'T-rex or cockroach' approach not for Singapore

I do not agree with the extreme "Tyrannosaurus rex (T-rex) versus cockroach" theory that was brought up at a conference on the future economy ("S'pore's future: Be flexible or be first?"; July 14).

Economist Sanjeev Sanyal said at the conference that being nimble (like a cockroach) might be better for Singapore than always staying ahead.

I believe, however, that to achieve the goals of Singapore's future economy, the Government has to pick and focus on the most viable strategy, and not just take a T-rex or cockroach approach.

But in order to formulate and pick the most viable strategy from among many other options, the Committee on the Future Economy has to first develop several strategic scenarios on the horizon.

Only after careful deliberation of these scenarios with the various industries, and then picking the most plausible one to implement, would all stakeholders be able to see the direction which Singapore's economy will take.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran has correctly pointed out that Singapore is limited by the size of its domestic market and resources.

Hence, it becomes even more important that public resources should not be spread too thin.

Key resources should be directed at the innovative sparks with the most potential.

In addition, newer supporting platforms such as those of financial technology will play a significant role in the shaping of financial services for the future economy.

Industries should come to a consensus on what will be the next development engines or boosters, instead of trying to redefine innovation at the moment.

Otherwise, things may become highly fragmented and it would be difficult to dovetail these with what the Government is trying to do for Singapore's future.

Ling Ming Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline ''T-rex or cockroach' approach not for Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe