Plan to stay ahead of change curve

The CBD skyline on June 5, 2014.
The CBD skyline on June 5, 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

Traditional borders between countries, communities and economies are not only blurring, but they are also constantly being redefined ("Thinking about the future now"; last Saturday).

Conventional frameworks for running a country in the new world of disorder will become increasingly irrelevant and will go the way of the dinosaurs.

As they say, what works today may not work tomorrow.

Singapore should never take its position and future for granted.

Although the future cannot be predicted with certainty and we need to expect the unexpected, that does not mean we cannot plan to stay ahead of the change curve.

Singapore will operate in a world that is at the same time local and global, competitive and collaborative, permanent and transient.

It is within this paradox that we will have to find the optimal equilibrium and craft the appropriate direction.

To manage the future, we must anticipate, embrace and exploit the kaleidoscopic pace of change.

We must never see it as a problem but as an opportunity to learn, grow and continue to be exceptional.

We must, therefore, build open, virtual and dynamic systems that will help us evaluate the impact of new and emerging developments, interpret trends, and think systematically about the future.

The key focus is not just to find ways to respond to every challenge, but also to build a more resilient people who will rise above every situation.

We need to be adaptable, able and agile to not only survive turbulence, but also exploit the silver lining in every storm and develop more advantages for stronger growth.

As the shelf life of operational models and differentials are shortening, we must continue to learn and cultivate new competencies and practices.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Plan to stay ahead of change curve'. Print Edition | Subscribe