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Pushing for growth in the age of value creation

To succeed, businesses must adopt a new cultural approach that unleashes creative thinking from all parts of an organisation.

One of the four key principles the Future Economy Committee has highlighted to guide its panel and policy-making is the investment in people and knowledge.

AS THE Singapore government calls for a rethink on the concept of value-adding in our diverse industries, the reminder could not have come at a more appropriate juncture. Value creation presents itself as an exciting new model for growth. What encompasses this new mindset?

While financial services, oil and marine industries and business services remain core to Singapore's economy, there are challenges emerging in each of them. Be it competition, costs or labour shortage, these challenges present a need to shift away from conventional thought.

Aside from new opportunities, the need to innovate will also feature strongly on the minds of business owners with a greater focus on growing productivity and engaging in a new strategic direction for their businesses.


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The relentless march of cutting edge technology has already claimed business victims that have long relied on "valuable" intermediaries. These "middlemen" demand pricey premiums. Businesses, in exchange for market share and supernormal profits, succumb to such alluring seductions.

As seen in recent years, extinction descends upon them when disintermediation takes root and demolishes the entire business to customer supply chain. Those of us who purchase flight tickets online, download songs or even order groceries from home instead of visiting the supermarket, would testify to the reshaping of these industries.

The launch of Infocomm Media 2025 sets the blueprint for Singapore to stay at the forefront of innovation and evolve into a Smart Nation as the country sets its eyes on productivity growth, high-skilled job creation and the fostering of a socially cohesive society. The Future Economy Committee has also highlighted four key principles to guide its panel and policy-making:

  • Investments in people and knowledge;
  • Innovation;
  • Integration;
  • Internationalisation.

However, as we migrate to a new paradigm, one should be acutely aware that the onset of value-generation within the new economy may not see the desired results in greater numbers being employed or real-estate take-ups; but it could turn on more dislocation of purportedly "value-adding" intermediaries.

The challenge for Singapore businesses to avoid being caught in this emerging transformation is in adopting a new cultural approach that is willing to unleash creative thinking from all parts of the organisation.

The emphasis on people and data cannot be understated in an increasingly connected world and economy. As shown in the S1000 companies, erudite and resourceful business leaders have been weaving and leveraging data across sectors and functions, empowering them to discern patterns, take calculated risks and drive strategic decisions. They are acutely cognizant of established competitors and new entrants alike deriving intelligence from Big Data to innovate, compete and create more value.

Accelerated by the size, speed and diversity of data, coupled with the right stewardship and open-mindedness to react quickly to emerging trends, the constellation of these successful companies, big and small, is truly well-positioned to ride and create waves.

  • The writer is chief operating officer of DP Information Group.