Draft of Speech for the 4th CEO Summit, 26 Sep 2019

by Patrick Liew on September 26, 2019

Draft of Speech for the 4th CEO Summit, 26 Sep 2019

Capitalizing On The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)
Slide 1


The world is undergoing a sea change – a change that will herald the rise of a new age.

The new age is characterized by innovations that are being introduced at a bigger and faster pace, and they are more ubiquitous than at any time in history.

These innovations are not necessarily driven by governments, educational institutions, research bodies, and large organizations.

They can also be initiated by ordinary people on the street, including students.

Case in point, Bill Gates and Paul Allen dropped out of school to start Microsoft (April 4, 1975).

College dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple (April 1, 1976).

Larry Page and Sergey Brin collaborated to write what could be said to be the first version of Google search engine when they were graduate students in computer science (January 1996).

Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes founded Facebook in a dorm room when they were students in Harvard College (February 4, 2004).

In recent times, many innovations have been integrating and fusing various technologies.

The resulting breakthroughs have blurred the lines between marketplaces, industries, enterprises, careers, and tasks.

Integrated different domains, disciplines and technologies.

Lowered barriers between entrepreneurs and markets.

These forces are making seismic, deep and lasting changes to the economy, society and many countries.

The size, scope, scale, speed, and strength of these changes have given rise to what’s commonly known as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The term, “Fourth Industrial Revolution” was coined by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

He used the term to describe “velocity”, “breadth and depth” and “system impact” of what he called “a fourth and distinct revolution”.
Slide 2

Video 1

To give you an overview of the 4IR, please watch this short video.

The timing and duration of each “Revolution” in the video is different to that on my slide.

I will explain shortly.
Slide 3

Overview Of The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Every Industrial Revolution can be considered as a separate era.

However, in reality, every era builds on the innovations and changes of the previous era.

It leads to more advanced forms of enterprises, products, services and production.

a. First Industrial Revolution

The First Industrial Revolution changes the way of living that revolves around foraging, farming, and producing handicraft to one that is dominated by machines and factories, powered mainly by coal.

It was driven by invention of the steam engine, building of factories, and construction of railroads.

Production that is mainly dependent on muscle power in the agrarian economy improved greatly as a result of the use of mechanical power in the Industrial Age.

At that point, educational system was based mainly on acquiring content knowledge.

Students are trained to remember requisite knowledge mainly through rote methods.

b. Second Industrial Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution, otherwise known as the Industrial Age, was driven by discovery and use of internal combustion engine, electricity, and manufacturing of goods through assembly lines.

Mass production became a major part of the economy.

Productivity was greatly improved.

The educational system was structured to serve and support the Industrial Age.

Students had to specialize in designated disciplines to function properly in their chosen jobs and careers.

They were assessed according to requisite knowledge and competence to carry out their roles and responsibilities.

Unfortunately, many schools and universities today are still modelled after the schools and universities of the Industrial Age.

c. Third Industrial Revolution

The Third Industrial Revolution is usually known as the Information Age.

It was driven by the development of electronic components, mainframe computers (1960s), mini computers (1970s), personal computers (1980s), and the Internet (1990s).

Massive amount of capital from not only institutions but also individuals had funded rapid growth in the development and application of technologies, especially Internet-based technology.

Integration of various technologies not only automated production of goods but also developed possibilities for customizing of goods to meet consumer demands.

To cater to the fast-changing economy and workplaces, formal educational system was supplemented by other modes of educational systems, including part-time courses, online learning, and seminars and conferences.

Students as well as workers have to develop T-shaped skill sets.

In other words, they have to develop specialized knowledge and capabilities.

At the same time, they had to develop broad-based knowledge and capabilities to help them perform more complicated tasks.

Carry out different roles and responsibilities, and be able to operate in different organizations and sectors.

d. Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driven by a greater access of information on the Internet through mobile technology, digital devices, and powerful sensors around us.

This information is leveraged by Artificial Intelligence and learning machines to scale-up and speed up production and further innovations.

Breakthroughs are occurring not only on a linear but also on an exponential basis, leading to unprecedented changes.

