Think Big, Act Small, Fail Fast

By thinking big (global mindset), acting small (tactical steps) and failing fast (learning quick).

think big

Author: DBS BusinessClass, Administrator of DBS

What's the next global game changer? In the past, it was the dawn of personal computing, followed decades later by the arrival of the internet. Both tech revolutions led to drastically improved productivity, which more than hints at productivity being a central theme in the next quantum leap forward.

New ideas have to be supported by existing infrastructure, otherwise it will be an uphill task. Therefore, one way is to build on pre-existing infrastructure and work from there. But one must also consider what new infrastructures we could possibly build - because new infrastructures will naturally lead to infinite new innovations.

A cultural shift is badly needed. The next generation of senior management needs to reshape the way their organisation sees things. They need to start asking: ‘How do we create infrastructure that nurtures and produces more product craftsmen?' More companies have to recognise the need for craftsmen because a lot of people these days don't work to get money, but to create. And creating cultural commodity is most certainly the new way forward.

It seems that Asia is constantly being influenced by ‘new inventions' from the west. But if Asia does her homework, she should not be so frequently disrupted by innovations from other parts of the world. But there are obstacles to overcome such as the economic aspect of things. Questions like ‘Is there enough investor money pouring into Asia?' need to be delved deeply into and given serious thought.

In all probability though, the answer might be a ‘yes'. There might be investor money available but are startups up to the mark? The pertinent question now is: How do startups unlock the $22.2 billion of venture capital funding floating around the region? The answer is:  Getting their product right and knowing their customers. And thinking big (global mindset), acting small (tactical steps) and failing fast (learning quick).

Startups also need to understand what their investor's agenda is and start asking questions like: ‘Why would an investor put money in my startup?' When it comes to the government distributing grants, there's a fair bit of ambiguity involved. Therefore in truth, it's private sector money that's powering the startups. But it's important to remember that whoever's money you take, their objectives also become yours.

Right now in Asia, innovation thrives, but entrepreneurship is not as well developed as it could be. Only an estimated 7 percent of people in Singapore are entrepreneurs. That's because financially lucrative sectors such as banking attracts most of the young talent, leaving a gap in tech professions like computer scientists and engineers. But that mode of thinking is a fallacy, because entrepreneurship is the fastest vehicle for the diffusion of wealth. Acquire wealth, spread it to your surrounding ecosystem and change the playing field all at the same time. It's a beautiful game.

It's possible to transform the workplace and to a larger extent, society, by growing more innovation-driven startups. The time to kick-start a risk taking culture is now - because on a very real business level,  it's most certainly do or die.

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