In order to be globally competitive, we need to start opening ourselves more to the world.

2018 is a World Cup year. This year, 32 teams from all over the world will be competing to be the World Champions, a feat achievable once in every four years.

In our real world – we are facing similar competition on a daily basis. We just don’t treat it like the World Cup, but we should. Every day, the global economy sees competition. The strongest, or the fastest, or the most innovative, or the most adaptable are the ones that win. This competition is not just about economies, but also ideologies, businesses, jobs, talent etc. With a fast-changing world, the competition gets even more frenetic. Adaptability and ability to move fast become increasingly the desired trait. What is relevant for us ordinary people is how we can sustain our living in this fast-changing environment? 

There are no easy answers to this question. But perhaps we can distil the ingredients that are essential to becoming competitive as a talent (in business, entertainment, sport, academia etc) in this new world environment.

Naturally, training, practice and developing skills are very important to be competitive. However, taking this a step further – these skills need to be developed and benchmarked to global standards. These should be global skills. Global languages, global outlook and attitudes. These skills will also further need to be honed against that global standard. To do this, we either send our talent to sharpen their skills amongst the best in the world, or we bring some of the best in the world to us. 

But training and developing skills alone to match global standards will not be enough. Talent, like flora and fauna, will need to have the right conditions to grow and bloom. Trying to match the world’s best without the right diet, encouragement, discipline etc will not work. So we need to replicate the best conditions for talent to flourish. In particular, to grow and develop intellectual talent, there need to be conditions that allow the mind to explore limits of knowledge and challenge norms to bring about new ideas, and new skills. A key principle in order to achieve this – create intellectually open and globally diverse minds in order to stimulate new ideas, bring about creative tension and preserve checks and balances.  Like the rich tropical forests in our country, preserving and balancing the diverse eco-system of talent is vital to ensure that the natural advantage of diverse talent brings about the opportunity to enrich each other.

The 21st century promises significant disruptions but with it new opportunities for the disruptors. This is the time to move forward openly into the world instead of retreating out of fear and seeking a false sense of protection. Yes, going forward is going to be uncomfortable – but the cost of not doing so will be far more immeasurable for decades to come. We cannot afford to be left behind. 

Basic education needed for uncertain future occupation

We fear that artificial intelligence – AI – will be taking away jobs from us in a big way. Although similar concerns were raised during the days when robots were introduced to the factory floor to automate manufacturing – in truth, the impact to the availability of human jobs was not significantly affected. But this time we now increasingly fear that jobs for humans will finally be threatened by technology – by AI, purely because technological development is far outpacing our ability to learn and adapt to new things. The jobs we know today may no longer be relevant in the future. Will there be new jobs or occupation in the future in such AI driven economy? And we know that it will not be easy for us to be retrained, reskilled – to unlearn and relearn new things. Thus, this begs the question of what kind of education should our children be given in order to survive in this uncertain future? Perhaps we should forget about teaching the next generation biology, physics, law, accounting etc. Perhaps we should teach them even more fundamental skills and habits such as reading, creativity, empathy, adaptability, curiousity, research, learning, problem-solving, interaction and the likes. What do you think?

AI and the destruction of human kind

We’ve seen a number of the intelligentsia, entrepreneurs and celebrities warn us of the threat of Artificial Intelligence. Pop culture too can be mined for such images and warnings of the dangers of AI. One then has to wonder how much of this is true and how much of it is some form of paranoia. However, if you were to watch some YouTube videos of interviews with AI Robots – some appear downright creepy and even seeming to indicate that humans are the problem. At this point, we cannot be sure if this was said tongue-in-cheek (I cannot read robot humour), or simply something scripted, or worryingly something based on those robots’ logical conclusion. Perhaps those robots were simply telling the truth based on their logical conclusion based on the evidence. If this is so, what should be our actions before it is too late? Should we ban AI? Should AI be regulated with some form of Asimovian Law of Robotics? Or should Human Kind simply try to prove itself (to the AI robots) that we are the solution, and NOT the problem – as it appears being concluded by the AI. Can we even achieve this within the short space of time before the singularity?

What is organisation culture? What are the dimensions to culture?

Organisation culture is quite hard to define.

Many seem to agree that organisation culture refers to the organisations’ values, beliefs, habits and how it interacts with different peoples or stakeholders.

Those are certainly some of the dimensions of organisation culture. But are there any others? What about how the culture is incentivised, i.e. its motivations? What about its speed of action, its urgency? Any others?

Would it be fair to explore organisation culture in the following dimensions (and are they the right dimensions)?

  • values
  • beliefs
  • habits, customs and norms
  • interactions with others
    • customers
    • employees
    • owners
    • competitors
    • partners
    • government
    • regulators
    • technology
  • motivations and incentives
  • speed of action
  • dealing with problems
  • fears
  • interests

I would like to discuss and explore these further. Only once we understand what is organisation culture, only then can we determine how we understand what creates this culture, so we can work with it, or even “re-boot” it.

So feel free to comment below, or even tweet me.