These changes are disrupting or has the potential of disrupting every job, career, business, industry, market and economy.

To progress and succeed in the 4IR, students have to become not only T-shaped but also what I called Pi-shaped (π) leaders.

In other words, they must have the capacity and capability to develop knowledge, attitude, skill and habit (KASH) to perform any task or job, and even create and lead their own organizations.

To do so, they must be self-directed learners and be committed to lifelong learning.

Be passionate, disciplined and dedicated to constantly re-skill and up-skill themselves.

Develop metacognitive skills and be able to learn how to learn even on their own.


(Promoting GEX Academy)

Are the supply and demand sides of education keeping up with the times?

Can we build on what we have learned?

Or do we need to unlearn and start learning all over again?

All learning starts with self-learning.

Every major change begins with you.

The questions that I want to pose specifically to you are:

Have you educated yourself to capitalize on the 4IR?

(Promoting GEX Capital)

Are you raising capital to transform your business model to progress and succeed in the 4IR?
Slide 4

Tectonic Plates Of The 4IR

Fusion of technology is causing major shifts in the cognitive, physical, digital, and environmental realms.

It is redefining and redrawing borders and boundaries between different aspects of our lives, livelihoods and lifestyles.

As a result, it is causing major knowledge shift, financial shift, power shift, and business shift.

With major shifts come great opportunities to create unprecedented wealth and successes.


(Promoting GEX Consulting)

The questions that I want to pose to you are:

Are you keeping track of technology that may impact your work and business?

Are you leveraging on technology to improve your profit, advantage and growth?

Are you digitalizing your business to capitalize on the 4IR?
Video 2

[Purpose is to show the transition from Internet of Things (IoT) to Internet of Everything (IoE)]
Slide 5 & 6

Human/Substitution/Augmentation Technology

I have been studying how technology can substitute or augment jobs and tasks performed by humans in the workplaces.

Technology has been able to carry out many routine tasks.

Over time, they can take over many physical, cognitive, and even creative and artistic tasks.

The advantages are that technology:
Can be polite and work 24/7;
Can work better, faster and cheaper;
Can never be careless;
Is cost-effective;
Is results-focused.
Let’s look at some simple examples of how technology can possibly devalue, disrupt, and even displace many jobs and businesses.

Case in point, one of my companies was arguably the first company in the world to use a hologram of Anthony Robbins to teach in a large seminar.

Many participants actually found it better to learn from the hologram than from Anthony Robbins who also taught in the seminar.

The next generation of virtual trainers will be AI-driven virtual and/or augmented reality.

As part of my doctoral degree studies, I had the great honor to be invited to a research laboratory.

I had the opportunity to interact with an AI-driven hologram of a victim of the Holocaust who had already passed away.

It was quite a mind-boggling experience to speak to a virtual replica of a dead person and hold a conversation with him.

Singapore has launched a public tender for up to five digital banking licenses.


Perhaps because the authorities realized that banks can be disrupted.

However, banking services may not be disrupted in the near future.

The good news is that for every job that is disrupted, new and better jobs will be created.

For every business that is disrupted, new and better businesses will be developed.

The questions that I want to pose to you are:

Have you thought about what machines cannot do at this point?

What machines cannot do as well as humans?

Or, what machines can do better with the help of humans?

What are tomorrow’s problems you need to start resolving today?

What are tomorrow’s opportunities you need to start capitalizing upon today?

What are the new markets, businesses, products and services that you can thrive upon in the 4IR?
Slide 7

How Then Should You Respond To The 4IR?

a. Business Model

Be mindful that what works today may not work tomorrow.

If you keep traveling on the same road, you’ll reach the same destination.

As the shelf life of business models and operational differentials are shortening, continue to learn new ideas and develop new competencies and practices.

Keep reviewing, refreshing and redesigning your business model to take your business to a higher level and drive them to desired destinations.

Discipline your team to let go of the past and creatively “destroy” your current business model and operation, and reinvent yourself to stand out from the crowd and lead the field.

The key focus is not only to find ways to respond to every challenge but to build a more resilient organisation that will rise above every situation.

