The World Economic Forum has warned that humankind is standing on the brink of a new industrial revolution that will change the way we live, work and relate to one another ("Industry 4.0 and S'pore manufacturing"; Feb 10).
This revolution is characterised by a fusion of new technologies that are merging the physical and cyber worlds, and have the power to disrupt entire systems of production, management and governance.
It has the potential to empower individuals and communities to create new opportunities for economic, social and personal development, but also raises the risk of greater inequality that can lead to more adverse consequences.
The challenge Singapore faces in navigating this change is enormous because of our inherent top-down culture of promoting control over empowerment.
To tackle this, I urge our leaders to first help Singaporeans build a shared understanding of the complex problems impacting us, and then design systems that will galvanise the people to work together to co-create the solutions.
We must shift away from the silo mentality and think strategically about the forces of partnership and innovation for our future.
In this new paradigm, agility and teamwork are critical factors for success.
Hence, we can harness technology-enabled platforms to bring together people, assets and data to form a purposeful ecosystem that thrives through deep collaboration.
It lowers barriers for individuals to share and create solutions with one another, thus opening up new value chains and improving old ones.
This model is applicable to businesses, as well as social and public sectors, to enable individuals, businesses, non-profit organisations and the Government to deepen engagement and improve transparency in managing diverse needs.
In the end, it all comes down to us to shape this change, which promises great opportunities, but greater potential perils.
We have the opportunity to succeed by the decisions we make and to lift Singapore into a new economic, social and personal consciousness based on our shared values and destiny.
The future is us.
Andy Sim Ngee Ho