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Towards an Asian Century: Foresight & Strategy for the Asia Pacific

The first event in our Towards an Asian Century Series

Photograph: Courtesy of Deloitte South East Asia.

130 international Alumni  and industry experts come together at the first USQ Towards an Asian Century event to discuss the concepts of foresight, strategy, business and innovation.  

Speakers at the event included authors Chaly Mah, CEO of Deloitte Asia, two esteemed USQ alumni — Dr Janson Yap of Deloitte MD Innovation and Professor Luke van der Laan, Program Director of USQ Professional Studies; Family enterpreneurs Chairman Steve Shelley and his son Jake,  and economist Vaninder Singh, from RBS Asia Pacific who presented the state of the market address.

According to Vaninder, we are looking at another year of stagnation in Asia and the world economy. The old models of growth clearly no longer work and the financial markets are still adjusting to this reality. The solution lies in real reforms which are both a challenge to deliver and execute.

The Chinese market crash at the beginning of January 2016 made for an unsettling start to the New Year. In Foresight & Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region, Dr Yap and Professor van der Laan propose that the Asia Pacific is, and will continue to be, the long-term economic powerhouse of the world. The authors argue that its stability and potential will also largely determine the global economic outlook.

We learned the importance of strategy for competitive advantage and how to make it work in an APAC environment characterised by constant change. We discussed the optimisation of economic potential and social cohesion enabled by leaders, which is crucial to not only Asia’s but also the global economy and living standards. And finally that it is sound foresight, strategic thinking and innovation that are the critical underpinnings of successful business, policy and governance. To compete in an Asian Century our focus should be on integrating these essential elements in practice.

“Janson Yap and I suggest that the Asia Pacific has become the site of a global ‘chess game’,” Professor van der Laan said. “With slipping economic power in Europe and the economic tightrope in the US, moves by the West to gain influence and power in the Asia Pacific have become dramatically more urgent.

“The Chinese have said, and will continue to say, that they play by their own rules and that this structural adjustment in their economy was expected. What they are not openly saying is that the same reasons causing the Global Financial Crisis are once again becoming increasingly apparent: global corporate greed, sub-prime lending and artificial values.”

The key takeout here is to embrace change (and be always at least one step ahead of change) you will prosper…and if you don’t it is very likely you will fail.

Celebrating the book launch "Foresight & Strategy in the Asia Pacific" at the first of our USQ "Towards an Asian Century".

Family entrepreneurs Steve Shelley and his Son Jake of shared their SME disruptor case study.

They left us with 3 key messages: 

  1. Have mobility at the heart; 
  2. You can’t do it all alone. Work and leverage good partners and 
  3. Develop products that people don't know they desperately need.

It appears that change has changed and executing good strategy has changed. We know good strategy is critical to success. But how do we do it in a time characterised by disruptive change?

Critical ‘must have’ capabilities needed in Asian Pacific leadership are foresight and strategic thinking capabilities. These are the essential capabilities that define good leadership from bad. The concepts are much talked about but are misunderstood – they have become cliché’s. Being able to anticipate possible futures and create a desirable future position requires foresight and then strategic thinking to make it real. They are innate and the great news is that we can all develop these capabilities.

It appears that this is a time of possibilities not yet even imagined. The future can happen to us or we can shape the future into newly imagined possibilities - far better for humanity AND our organisations than we have even begun to understand. With both foresight and strategy this just could be our Asian Century.

USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter were pleased to welcome Alumni from the Australian Alumni Singapore, TRIUM, the London School of Economics and Political Science, NYU Stern School of Business and HEC School of Management.

Alumni were excited to receive their personally signed copies of the book Foresight & Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region from the authors.

If you missed out on your copy you can pick up your copy of the book here:

See the photographs of this event in our Gallery and sign up to the next event in our "Towards an Asian Century" series on 7 June 2016 from our events page.

Hosted by the USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter and generously sponsored by Deloitte, this timely event provided new insights on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in the Asia Pacific region.

Hear from the authors below.

For more information contact Leesa Soulodre on +65 8186 2155. Media opportunities are available. 

Media contact:

Leesa Soulodre, USQ Singapore Alumni Chapter, Email: admin at, Phone: +65 8186 2155.

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