Establish an adaptable organisation with an able and agile team to not only survive turbulence but also exploit the silver lining in every storm and develop more advantages for stronger growth.

A study conducted by Harvard University showed that business growth is mainly the result of opportunistic rather than strategic initiatives.

In other words, you have to be sensitive to changes and the opportunities that come with the changes.

Then, capitalize on these opportunities.

In the 4IR, you cannot just aim and shoot on a long term basis.

You need to aim and shoot, aim and shoot, aim and shoot, and so on and so forth as you run your business to achieve optimal outcomes.

Case in point, recently, I watched a video interview of Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling.

They are founders of Grab.

Anthony Tan told the interviewer that when he first started Grab, he didn’t envisage that Grab would become what it is today.

They kept changing Grab’s business model until Grab became one of the most successful startups in recent times.

Question: How do you plan to keep improving your business model?

b. Knowledge Intelligence

If you are not fighting fit and strong, you cannot press on and keep pressing on to run farther and faster in the business world.

Therefore, continue to learn, change and improve to get better results.

Without such a growth mindset, there will be a limit to what you can do and achieve.

Leverage on ideas, people, systems, technologies, strategies, trends, and other resources to help you get better results.

Just as importantly, set up intelligence outposts so that you can benchmark your performance with others.

Build open, digital and dynamic systems that can help your company evaluate impact of new and emerging developments, interpret mega trends, and think systematically about the future.

By doing so, your company can become more resilient in overcoming the harsh winds of change.

Adopt proven models and strategies from other parties, and continue to develop new initiatives that will help you achieve ever-improving results.

Question: How can you achieve ever more with ever less resources so as to achieve ever-improving results?

c. Collaborative Platforms and Ecosystems

There are ample evidence to suggest that by having a higher level of diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism in the company, it can contribute to improving creativity and innovation.

Therefore, ensure that there are leaders in your organization with different disciplines and are exposed to different experiences.

Under the leadership of a diverse team, it can bring forth different ideas, concepts and initiatives that may help your company achieve radical breakthroughs and results.

In addition, ensure that your leaders are also equipped with different intelligences, including creative and aesthetic, emotional and cultural, and interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences.

When your leaders have these intelligences or a combination of these and other intelligences, it can help them better lead, manage and work with others.

And communicate hard issues and tough decisions in a more humane, persuasive and effective way.

In addition, continue to attract the best of local and foreign enterprises, organizations and talents to collaborate with your company to achieve better results.

Question: What platforms and ecosystems can you develop to learn from and capitalize on a diversity of talents?

How can you cooperate, collaborate and co-create solutions with a diversity of talents?

d. Customer Expectations & Experiences

With the rise of advanced technology, society is increasingly becoming more interconnected and interdependent.

Consumers will become even more intertwined and integrated together.

They are using social media to connect, learn, and exchange information.

And become more involved in the production, quality, service and price of business offerings.

The business world is becoming a networked village.

Online and offline channels are not only integrating rapidly, they are redesigning the way we sell to and serve our customers.

The resulting dynamics have made a permanent shift on how you market to your customers, win their hearts and minds and cultivate their respect, trust, affection and loyalty.

For example, as infocommunication network becomes more pervasive and ubiquitous, customer’s expectation of faster response time will increase.

The best way to respond to expectation is to be proactive in engaging customers through advanced technologies.

Stay ahead of the curve in helping customers meet needs as and when they arise, and even before customers are aware of their needs.

To improve bottom line, businesses in the 4IR need to provide what we called in GEX Ventures, ahead-of-the-curve and on-demand services.

Customers in a networked village may not know what they want.

They can also be wrong about their real needs.

In a fast-changing landscape, they may not be able to keep track of technological advancement and progress.

There may be better solutions and services that they are not aware of.

Entrepreneurial leaders such as the late Steve Job, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and many others offer services that may seem to be ahead of time.

They can’t control time but they can manage timing by managing and transforming customer needs.

They learned how to turn the right time to buy their products and services to “here and now.”

For example, Steve Job had sold products that had never existed and which the customers didn’t even know they needed. Think: launch of computer or digital devices without keyboards.

