Asia’s premier design festivals that champions design thought leadership
National Design Centre