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Asia: mobilized for the digital transformation

Key challenges? Co-innovation partners, digital talents and mindset change #Digital transformation; #Asia

· digital transformati

The digital transformation is ramping up in Asia and we can learn from the first challenges they are facing and from the approach used.

Yesterday I attended a significant talk organized by the French Chamber of Commerce. Title: Smart city. Singapore government is looking for foreign partners in order to co-innovate and make rapidly Singapore becoming a smart city. Singapore intends to replicate the model used for the water challenge: becoming first a self-sufficient actor and an Asian center of excellence and than starting to sell solutions services and R&D to other SEA countries. Which are the areas of focus? Energy sustainable management, environment friendly buildings, urban mobility (autonomous and electric vehicles), digital tech for the nation (sensors, cloud, drones, machine learning etc); industry 4.0 (robotics, advanced manufacturing).

Some good references are already there: PSA and NTU are already partnering and developed the greenest university campus in the world.The majors of Chinese cities come to Singapore to learn how to manage the city.

Which are the benefits of Singapore for foreign companies? Model compact city, regional reference site, availability of urban data, openness to collaborate, ambitious target.

However there are still open concerns:
1. The strong request to foreign partners by the Singapore government for a long term commitment     to SEA is appealing for co-innovation foreign potential partners?
2. Which is the plan to change people mindset to digital?
3. How to cope with local digital skills and talents shortage in the region?
4. How to cope with the gap in Singapore in terms of needed innovation and critical thinking skills?
5. Is Singapore the right place and reference for South East Asia when the characteristics of the other countries are very different in terms of dimension, wealth, traffic etc? 

Skill gap, co-innovation, mindset change are here, as in corporate, key aspects for the success of digital transformation. For Singapore these aspects (at least the first two) are clearly on top of the agenda and they are working on it:

  • Founding have been allocated to support the digital skills training
  • Start up support is accelerated to instill innovation mindset in the country. University students are sent to experience the digital start up mindset in Bejing hub and Silicon Valley; our business partner Lithan are supporting local start ups to become digital and agile seavy, by using government funds. Just to name a few examples.
  • The education system is re-thinking the education paradigm: our business partner Knowmads (Alternative business school from Amsterdam) will be in Singapore soon invited to present their educational model to the main Singapore university.

Interestingly a smart company as Huawei in China is preparing to take advantage of it. They launched a learning center to facilitate the digital transformation:

On their website they announce: the digital transformation trend has brought challenges to operators especially in ICT talent development strategy planning and ICT new talent acquisition. With our profound insight of ICT industry, leading practices benchmark from both vendor and operator viewpoint and through advanced resource integration, Huawei Learning Service offers competence consulting, technical training, management competence improvement and career certification services to help operators expedite the development of outstanding ICT talent that matches with the company’s talent strategy to achieve business success.

... Smart move...for a Smart world.. Opportunities and challenges are there to be grasped.. are we ready?


Managing Director at Marco Polo Consulting

Giorgia spent most of her HR career in senior positions in corporate HR in Europe, US and Asia with companies such as Fiat Group and The Nielsen Company. In 2008 she founded Marco Polo Consulting, a company specializing in Organization development/HR/Transformation professional services operating across Asia-pacific. She delivers facilitation, coaching, training, advise, OD temporary management. Recently Giorgia has been HR and Organizational Behaviors EMBA Adjunct Professor at MIP/Tongji University in China. She is a subject matter expert for Employee Experience re-design and innovation by collaborative approaches such as Design Thinking, Lego Serious play, Art of Hosting, Graphic Facilitation. She is currently based in Singapore.

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