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MIT conferences highlight post-pandemic innovation

Professionals around the world convened March 5 to 12, 2021, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., to discuss prospects for innovation in the post-pandemic landscape. Separate student-led conference tracks included the MIT FinTech Conference, MIT Asia Business Conference and MIT-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum.

More than 100 executives from leading companies, top professors and well-known investors from the United States and Asia covered trending topics in different verticals including, AI, blockchain, the emerging technology, healthcare, and startup.

Discussions highlighted the following three post-pandemic trends and opportunities:

  1. Digital transformation: Pandemics accelerate digital innovation across industries. For consumer product companies, the challenge is how to generate more contents and have flexibility to adopt contents by country in the timely manner to support good innovation and strategic planning. During this process, the consumer product companies cannot afford to use conventional method both from timing and budget perspective. The opportunity arises for smaller creative workshops here. The smaller player in consumer markets is impacted more than the big player all over the world, especially in emerging markets.

  2. Leverage Big Data: According to Professor Alex Pentland of MIT, we need to consider data as capital as we build the new economy. One of the key elements is how to manage digital identity while preserving privacy. Prof. Pentland cited use cases across industries, including financial services.

  3. Insurtech growth, digitalization: The Asian insurance industry, along with global insurtech, has been booming in since the onset of the pandemic. According to CB Insights, annual insurtech funding in 2002 reached an all-time high of $7.1B across 377 deals – a 12 percent increase in funding and a 20 percent increase in deals compared to 2019. There are three trends of insurance digitalization in Asia. First, as demand for contactless service increases, the completeness of online service platforms is critical. Second, emerging online sales broke down communication barriers and boosted revenues during the pandemic. Third, insurtech has provided varied innovative solutions for agents and service providers to engage with clients effectively, making it possible for agents to reach out to bigger client bases securely and compliantly without being limited by location.

South Asia market is clearly emerging fast, with 10 countries that in many ways resemble Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa. As South Asians graduate from U.S. and European universities, we may well expect to see more emerging business leaders and companies from this region.


Tracy Lai

FinTech Consultant


Tracy Lai provides strategic and business development solutions to executives, and entrepreneur. Her professional experience includes work at Fortune 500 companies including Intel and RBS, and startups. Her expertise covers business development, risk management, project management and investor relations, in Financial Services, FinTech, Innovation, Technology and Education. As management consultant and FinTech advisor, she holds multiple senior roles with focus on cross border and cross industry collaboration, including projects in US, Asia and

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