DONALD LOW HOW TIAN Associate Partner, Centennial Asia Advisors
Donald is an accomplished writer, speaker and consultant with extensive experience in the public, private and higher education sectors. He’s a highly regarded trainer in areas such as decision-making and risk analysis; behavioural economics and its policy and commercial applications; inequality and social policy; organisational behaviour; and the political economy of Singapore. He has also rich experience in leading or setting up executive development units, and in designing leadership programmes.
Prior to joining Centennial, Donald was the associate dean of executive education and research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, from 2013 to 2018. Besides teaching in the School’s masters’ programmes, he led his team in developing open enrolment programmes in areas such as policy and risk communications, behavioural insights in public policy, public-private partnerships, government in business, Southeast Asia’s political economy, decision-making in complexity, and the changing policy and economic landscape in Singapore. These are now an integral part of the School’s executive programmes every year, serving more than a thousand senior officials from the region every year.
Donald previously served more than a decade in the Singapore government as a member of the Administrative Service. During that time, he established the Centre for Public Economics at the Civil Service College to advance economics literacy in the Singapore public sector. Donald also held senior positions at the heart of the Singapore government. He was the Director of Fiscal Policy at the Ministry of Finance from 2004 to 2005, and the Director of the Strategic Policy Office in the Public Service Division from 2006 to 2007.
Donald has also written two books. The first, Behavioural Economics and Policy Design: Examples from Singapore (2011), was a pioneering book that detailed how Singapore has applied ideas from behavioural economics in a number of policy domains. His second, the best-selling 2014 book Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus, raised searching questions about the long-term viability of many aspects of governance in Singapore. Donald argues that a far-reaching rethinking of the country’s policies and institutions is needed in light of new economic, demographic and political realities. Such rethinking is necessary even if weakens the very consensus that enabled Singapore to succeed in its first 50 years.
Donald holds a double first in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and a Masters in International Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.