Traditional businesses should embrace change, not fear it

Singapore must rely on constant innovation to foster an environment that can thrive on factors such as dissonance, divergence and diversity, in a multicultural environment ("Create mindset of innovation: Iswaran"; Wednesday).

But traditional ways of doing business keep some of us from advancing. Those running family businesses or heritage firms, or those with traditional mindsets, seem to see technological advances and innovative thinking as things that should be separate from culture and tradition. Tradition keeps them in their comfort zone and, often, this is forced upon the younger generation.

Younger minds may bring new ideas and ways of doing things, but it is not easy for them to change things. The old may not recognise change as positive and will hold on to traditions for fear of losing them.

Instead of blaming the younger generation for not learning the old ways of doing business, they need to know that new traditions can be created through innovation.

By all means, hold on to the traditions that still make sense today, but let go of the ones that are hindering progress. Businesses that have changed and adapted through the generations are the ones that survive and thrive.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'Traditional businesses should embrace change, not fear it'. Print Edition | Subscribe