With the release of the Committee on the Future Economy’s report on 9 February, the "future economy" has become a new buzzword. But what exactly does it mean?
If you’re feeling a little lost amid all this talk about the future economy, fret not. The fifth and latest season of the "Let’s Think About It" talk show programme may provide some answers.
Here are 5 key takeaways about the future economy from the 5 episodes of the programme:
1. Technology is transforming our ways of life and perhaps even parts of ourselves!
Technology has brought a lot of changes to the way we live and work. Disruption is now the talk of town and many worry that their jobs may be rendered obsolete by automation.
But many also forget that technology can usher in new possibilities. After all, if people like K8 Global President Jean-Luc Butel, a panellist on the show’s first episode, can quip that they want to have “organs that are 3D-printed”, then there must be someone out there leveraging on technology and working to make such services possible. That someone could be you!
2. "Mad cows" will see us in good stead in the future economy.
In case you are thinking of a dystopian future in which the world is ravaged by mad cow disease, it is absolutely not our intention. "Mad cow" is simply the unforgettable acronym offered by OSIM International founder Ron Sim, a panellist on the second episode, for the qualities that will make one successful in the future economy. It stands for Mindset, Attitude, Drive, Courage, Openness and Willingness.
Indeed, in an era of uncertainty, we have to fall back on our individual qualities in order to stay adaptable and nimble. Not surprisingly, qualities like having a resilient mindset, a learning attitude and the drive to constantly improve ourselves will be extremely beneficial. We should also develop the courage to take risks, the openness to venture out of our comfort zone, as well as the willingness to fail and try again.
3. We have to look beyond Singapore and seize global opportunities.
Although we often think of our "little red dot" as a term of endearment, we cannot deny that our domestic market is too small. If our enterprises want to succeed amid the global competition, then they have to think globally right from the get-go.
As SIM Global Education CEO Dr Lee Kwok Cheong, a panellist in the third episode, put it practically, "you must bring some services, products, solutions to the world, and someone is prepared to pay you for that." There are simply not enough people in Singapore to pay you for your groundbreaking innovations.
4. Preparing for the future economy is ultimately about ensuring a good home for all.
Part of gearing up for the future economy will involve sprucing up our urban environment. After all, Singapore is a city-state and we have no hinterland to speak of. Our city must remain a liveable home for all of us.
PSA International Group CEO Tan Chong Meng, a panellist in the fourth episode, probably spoke for many Singaporean parents when he was asked about his vision of Singapore as a future city. He simply replied, “I want a Singapore where my children will be happy to call home with their heart and have the confidence to be successful.”
5. To succeed, we have to take initiative and collaborate with each other.
For Singapore to become a future economy and a city with good opportunities for all, it boils down to teamwork. The Government, businesses, trade associations, unions, schools and individuals must all come together and support each other to transform for the future.
Grab co-founder Anthony Tan, a panellist in the fifth episode, offered great advice, urging us to take ownership of ourselves and find like-minded people to effect change: “Stop saying, oh this is a problem. Aiyah, why the government not fixing? Why don’t you just say, look, this is a great opportunity and I’m going to solve it first. I’m going to get groups of people that care just as much as I do.”