4 Signs Why your Business will need to Innovate in the New Economy

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Commentaries | 0 comments

On March 4th, 2014, Nominated MP Janice Koh, speaking in parliament, urged the government for deeper changes in the education system to promote creative thinking as well as more support for the creative industries, to prepare Singapore for long-term quality growth based on innovation.

While Nominated MP Janice Koh’s argument for more creativity in school and support for the creative industry is not new:

i) Rudolf Arnheim put forth his argument for more creativity in education in his book “Visual Thinking” in 1969; Edward de Bono similarly did so in his book “lateral thinking” in 1970,

ii) Supportive measures for the creative industry was proposed by the ERC Services Subcommittee Workgroup on Creative Industries in its report September 2002,

we would like to argue that it is  extremely timely because Singapore is at a very important turning point in its economic history.


Below are four signs why, if you are a Singaporean Business, you will need to innovate in the new economy.


1 Local Pressures in Factors of Production

Local Pressures in Factors Of Production

Local Pressures in Factors Of Production

At this juncture, Singaporean businesses are or will be experiencing immense pressures affecting their factors of production:

i) slow economic growth after high growth spurred by the strategies of developing the gaming, financial, biomedical and aerospace engineering industries,

ii) high costs of production material: steady inflation, strong currency,

iii) high costs of labour: with a groundswell of opposition to the dependence on cheaper foreign labour as an economic competitive factor, resulting in eventually a need to rely on more expensive local talent

iv) a more diverse working populace, including higher levels of financial literacy, enlightenment and diverse ambitions and aspirations.


2 Sophisticated Domestic Demand

Sophisticated demand on Singapore's transport system can be an impetus for innovation

Sophisticated demand on Singapore’s transport system can be an impetus for innovation

With a high standard of living coupled with an overwhelming desire for more to life beyond work, the people of Singapore are becoming increasingly sophisticated buyers with high expectations on service and product standards.  Increasingly, buyers not only expect and demand user-friendliness, but demand user-intuitiveness.  “Easy-to-use” is no longer good enough.  “Second-nature” is the norm.  Anything that is not immediately and intuitively usable and that requires an accompanying user guide, not to mention user manual, might well be trashed.

With an extremely hectic lifestyle and technological sophistication, efficiency is no longer measured in days, hours nor tens of minutes but possibly in minutes and seconds.

As an example, the increasing dissatisfaction of Singaporeans with existing housing options (and costs) and transport are great opportunities for innovation in these industries and markets.  Likewise, Singaporean businesses will be able to thrive and innovate, if they can be inspired by putting themselves in the shoes of their sophisticated domestic customers.


3 Supporting Workforce and Industries

Virgin Atlantic Safety Video is an example of how extensive innovation can tap the creative industry

Virgin Atlantic Safety Video is an example of how extensive innovation can tap the creative industry

With growing aspirations, young Singaporeans and residents today look to very different jobs, career choices, motivations and work fulfilments.  Young people are more exposed to life’s motivations higher up the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs.  To a certain degree, MP Ms Janice Koh along with many parents, are falling behind the educational institutions.  Many parents are still very much entrenched in the traditional emphasis on academic excellence whereas some of our best institutions have long begun to be more experimental and creative in exposing young people to different motivations and models of success .

If Singapore, our industries and Singaporean businesses are unable to provide the kind of jobs and careers that are creative, innovative and empowering and that our young people aspire to, we will lose many talents.  Conversely, businesses who are willing to innovate from the ground up will have a ready and sophisticated pool of creative local workforce as well as a growing number of young businesses in the creative industry to tap into.


4 Domestic Rivalry

Many companies and businesses in Singapore are already racing ahead to embrace this new innovation economy.  Domestic rivalry will result in selection of the “fittest” who have evolved earlier and faster to meet the evolving new conditions in the Singaporean business environment.


Are you ready?

This turning point for Singapore’s economy represents not a crisis that will bring us down on the sliding scale of economic growth but an opportunity for a different kind of growth.  As such, Nominated MP Janice Koh’s call on the government is a timely reinforcement of ideas that the government has already set into motion even while Singapore was experiencing high growth.  Singaporean businesses and business leaders would do well to heed the message and understand the new imperatives of Singapore’s future economy.  Are you ready?

Is your company ready to

• nurture the ability to connect and build relationships with customers through emotional intelligence?
• provide a solid platform for hard work and an intense passion for the pursuit of one’s dreams, wealth building and the well-being of others?
• encourage and equip your staff with the creative and innovative spirit and skills required for the new economy?

Come explore with us how you can achieve the above through Design Thinking for the New Singapore Economy!

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