Published on 11 Oct 2023

Bringing a human touch to problem solving: Prof Boh Wai Fong

Prof Boh Wai Fong is understanding how to manage the flow of knowledge in an organisation for business continuity.

Although it may not be so obvious in a landscape dominated by scientific and technological innovation, the social sciences and humanities are integral for interdisciplinary approaches to address real-world issues.

How businesses manage the flow of information in their organisations, the environmental and societal factors that affect the sustainability of aquatic farming and the perceptions of mental health conditions are some areas in which advances in medicine and technology intersect with the workings of society.

Pushing Frontiers speaks to three experts who provide fresh insight on addressing these issues to foster resilient organisations and societies ready for the future.

Photo of Prof Boh Wai Fong

Every aspect of an organisation’s success hinges on gathering and generating information. From sales targets and financial forecasts to talent acquisition and human resource management, large swathes of information are crucial to facilitate decision making throughout the organisational hierarchy. Prof Boh Wai Fong, Deputy Dean of NTU’s Nanyang Business School, wants to understand how best to manage this information effectively.

“My research interests lie in knowledge management and knowledge sharing, areas that are crucial for businesses to be productive, even amid disruptions,” says Prof Boh, who is also President’s Chair in Information Systems.

Maintaining business continuity in the face of various interruptions like manpower turnover is a challenge many businesses will face. Without proper frameworks in place to capture information such as workflows and standard operating procedures, valuable knowledge may be lost when employees leave the organisation. 

To ensure the continuity of an organisation’s critical functions, Prof Boh develops processes to effectively facilitate knowledge retention within a firm. Her research has shown that social networks and overall workplace environment are important factors that influence knowledge sharing in companies.

Prof Boh has published almost 40 papers in top journals and serves on the editorial boards of several renowned information systems and management journals. She also works closely with the industry and public agencies to recommend best practices of knowledge management.

Prof Boh is a strong proponent of using technology to manage information for sustainable business practices. Recognising the potential of implementing the blockchain for verifying information authenticity, she is guiding firms in using blockchain technology to validate sustainability initiatives. One example is using the blockchain to authenticate the use of carbon credits for offsetting carbon emissions.

In another project, Prof Boh leverages machine learning techniques to analyse text, images and videos of crowdfunding campaigns to figure out how different displays of information can influence a potential crowdfunder’s decision to financially back a project.

From her years of research, Prof Boh has a wealth of insight as to what it takes for a business to be successful. Supported by funding from Singapore’s National Research Foundation and the Social Science Research Thematic Grant from the Social Science Research Council in Singapore, she is compiling her findings into a book to help entrepreneurs identify, explore and create business opportunities.

Aside from leading research at the University’s business school, Prof Boh is the Co-Director of the Singapore Agri-food Innovation Lab and NTU Centre in Computational Technologies for Finance, where she continues her mission of developing solutions that drive sustainable innovations in companies.

The article appeared first in NTU's research & innovation magazine Pushing Frontiers (issue #21, December 2022).