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Is this really a technology revolution?

· Trade,Innovation,Business Strategy

The following conversation was heard at the recent 7th anniversary USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter Rural Australian - Asia Trade Summit. The aim of this event was to facilitate structured networking and dialogue to inspire the engines of trade and investment for our region's mutual economic growth. More than half of Australia's top two-way trading partners are located in Asia - one of which is Singapore. Australia’s two-way trade in goods and services was worth nearly $670 billion in 2015 — a vital component of our countries' economic prosperity. The event brought together Senior Government, Trade, Investment, Scientific and Corporate representatives from across the region.

Is this really a technology revolution?

Dave Lim, Innovator & Futurist, TEDx Ambassador, and Founder, Ideas Worth Doing

No, this is a human revolution.

I love MythBusters so I’m going start by busting a couple of myths.

So digital has been around since the 70’s – 1’s and 0’s – so "digital" is like saying "electric". It is not adequate to describe the era we are in. You know we have talked about robotics, nanotech, 3D printing, driverless cars. Of course digital is involved, just like electricity is involved, but inherently it is not a digital revolution.

The other myth I would like to debunk is that it is not just about technology. Some technology evolves. E.g. Facebook. What high technology does FB have? – upload your photo, press LIKE button, write comments. This technology was available 20 years ago during the first internet revolution.

Bono said this in a TED talk 2 years ago -- a phrase that I can never forget -- “We are living in an era where the power of the people is greater than the people in power.”

So let me give you an example. When Google came out it was like OMG! we now have this incredibly powerful way to find information, where you want to find something and out pops out accurate results. You know I used to walk past their little startup in 1999, they had 20 people, now they have 50,000 and they build a multi $B businesses. Then Facebook came around in the mid-2000s, and instead of asking the Google Search engine, now we ask our 200-500 friends. This is not a digital revolution. This not a technology revolution. This is a revolution of people.

The connectedness of people is more powerful than Google. Airbnb is not tech and is not digital. It’s people connecting to people. Uber is the same thing. So, this is the food for your thought.

Everybody talks about these technology revolutions happening. And our countries say "We need thousands more computer scientists, data scientists, and engineers bla bla bla." When Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed about where he got the inspiration behind Facebook, he said, “I took a psychology class and then I knew computers”. So I never look at Facebook as a tech company – it's a sociology company.

I think the biggest mistake being made around the world is to think that it is only all about the STEM – the technical - but really what are these things but for to express human needs.

Photo Credit: Deloitte Singapore: L to R: Nick Stanley, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Tribal Group; Dave Lim, Innovator & Futurist, TEDx Ambassador and Founder, Ideas Worth Doing.

Photo Credit: Deloitte Singapore: L to R: Cathy Heeley, Vice President & Chief Counsel Asia Pacific, Mondelēz International; Andrew Simpson, Regional Manager - South Asia, Meat and Livestock Australia.

Do we need to rethink how we educate and how we engage?

Cathy Heeley, Vice President & Chief Counsel Asia Pacific, Mondelēz International

I think there is a balancing factor in there. I don't think we need to re-educate. I want technology to come to me and to adapt to the ways in which I work – and that’s happening. Even in the latest things Google is introducing in the home with Nest. It’s about computers and internet being more accessible. You don't have to know how to program it. What you do need to know is how to assimilate and process information faster than ever. That’s not a technology skill as such, it's a human skill and we are getting better at it. Consider the economic outlook that Kelvin Tay, UBS CIO was sharing tonight. If you had talked at that level in my Dad’s generation you would have kept the attention of 10% of the people in the room. But tonight he canvassed a whole lot of different countries and different metrics and topics and everyone got it. That’s a giant leap in how we see the world, that has happened frankly in this generation. That's the kind of skill environment we are working with and its happening even when we are not noticing.

One of the things that I love, that Singapore and Australia are doing, is changing the early childhood education, around what we teach our children. It used to be about teaching them alphabet and reading - there’s still a lot of that. But I was blown away by my kids when they started school. They were taught the Debono 6 hats right from the beginning. They were taught how to make decisions and how to piece together what’s going on, in order to figure out the whole world. That's a very different way of thinking that will give our kids that adaptability. We are now faced with this monstrous world of information to process.

Dave Lim, Innovator & Futurist, TEDx Ambassador, and Founder, Ideas Worth Doing

Let me go back to connectivity. One of the things that is going to be happening is that university was a means to an end. You get a qualification and then you get a job. But think about it. The young people of today know their capabilities and don't need a stamp of approval. Google don't ask you IQ questions. They give you a piece of coding as a challenge and see if you can solve it. And they don't really care if you have a degree or not. In data science you may have skills that are not about what degree you have, but rather how you can think – and these skills are all going to be very visible and very transparent. So one of the things I have in mind is, if you are talented, you are just going to be connected to people you like, who have compatible skills and you are just going to be one of many ingredients to a dish when delivering a project. And you are just going to connect together. If you need money just go to Kickstarter. You have all the elements so why do you need a job? Just do stuff with your friends.

Nick Stanley, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Tribal Group

This goes back to the preparedness and acceptance for change. Being ready to respond to change is something that our education providers at all levels are considering as something that we need to ingrain into our youth and we don't know what that's going to be. It's Kickstarter now. It could be anything tomorrow. So being able to adapt is key.

Photo Credit: Deloitte Singapore: Nick Stanley, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Tribal Group; Professor Tan Wui-Gee, Senior Lecturer at Curtin University.

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About the USQ Rural Australian - Asia Trade Summit

On the 6th October 2016, the USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter proudly celebrated its 7th anniversary. In the spirit of our mission to deliver business opportunities to our members and support our Community, we hosted a rural Australian - Asia Trade Summit at Deloitte Singapore.

As in all sectors of our economy, innovation and R&D play a vital role in increasing agricultural productivity and rural/farmer profitability – benefits of which flow through the whole of the regional economy and are fundamental to our Asia Pacific prosperity. With the global population growing rapidly and arable lands shrinking, our farmers, service companies, and technologies are uniquely placed to help fill the world’s food basket.

The aim of this event was to facilitate structured networking and dialogue to inspire the engines of trade and investment for our region's mutual economic growth. The event brought together Senior Government, Trade, Investment, Scientific and Corporate representatives from across the region.

More than half of Australia's top two-way trading partners are located in Asia - one of which is Singapore. Australia’s two way trade in goods and services was worth nearly $670 billion in 2015 — a vital component of Australia and Singapore's economic prosperity.

The audience heard the latest regional economic outlook and took home highlights and lessons learned from APAC business leaders.

Speakers included:

  • Dr. Janson Yap, USQ Chairman, Managing Partner of Deloitte South East Asia
  • Leesa Soulodre, USQ Vice Chairman, Managing Partner of RL Expert Group
  • Dr. Luke van der Laan, USQ Director of Professional Studies
  • Nick Stanley, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Tribal Group
  • Kelvin Tay, Chief Investment Officer, Southern APAC UBS CIO Office 
  • Dave Lim, Innovator & Futurist, TEDx Ambassador and Founder, IdeasWorthDoing
  • Cathy Heeley, Vice President & Chief Counsel Asia Pacific, Mondelēz International
  • Andrew Simpson, Regional Manager - South Asia and China, Meat and Livestock Australia
  • Yoong Hui Chia, CEO, and Chairman, Ascenz Solutions Group

This Summit was proudly sponsored by Tribal Group, Deloitte Singapore, RL Expert Group, the University of Southern Queensland, Australian Alumni Singapore, Treasury Wine Estates and V Hotel Group.

For more information see http://www.usqsg07.com or http://www.usqsgalumni.com

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