Scott D Anthony, Global Managing Partner, Innosight
“I think it is legitimate to believe that Singapore can be the hotspot for innovation in Asia over the course of the next couple of decades,” says Scott D Anthony, innovation consultancy Innosight’s managing director for Asia-Pacific and a leading thinker and author on innovation. Anthony, who has published several books on the subject, and his team of thinkers and consultants opened an office in Singapore almost seven years ago. They’re tapping into the market for large-scale companies (many from the US and Europe) that are setting up regional headquarters in Singapore and need Innosight’s advice on how best to innovate to achieve growth in the Asian market.
A cornerstone of Innosight’s philosophy is the notion of “disruptive innovation” – transforming markets by making products accessible (one example is getting pacemakers to those who can’t afford them through micro-loans in places such as India). The idea is that experts such as Anthony are always looking for ways to innovate and improve their company offerings – Innosight launched a venture capital arm in 2009, investing in six local start-ups, including The Mobile Gamer and WildFire, and is constantly looking at new opportunities. And if Anthony’s upbeat attitude is anything to go by we’ll be seeing many more companies seeking his advice on how to best grow harmoniously from their Singapore bases in local and regional markets.
In association with Monocle, EDB brings to you a selection of people, places and products that make Singapore a nation that is punching far above its weight despite its relatively compact size and population (content first published in Monocle).
Singapore is a unique blend of east and west, with an open and efficient business environment contrasted against a backdrop of Asian culture and heritage. Ideally positioned to foster cultural, economic and academic exchanges, it is the gateway between Asia and the rest of the world.
The non-uniformity of commercial systems and regulations in Asia foretells a growing need for business solutions attuned to Asia’s needs. Recognising the need to stay ahead of demand, Singapore is taking proactive steps to anchor thought and practice leaders in the professional services industry.
Singapore’s cosmopolitan talent pool, diversified business landscape and trusted legal and political framework make it a great base for professional services firms to create innovative solutions for future business needs.
Singapore is host to MNCs from wide-ranging industries and geographies. According to the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2012” report, the nation was ranked as the easiest place in the world to do business for the sixth year running and this is attested by the wide-ranging industries based here. Singapore’s strategic location offers companies enhanced market access in terms of physical connectivity and also through an extensive network of International Agreements. Singapore’s pro-business environment is further bolstered by a robust financial sector. In fact, 44 per cent of companies have substantial APAC headquarters located in Singapore. Emerging Asian MNCs that are starting to make their mark globally are also using Singapore as a springboard for growth.
Singapore’s sophisticated base of MNCs centre high value-add activities such as IP and brand equity management, M&A and IPOs here, aggregating a strong demand for professional services firms.
Beyond being a great place to do business, Singapore is a safe, fun and increasingly vibrant place to live in. While it boasts a well-educated and highly skilled population, it is proactive in its efforts to augment its workforce. Singapore has been identified as Asia’s best place to work in (World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012). This is exemplified by the establishment of Contact Singapore, which aims to draw global talent to work, live and play here. Singapore also draws in leading industry experts by hosting international events such as the World Economic Forum, as well as the World Cities Summit in 2012.
Singapore’s workforce has been recognised as the best in the world, according to the Business Environment Risk Intelligence’s 2011 Labour Force Evaluation Measure report. Its open policies to high-end professionals entails that businesses can easily and effectively tap on the global talent pool.
With its multicultural society and diversity of industries, Singapore is in many ways a microcosm of Asia. It is a good test-bed for innovative business solutions tailored to Asian needs. The large presence of MNC headquarters enables Singapore to be a launch pad for these innovations to reach all parts of the globe.
Consistently ranked as having the most protective IP regime in Asia since 1997 by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, Singapore is a credible repository of knowledge. It is an ideal place for professional services firms to collaborate with prestigious universities to conduct pioneering R&D and translate insights gained into practical and relevant solutions.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- A strong base of MNCs from a wide-ranging industries and geographies has established regional or global headquarter functions in Singapore, aggregating sophisticated demand for Professional Services.
- Singapore's labour force ranks No.1 in the world (BERI, 2011 Labour Force Evaluation Measure report).
- Singapore continues to top the ranking as the best place to live for expatriates in Asia (The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, The World Economic Forum).
- Singapore's legal and regulatory framework has been ranked second in the world, and has been recognised for maintaining the most protective IPR regime in Asia (The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012, World Economic Forum).
- The number of international cases administered by arbitral institutions in Singapore has more than doubled over the past five years (SIAC Annual Report, 2011).
- Singapore is a hub for creativity, with 14 of the top 15 global communications services agencies networks (ranked by Adage) having their regional hubs here. Since September 2009, Singapore has been hosting Spikes Asia, the 1st Asian Advertising Festival to celebrate and inspire Asian creativity in advertising. The Festival provides Asia’s growing creative and advertising industry with a platform to network and exchange ideas, bringing together some of the finest creative thinkers from across the region and around the world.