Question: How can you keep improving and customizing your products and services to meet customers’ expectations?

How can you win customers’ hearts and minds, and earn their trust, respect, affection and loyalty?

e. Innovative Culture

The battle cry in the 4IR is “Innovate or die”.

You need to overcome three major challenges to develop an innovative culture.

First, mindset challenge.

Changing mindset is one of the hardest challenges to overcome in order to groom more market-creators, change-makers, and value-multipliers so as to help achieve sustainable results.

Moving forward, develop a healthy corporate sense of paranoia and desperation to believe that what your company has achieved can be taken away.

Fight hard for your share of the global buffet of opportunities.

The pull-push forces of paranoia, desperation and grabbing of opportunities will help your people stay hungry.

Compel them to develop the passion, mental fortitude, grit and resilience to create new pathways to achieve radical breakthroughs.

Second, cultural challenge.

To develop cutting-edge innovators and world-beaters, strengthen your culture for entrepreneurship and innovation.

For example, adopt a whole-of-company’s commitment and continuous drive to eradicate a culture that leans towards status quo, passiveness, and lack of positive action.

Develop a culture that pushes the limits, pioneers new horizons, and perseveres for a higher quality of contributions, productivity, achievements and growth.

Third, ecosystem challenge.

Develop an ecosystem where technological breakthroughs, innovations and entrepreneurship are valued, supported, and able to flourish.

Case in point, to cultivate such culture, drive a spirit of constant learning, unlearning and relearning to groom an ongoing stream of future pioneers in the 4IR.

Challenge your people to not only be good at absorbing content knowledge, but to also be able to apply their knowledge to resolve real-life problems and develop solutions to improve profit, advantage and growth.

Strive to keep improving so as to move up the innovation curve and develop world-beating business models and higher value-added products and services.

Thrive at a higher level of the food and value chain.

Become a market maker and value-creator, rather than a price taker.

Question: How can you break a corporate culture that leans towards status quo, passiveness, and lack of positive action?

How can you develop a creative and innovative corporate culture?

f. Organizational System

The traditional way of managing organisations on the basis of command and control will become obsolete.

New models must be developed to respond more effectively and efficiently to the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment.

The organizations of the future will become more organic than hierarchical, neural than linear, virtual than mechanistic, and flatter than pyramidal.

Traditional titles and positions cannot be the same as before because borders and boundaries are shifting and changing, and being transformed.

Labelling workers trapped them in the old world and limit them to function in conventional parameters.

Who could imagine titles such as “Wizard of Light Bulb Moments”, “Retail Jedi” and “Problem Wrangler”?

To achieve best practice, every one of us must become what Warren Bennis called, “leader of leaders”.

Position ourselves as network managers, leading and harnessing the strengths of every human talent to help the organization become the best that it can be.

In the words of Rosabeth Moss Kanter, we must constantly be “pooling, allying and linking” different organisations and individuals to help promote your corporate brand, solutions and services.

The businesses of the 4IR has to therefore be entrepreneurial, virtual, flat and highly adaptable.

Question: How can you strengthen your organization’s capacity, capability, agility, and tenacity to progress and succeed in the 4IR?
Ten (10) Key Questions To Help You Reflect And Capitalize On The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

1. Can your board, leaders and staff keep updated with and implement digitalized business models?

As leaders don’t know what they don’t know, especially about changes that are shaping current and future business environments, they have to continue to learn and either adapt to the future or shape the future.

They need to know how to prepare for, influence, and respond to the changes.

Leaders need to understand the opportunities and threats posed by the 4IR.

In doing so, they can better communicate, collaborate and co-create solutions with their stakeholders.

And incorporate digitalized strategies in every area of their businesses.

Case in point, “Chinese company Ping An said it was no longer an insurance company, it was a ‘technology company with financial services licenses’. It executed on a platform strategy and is now worth considerably more than its erstwhile competitors.”

Educating your leaders for the future starts now.

2. Is your company developing working knowledge and competence in advanced technology?
To operate successfully in the 4IR, hire talents who have deep insights in applying advanced technology to optimize your business model and operation.

In addition, run in-house training programs as well as send your talents to external courses to help upgrade their work knowledge and skill sets.

Engage competent external consultants and service providers to help you stay on the cutting-edge in leveraging advanced technology to enhance bottom line and growth.

In his new book Smart Business, Ming Zeng, the Chief Strategy Officer of Alibaba, describes how the company invests heavily in optimizing all activities with software, data and machine learning; using algorithms to optimize every exchange, replicating human decision-making with software, and letting data flow inside and outside the organization via APIs and web standards.

He wrote, “The aim is for most operational decisions to be made by machines, so the company can adapt more rapidly to market demand. Skills in these areas are in short supply today of course, but the returns are significant if you can attract them.”

3. Are you building a culture of creativity and innovation to stay relevant and on the cutting-edge of the 4IR?
Leaders in the 4IR cannot accept an environment of mediocrity, and live a routine, ordinary and predictable life.

They prefer not be found in the company of the brain-dead, the blind-followers, the aimless drifters, and the unchanging human rock. Neither should they allow these people to influence them and affect their outcomes in life.

They are drawn to creative engagements, people and environment. They are juiced up by other innovative leaders, radical ideas, and uncharted territories.

In the same way, they attract those who dare to be mad, foolish, crazy, and abandoned for the sake of positive breakthroughs.

Through the biblical “iron sharpens iron” process, they increase each other’s creative quotient (CQ) and outputs.

By immersing in a creative environment externally, they improve their internal environment.

Their company will become fertile soil for a thousand flowers to bloom.

These leaders realise that who and what they are associating with and how they are associated with them can be ingredients for creativity.

The more positive ingredients they have in their minds, the higher the chances for more and better innovative results.

As they immerse themselves in creative and innovative culture and environments, they can pursue new thoughts, feelings, relationships, activities, and experiences.

Flood their minds with and keep an inventory of important ideas, knowledge, expertise, and other resources.

Subscribe to “Creativity by wandering around” through interacting with people from different careers, creeds, culture, and customs and on a personal as well as group bases.

Think out of the box by finding out what other people are thinking about in their boxes.

Actively solicit feedback about their thoughts and thought processes.

Pick the brains of domain knowledge experts and continue to explore ways to achieve best practices.

Innovative leaders initiate and participate actively in mastermind groups. These are groups of people who are competent and are committed to help each other improve and achieve better results.

They have comparatively more and better dots in their minds.

They find out more and better ways to join the dots, and they do so in an infinite number of ways to achieve radical breakthroughs.

They focus on the things that would make an impact in their work, life and future.

By learning how to sift through and leverage on information, they are able to discover emerging trends and make better-informed judgements.

4. Do you have a bold future-focused digitalization strategy that’s integrated into your organizational structures, systems, processes and procedures?
Disruptive forces, including robots, drones, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence-driven devices and other innovations may be able to take over many jobs and businesses.

However, for every task and operation that are being automated, new jobs and other opportunities are being created that may be more meaningful, rewarding and fulfilling.

For instance, while technology can generate information, there’s still a need to make sense of the volume, variety and velocity of information generated.

The new opportunities that are being created as a result of disruptions may have higher value-additions and these value-additions can be even more lucrative and fulfilling.

Therefore, study what technology cannot do or cannot do as well as humans, and what they can do better with humans.

For example, they may not be able to fully perform all the tasks, including tasks that revolve around leadership, abstract thinking, aesthetic, emotive, personalised, and persuasion factors.

While automation may take over many jobs and careers, it may not be able to fully replicate and leverage on different human intelligences.

These intelligences include moral intelligence, fluid intelligence, creative and innovative intelligence, entrepreneurial intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, and intelligence for leveraging technology.

In addition, automation may not be able to perform all tasks, including tasks that involve abstract thinking, leadership, aesthetic, emotive, social and cultural, personalised and persuasion factors.

For example, robots can take over some of the work.

However, there’s still a need for humans to produce and program the robots.

There’s also a need for creative and nuanced inputs to further develop robots to perform additional and more complex tasks.

Identify needs, dissatisfactions, niches, gaps, imbalances, dissatisfactions and improvisations that cannot be fulfilled or be adequately fulfilled by automation.

Value-add to these opportunities in order to have more stable, secure and sustainable outcomes, results and contributions.

Find niches that you can influence and be a net contributor to them.

Adapt to and capitalize on every new situation through ever-improving attitude, knowledge and behavior.

Proactively identify gaps that cannot be fulfilled or be adequately fulfilled by disruptive forces and value-add on these gaps.

Provide outstanding customer service by integrating the best of technologies and heart-warming services.

The combination and synergy of “high tech and high touch” will position you to stay ahead of the crowd.

Look at how to leverage the best of what’s called Online-Integrated-With-Offline (OIO) services.

Synergize online and offline services to win customers’ trust, respect, affection and loyalty.

For entrepreneurs, the current economic slowdown is one of the best of times to redesign and fine-tune business models to improve productivity, increase market shares, and strengthen bottom line.

This is an opportune time to improve your operation and prepare for an upturn.

Look out for incentives from the government to help entrepreneurs grow and globalize their businesses.

5. Have you budgeted for and invested in redesigning your business model through digitalization?
It’s time to invest and transform your business, before your business becomes transformed by others.

One of the ways to turn your business dream into reality in the 4IR is to invest in building digitalized infrastructures and roadmaps.

Case in point, “Wal-Mart recently made bold moves to compete by investing heavily in acquiring platform businesses Jet.com and Flipkart.

“Naspers, a 100-year-old South African publisher, invested $33 million in platform business Tencent, a stake worth over $100 billion today.

“Based on this experience, it then invested in creating and operating its own digital platform businesses, worth far more than its traditional publishing operations.”

It is unfortunate that many leaders are spectators rather than disrupters, and observers rather than creators of digitalized solutions.

6. Are you leveraging on an integrated and synergistic system of old and new business models and business offerings?
Leading companies are prepared to groom autonomous units that have the potential to disrupt its current businesses.

In doing so, they drive themselves to move up the learning curve.

Creatively destroy or redesign their business models.

Strengthen their cutting edge and value-additions to both themselves and their stakeholders.

Case in point, “Amazon became so powerful by redesigning its whole business ‘system’ with platform thinking.

“All aspects of its business support and reinforce each other.

“Buying Whole Foods not only created a new way of deepening relationships with certain consumers, it also created a new, internal customer for Amazon’s Web Services division (AWS).

“AWS’s Internet of Things marketplace drives innovations for its smart home device business, which drives demand for its e-commerce services.”

7. Have you refreshed your business to become a purpose-driven movement for the 4IR?
In his classic article on “marketing myopia”, Theodore Levitt challenged entrepreneurs to question the purpose of their business.

For example, is Uber in the transportation business or in the automobile industry?

Uber’s focus is to “move people from A to B”.

Therefore, it competes with taxi companies and car manufacturers but it doesn’t own or manufacture cars.

By leveraging digitalized business models, they focused on fulfilling vitally important needs.

Engage more deeply with multiple parties and services, and offer high value-added services.

They are focused on their purpose and not on traditional assets.

As a result, they are able to “blitzscale” the scope, scale, speed, size and strength of their operations.

In a similar way, Airbnb owns no property.

Facebook develops no content.

Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory.

Steve Jobs was originally against allowing others to create apps for the iPhone. If he had not prevailed, Apple would not have become the world’s most valuable company.

The apps on Apple store are developed mainly by third parties. They helped to turn Apple into arguably the largest retail business in the world.

8. Are you prepared to “creatively destroy” your business or allow other parties to cannibalize your business?
It doesn’t make sense to allow third parties to serve your customers but that’s how some of the largest companies have leapfrogged over their competitors.

“Do you have a truly ‘ambidextrous organization’ in place: with different units focused on ‘optimizing the legacy’ and ‘inventing the future’, holding equal power and status?

“Building on the last point, it takes a long time to transform a legacy business model, due to cultural barriers, entrenched organizational structures and, of course, existing metrics.

“Few organizations have leaders with the combination of vision, digital expertise and personal power of Jeff Bezos to drive fundamental change down from the top within an incumbent business. Best practice today is not to try to fight against natural human resistance to change. Better to bypass it.

“While the core business is being optimized, invest in a separate business unit with the power to invent the future with new business models, new metrics, new people. Crucially it must report directly to the CEO and not be trapped within an ‘innovation unit’ inside the legacy organization. It needs oxygen, resources and power to breathe and succeed.

“Schibsted, a Norwegian media company, invested heavily in online marketplaces which seemingly would cannibalize its traditional classifieds business.

“Instead it helped them create a new digital business, on a global scale, worth far more than their previously local and asset-heavy business model.”

9. Are you collaborating with other companies with proven and deep knowledge, expertise and resources in areas that are strategically critical to your business?

The traditional ways of conducting research and development (R&D) to take new innovations from inception to impact can be too restrictive, limited in scope, and slow.

In the 4IR, it’s not good enough to achieve only incremental but also quantum leaps of improvements; and achieve not only linear but also exponential or explosive profits.

To do that, you need to collaborate with other companies with proven and deep knowledge, and expertise and resources in areas that are strategically critical to your business.

Mitigate risks of disruption while transferring knowledge to capitalize on new market opportunities.

Form joint venture companies to capitalize on new growth areas for your shareholders and business.

10. What new metrics do you need to develop to guide, track and improve your progress and success in the fourth industrial revolution?
Many companies are measuring key performance indicators based on current businesses but not on helping their companies transform to become new and better models.

These key performance indicators (KPI) are relevant to the current economy but not in the 4IR.

They are based on critical success factors for today but not the critical success drivers for tomorrow.

New business models take time to be adopted and implemented.

There are bugs and kinks to be eradicated.

New business model takes time to achieve traction and reach critical mass before it takes off.

Historically, every major change, challenge and conflict has put an end to long-held positions, powers, possessions, practices, and other preferences.

The Industrial Age redeployed humans and animals for other purposes and pursuits.

Similarly, the Information Age created new breakthroughs that allow us to scale-up and step up to a higher plane.

In the past, the advent of computers and other technologies saw many prophets of doom predicting the death knell of conventional businesses and business practices.

And painted many doomsday scenarios.

While it’s true that a lot of businesses collapsed by the wayside, there were also many others that were transformed to become stronger and better.

The workforce has not become irrelevant and replaced because of improved opportunities, value-additions, outcomes, results and impacts.

Every new age has created new opportunities and possibilities.

New models, structures, systems, technologies and processes have been developed to improve effectiveness, efficiency and efficacy.

The workforce has generally been repositioned, re-skilled and retooled to be deployed for new tasks, jobs, careers, industries, businesses, and markets.

Through it all, we have also witnessed eradication of poverty like never before and generated unprecedented prosperity.

Through the power of advanced machines and technologies, we have the power to create accelerated and scalable solutions, and make the world a better home.

Whatever the case, there’ll be those who will complain about the darkness while others will light up a candle to lead them out of darkness.

We are at an inflection point in the history of humankind.

While you cannot predict and prevent changes and disruptions, it does not mean that you have to resign yourself to apathy, passiveness and complacency.

You can prepare yourself to be future-ready and be operationally-ready to capitalize on the mega shifts in the 4IR.

Proactively develop an effective mindset, model, culture, operation and condition.

Learn new ideas, business practices, and competencies.

Discipline yourself to let go of the past in order to build a better future.

In doing so, you can pioneer, respond to, and leverage on changes to propel yourself to the next level of growth.

Be forewarned: If you don’t change the changes around and within you for the better, these changes may eventually change you for the worse.

Author and futurist Alvin Toffler was quoted to have said, “To survive, to avert what we have termed future shock, the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before …

“It is no longer resources that limit decisions, it is the decision that makes the resources”.

Ultimately, the mark of true leadership is the ability to seize destiny and create your own future.

Using the words of philosopher Charles Handy, winners will be those who “invent the world”.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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https: //twitter.com/patrickliew77
– via @patrickliew77

My LinkedIn

My Quora https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Liew-5?share=24abf3c1&srid=uL2Gz

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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