Set up agile, independent teams of experts to solve problems

Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung's comments about the need for Singapore to create an environment that is conducive for innovation to flourish are both insightful and timely (S'pore must be place where innovation can thrive: Minister; Oct 3).

To create such an ecosystem of innovation, besides cutting red tape and setting aside time, we could also consider embracing more radical approaches.

One approach could involve aggregating top inter-agency, national or international talents from industry and academia for fixed tenures into small, independent and agile teams to solve problems of national significance.

These teams of highly skilled, well-trained experts could be allowed to operate independently from mainstream organisations and protocols.

Talent could be moved in and out between teams, depending on how needs have changed.

Such a commando-style approachwould enable us to move fast, get the job done, then move on quickly to the next task.

In the brave new world of the digital economy and technological disruption, radical approaches to innovation would be the way to go to manage constant flux.

With Singapore having the resources and wherewithal, there should be little doubt that our city state can achieve this.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2017, with the headline 'Set up agile, independent teams of experts to solve problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe