This article is my journey to find some of these answers, more importantly understanding the real question. In looking at these questions in respect to the how, I have been reviewing and reading any books I can find on these topics. I have been looking to get a better understanding and grasp of the words and what it is they mean. Next, I wanted to understand the how, so that I could apply them within the way I work. This whole exercise was all about looking for the right question, challenging the way I thought about the topic and finding some solid answers. This article is my journey and what I have discovered to date. I find in writing about what I have learnt, I can better internalise the lessons that I have learnt.
Please join me on this journey as I feel I have many books and conversations to travel. This article is the results that I have found to date. I find in writing about these lessons I am better able to internalise and apply this knowledge and practices within my job and role within the organisation.
A quick search across the Internet will find many different interpretations to this questions.
- Disruption is a disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity or process.
- Transformation is a process or profound and radial change that orients an organisation in a new direction, taking it to an entirely different level of effectiveness, and
- Innovation is deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values by which new ideas are converted into useful products.
These three words have been used as the so called latest "buzzwords" for some time. It is something we all need to do, have done or be doing, be it digital, business or process. We are expected to understand exactly what these words mean within our organisations, having been added to our everyday lexicon of language. The problem, is there is no real explanation as to how or exactly what it means. We're supposed to understand, so to ask questions would just point out our lack of knowledge.
For someone who has been involved in the technology space since the 1970s, I have seen much in the way of transformation, disruption and innovation. In the future, I dare say we will all see far more growth, change, and innovation than ever before. Change is inevitable, so is transformation, disruption and innovation. So, what is disruption, transformation and innovation in context to what we do in our organisations?
What is Disruption?
Two books that have had a large impact to my thinking about transformational change and disruption have been The Innovator's Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen, and Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Each of these books approach disruption and innovation together in different but similar ways. In many respects, Clayton Christensen coined the combination of "disruptive innovation" in The Innovator's Dilemma. I feel his description and the use has been distorted in many respects, but for me provided a real understanding of the topic of disruptive innovation.
As Christensen mentioned in The Innovator's Dilemma, a disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network, eventually disrupting an existing market and value network. Displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. Similarly, Kim and Mauborgne refer to a Blue Ocean Strategy as the creation by a company of a new, uncontested market space that makes competitors irrelevant. Creating new consumer value often while decreasing costs.
In Christensen's book, he uses the transformation of the steel industry, from processing ore to production of product in a single plant to mini mills. Taking the reader on a journey of how a long time established industry and process was completely disrupted through disruptive innovation. In the case of Kim and Mauborgne they use Cirque du Soleil as their example. Cirque du Soleil took the world by storm, by creating its blue ocean market space in less than twenty years. Since its creation as street performers, Cirque du Soleil has achieved a level of revenues that took Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey more than one hundred years to attain. Both circuses were once global champions of the circus industry.
As per the Blue Ocean Strategy they addressed an uncontested market space that made their circus competitors irrelevant. Using the lens of disruptive innovation, you could say they created a new market and value network, eventually disrupting an existing market and value network. They displaced an established market leader, an as did the mini mills did to the steel industry changed it forever.
In both these studies and examples they transformed their environments and businesses, were disruptive to the current incumbents and were quite innovative in many ways. In disruptive innovation, it’s all about perceived value and what is important, meeting needs, learning and improving. Initially not being perceived as competition, exiting markets releasing unprofitable sections of their domain to be taken up by these up starts. Over time that increase is exponential, Uber being a perfect example.
Uber commenced in 2010, but it wasn't until 2015/16 that it became an issue here in Australia. From a Blue Ocean Strategy perspective, they provided a service that was not being addressed by the taxi industry. These were people who did not use taxis, they were non-customers of the industry. But over time the standard and quality improved. Service and value increased and costs were reduced, bit by bit they were directly competing with the industry. But Uber does not compete with the taxi industry, Uber is a platform or gateway of services, bringing customers and suppliers together and taking a percentage of the cost of service or what is referred to as a clip of the ticket. The taxi industry is highly-regulated, it felt that Uber had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, when in fact they had been around for some four to five years. It caught both the taxi industry and government out, both struggled with trying to stop something that has completely changed the rule book.
Uber has a totally different business model; industry and government still using the old playbook of business. Their approach has been that of defensive and attacking, but who do they go for? Uber, itself is not a taxi service, but a service within its own right. It provided a platform connecting the customer to the supplier. Government and the industry needed to re-think their strategy and be innovative in their approach, but to date we have only seen traditional responses based on practices of the past. So how then do we create new disruptive, transformational and innovative ideas?
How do we move forward?
These topics raise several questions as to what exactly can we do? More importantly, how can we accomplish results that reflect disruption, transformation and innovation that is required to deliver better value and services to our customers? Who is doing this and how are they doing it?
Over time I continually consider these and many other similar questions. Working to understand how I can apply them for myself, the work that I do as well as assisting others in their goals or aspirations.
Recently I have been working through several new books, and some older repeats. One of those books has been Change by Design, written by Tim Brown of IDEO. I was exposed to this thinking back in 2012 on my Churchill research scholarship. In my travels, I met with several companies and organisations around the world applying the practices of design thinking. They used these practices, to build better services and products to their customers. Recently in Boston at the end of 2016, I attended an Open Innovation Summit for two days. During that conference, I met and heard from several companies who were carrying out some innovative projects. More interestingly, was their application of design thinking in how they developed and delivered those projects. This journey has led me to read more literature on the topics of innovation, design thinking and the application of those practices.
One of the books that I read was The Big Switch: Rewiring the world, from Edison to Googleby Nicholas Carr.The recurring theme was nothing was new, it just took a different format. Nicholas started his book by telling the story about Burden’s Wheel in 1851. In a field in upstate New York, Henry Burden built a magnificent machine, it looked like a giant bicycle wheel except the spokes were of thick cast iron. Being fed by water diverted from a local river, it was the largest waterwheel anywhere. Weighing over 250 tons and just over 60 feet high, it produced 500 horsepower. The waterwheel was the powerhouse of industry in the 1850's.
The book continues through history, with the story of Thomas Edison in the 1870s and electricity. From water wheels, to generators to running their own electrical network to buying from the utility. It went far beyond cheaper kilowatts. As companies, if they did not need to purchase pricey equipment, they could reduce their fixed or capital costs, thus freeing that capital for more productive investments. Other corporate costs, staff and risk was reduced. As companies no longer needed to own the technology, obsolescence and malfunction were not a major distraction. Once unimaginable, broad adoption of utility power had become inevitable. Now come forward about 140+ years and the exact situation is happening with computer technology. Utilisation of electricity in the US in 1907 was 40 percent, in a matter of 20+ years that well exceeded 90 percent. That same model is repeating itself in the cloud computing space but I suspect that it will be faster than 20 years. Throughout his book, he provokes many questions and realisations in this constant changing digital world.
Many of the books I have read have built on ideas, but until they become self-propagating things don't change. It's what Richard Dawkins, famously called a “meme”. That is the self-propagating idea that changes behaviour, perceptions, or attitudes. Centralised and top-down authorities are no longer sufficient to generate transformational or innovative ideas. In another age, say the industrial age, this worked as production relied on labour. Consistent and repeatable levels of work to deliver an outcome. The biggest problem today is many organisations either don't realise or have not truly understood that we are now well and truly in a knowledge economy. That is an economy in which growth is dependent on the quantity, quality and accessibility of the information available, rather than the means of production. That we have moved on from change to disruption, transformation and innovation. All these depend on the knowledge economy. But, in this age of the knowledge economy, ideas need to be diffused on their own, especially around business and technology. If we are unable to communicate these ideas to our employees or customers about what we are trying to do, they will not be able to help us to get there.
Tim Brown in Change by Design indicates that we need new choices. A purely technocentric view of innovation is less sustainable now than ever. The other trap we face is using management philosophies based only on existing strategies. This is likely to be overwhelmed by new developments at home and abroad. We need new choices and products that balance the needs of individuals and society.
We need an approach to innovation that is powerful, effective and accessible, that can be integrated into all aspects of business and society. It needs to enable both the individuals and teams to generate breakthrough ideas that can be implemented. Design thinking, I believe, offers such an approach.
What is the Right Question?
When commencing my Churchill Fellowship research project in 2011, I had no idea where to start let alone the what or how. When I enquired as to how I should proceed with my research, a fellow of the Churchill Memorial Trust asked me a simple question, “What was the answer I was looking for?” At which point I responded by saying, “Was that not the reason for my research?” The answer I received both challenged and made me question my whole perspective of research. It wasn’t until several years later after reading A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger that I fully appreciated the purpose of that question and the process of finding the right question. This came up in several areas of research while I have been reading. Especially in connection to innovation.
In the first section of Warren's book “Why Questioning?” he found that world leading inventors and creative minds used questioning to approach their challenges. It was their innate ability to ask questions, that was one of the key factors that led to their success. it was their ability to open a topic to scrutiny, focusing with the use of both open, and closed questions. They gained an understanding of the real issues, and nub of their problem. Warren has found that many business people are aware, on some level of the impact between questioning and innovation. He realised that many great products, companies and industries often begin with a question. On further investigation, he discovered that few companies encouraged questioning in any substantive way. There is a considerable lack of training, guidelines or best practices around the area of questioning. What he did find was that many organisations either consciously or not, discourage inquiry. What brought it home to me, was Google’s chairman Eric Schidt's description of its company was that it “runs on questions”. Many people I speak to think the opposite, that Google provides the answers. Importantly, without the right question all the answers in the world are worthless.
In his book, Warren takes the reader through several examples as well as explaining techniques in how to question, digging down to find the real issues to be addressed.
How Does An Organisation Transform?
It has been referred to as the new change, but its more than that. I believe it is the realignment of people, processes and technology but at a more fundamental level. It’s the re-imagining of how we realign, and it is more than continually using our knowledge of the past. It’s about questioning and challenging those practices, realising things have changed. Maybe there is a better way forward, but until we check and confirm we will never know. Many organisations claim to have made a transformational change, but when you look closer nothing really has changed, other than the logo and colour scheme. Today that means, using new words that describe the old ways in a more upbeat tone. The other term for several years that got bandied around was that we are a learning organisation.
This was a phrase that Peter Senge used in his book The Fifth Discipline. The ideas and tools that he presents are for destroying the illusion that the world is created of separate and unrelated forces. From this position, we can build a learning organisation. This is an organisation that is made up of people who continually expand their capacity and knowledge. It is where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, aspirations are set free, and people continually learn together. These organisations can learn faster than their competitors said Arie De Geus, head of planning for Royal Dutch/Shell. It is no longer the realm of a person or section within a business. The only way any organisation, especially in 2017 can sustainably grow is for the entire organisation to take that journey.
In the industrial age, it was mandatory that people were thought of as pure labour. We still carry a lot of those thoughts and ideas. Our employees, at times referred to as the labour force are the foundation to our brain trust. Yet our education system is still largely based around the concepts derived from the industrial age. The product is to produce a standard model of employee who can read, write and carryout arithmetic, being certified by academic qualifications that defined a based standard and model. The idea being to produce a basic unit of labour that with limited training could become another wheel in the cog. This was designed to produce a resource to deliver an expected outcome, thinking was not a requirement and in many ways, was a liability for standardisation. In today’s businesses, this has changed in many ways, but our current mental models are still of the past. I believe it is one of our major challenges in embracing new ideas and becoming innovative.
Peter Senge discusses his ideas and tools that enable the “How” a business can achieve this, using what he refers to as the five disciplines, the fifth being system thinking. These disciplines have been developed over more than 50 years and Peter Senge’s work is an encapsulation of those ideas. They are:
- System Thinking is a conceptual framework, a body of knowledge and tools that has been developed over this time. Enabling people to make the full patterns clearer, helping us to see how to change them effectively.
- Personal Mastery, this is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision. Focusing our energies, developing patience to seeing reality objectively. It is essentially a cornerstone of the learning organisation. It is the connections between people, organisational learning and the commitments between individuals and the organisation.
- Mental Models, these are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalisations or images that influence how we understand the world and how we act. It is about turning the mirror inwards; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world. Bringing them to the surface and hold them rigorously to scrutiny. It’s about balancing inquiry and advocacy, where people expose their own thinking effectively, making that thinking open to the influence of others.
- Building Share Vision – If anyone idea about leadership has inspired organisations, it’s the capacity to hold a shared vision of the future we seek to create. Who could ever forget or not know of John F. Kennedy’s vision he created for the United States, when he said those immortal words: “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Or that of Martin Luther King’s words: “I have a dream…”.
We may or may not be old enough to remember but we all would have heard these speeches, two of the most well-known shared visions.
- Team Learning is when teams are truly learning. Not only are they producing extraordinary results, but individual members are growing more rapidly than could have occurred otherwise.
This can only start with “dialogue,” the capacity of team members to suspend their assumptions and genuinely “thinking together”. It is different from “discussion”, its roots being around “percussion” and “concussion.” Discussion is literally a heaving of ideas, back and forth in a winner takes all competition. Dialogue is about learning how to recognise the patterns of interaction in teams that undermine learning. These patterns are often defensiveness in nature and deeply engrained in members. Team learning is the fundamental learning unit in our modern organisations. If teams don’t learn, then organisations will not learn.
System thinking on its own will not succeed, it requires all disciplines of building shared vision, mental models, team learning and personal mastery. To truly get the value out of these five disciplines there needs to be a shift in mind or metanoia. To grasp the meaning of “metanoia” is to grasp the deeper meaning of “learning,” for learning involves a fundamental shift or movement of mind.
The problem when talking about “learning organisations” is that the “learning” has lost its central meaning in contemporary usage. Most people’s eyes glaze over if you talk to them about “learning” or “learning organisation.” Little wonder for in everyday use, learning has come to be synonymous with “taking in information.”
It would be crazy to say, “I just read a great book about driving a car; I’ve now learnt that.” We need to be doing adaptive learning, this must be joined by generative learning, that is learning that enhances our capacity to create. Peter Senge takes no credit for inventing the five major disciplines as they represent, experimentation, research, writing and invention of hundreds of people. In the 1970s when Peter Senge joined the graduate school at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), he realised the problem facing our ever-increasing and complex world was our ability to understand these complex systems. Working with a foundation of knowledge, experiments and research Peter developed his ideas around the five disciplines as described in his book.
What is Innovation?
How have innovators found opportunities that others miss? How do they come up with these incredible ideas that fundamentally changed the way we do things? How do we enable people to have those brilliant flashes of inspiration leading us to our next great invention? Innovation is the lifeblood of our global economy, becoming the priority of every organisation. It is the number-one leadership competency of the future. How has it been done? Who is doing it, and how can we join in? And where do we start?
Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen in their book The Innovator’s DNA, emerged from an eight-year collaborative study. The the book sought to understand innovators, who they were and the companies they created. Their primary purpose was to uncover the origins of innovation and disruptive business ideas. After interviewing hundreds of inventors and creators of revolutionary products and services, as well as game-changing companies. They dug into the thinking of the innovators themselves, wanting to understand as much about the people, the when and how they came up with their creative ideas. They wanted to understand how these people generated their ideas. What they found was provocative and insightful as well as surprisingly similar.
In that time, they discovered five primary skills that composed what they called the innovator’s DNA. What they found was that innovators “Think Different,” a well-known Apple slogan. It was the ability to recombined ideas and things into new opportunities. One of their critical insights was generating innovative ideas is not merely a function of the mind, but also a function of behaviours. If we change our behaviours, then we can potentially improve our creative impact to our organisations.
One of the most famous innovators of our times is Steve Jobs. To him, innovators don’t just accept the world as it is. They are driven to reshape it into the way they believe it should be. They imagine, explore, create and inspire. They push the envelope, crack a few eggs. More importantly, they don’t accept the idea that it can’t be done, in fact when they are confronted by these statements and obstacles they push harder. As in Steve’s famous crazy speech, “because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Innovators actively desire to change the status quo.
What Jeff and Hal found was the ability of innovators was focused around five distinctive skills. These being:
- Associating, the ability to make surprising connections across areas of knowledge and industries. They build on ideas like blocks of Lego, building and taking apart until they find exactly what they are looking for.
- Questioning, is about asking the why and what if. Again, experimenting with ideas and alternatives.
- Observing, constantly looking and studying their environment and the people around them. Seeing how things work and don’t work, then finding alternatives through trial and error.
- Networking, the ability to network and explore ideas among a wide and varied association of people and ideas. Going out of their way to meet people with different backgrounds and perspectives to extend their own knowledge. and
- Experimenting, one of the best exponents of this, and has been quoted many times before is Thomas Edison. “I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that do not work.” This is a constant in all the skill areas. Everything is tested and experimented on.
One of the latest books I have been working through is The Four Lenses of Innovation. Rowan Gibson has written a powerful book about and around innovation and how to practically go about creating such an environment. Rowen uses the concept of four lenses, that of Challenging Orthodoxies, Harnessing Trends, Leveraging Resources and Understanding Needs. The part I found most interesting was the first part of the book was that he used these four lenses to review our most innovative time in history, the Renaissance period.
We think of innovation being something of the later part of the 20th century, when in fact there were three periods. Medieval renaissance in the 12th Century, this was a period of many changes. It included social, political and economic transformation and an intellectual revitalisation of Western Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots. Then came the Italian Renaissance or Middle Ages in the 15th Century followed by the scientific developments of the 17th Century. The Renaissance was a time where we were introduced to a completely new way of looking at the world around us. But these were dangerous times as expressing ideas that challenged the dogmas, authority or tradition of the papacy were threatened, punished or completely done away with as a heretic.
Using this period of our history, Rowan reviews the mind of the innovator showing how they utilised these four lenses of innovation. The four lenses are:
- Challenging Orthodoxies is about challenging deeply entrenched beliefs that have long been taken for granted,
- Harnessing Trends is building on some deep discontinuity, convergence of systemic cluster of trends that has the potential to create dramatic change or disruption,
- Leveraging Resources is the ability of innovators to see themselves and the world around them as a collection of skills and assets that can be recombined or stretched into new opportunities, and
- Understanding Needs is an insatiable curiosity for the world around them, and their unshakeable belief that they could make the world an increasingly better place, or as Steve Jobs would say "Put a dent in the universe".
Throughout these and many other books I have been reading, similar themes and concepts have been presented. The most profound idea I have come across is based around one of the many quotes attributed to Einstein. That, “you cannot fix the problems of the past with the same thought processes that created them.” We need new choices that balance the needs of the individuals and society, strategies that result in different results for everyone. To do this, we need to accept a new approach. What worked in the past needs to stay there, in the past. As with each of these topics of disruption, transformation and innovation we need to re-assess how we approach them. We need to challenge, question but more importantly find the real question we are trying to answer. There must be true dialogue, we must enter conversations without any preconceived ideas. Everything must be laid in the open for scrutiny, it’s not about defending a position but delivering an outcome. As indicated by Peter Senge in his book The Fifth Discipline, if teams don’t learn then organisations will not learn.
The other point is that to fail is not failure, it only becomes failure when we don’t learn from the experience and move forward. The other point is that if we don’t fail now and again then we are not really trying hard enough. Of all the innovators over time we forget the amount of times they failed before they became successful, success is not done overnight, it is the culmination of many trials, errors and tribulations, it is the persistence that leads to success.
We all need to run to our own drum beat, all innovators, entrepreneurs and successful people and businesses usually got there by following their vision. What becomes very powerful is when that personal vision becomes a shared vision. It’s our ability to enable and allow the individuals to be creative, discovering their visions, to realise that we are not the only person in this universe and we don’t have all the answers, but collectively and working together we can be so much more. Our only limitation is ourselves and our imagination.
Science, engineering, technology, and innovation give people the power to develop a country and its quality of life. Investment in these areas is vital for economic growth and social progress.
Research and development in smart tech can help build greener cities with better access to essential systems and services for all. Moreover, infrastructure development, technology transfer and public and private R&D must be supported and regulated by good policies if they are to work.
To ensure scientific progress is encouraged and embraced at all levels of government decision-making, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) is tasked with giving strategic advice to the government and stakeholders, as well as pursuing excellence in science, engineering, and technology for the benefit of everyone.
Malaysia’s S.E.T.I. Initiatives
One of the contributions of the ASM is to incorporate interactive learning of STEM into the pedagogy of education in Malaysian schools. “To see the performance and results, inquiry-based science education (IBSE) will create an interactive learning environment in the physical classroom. Therefore, we want to have this kind of ecosystem and environment in schools.”
She is eager to see more collaboration between tertiary education and industry so that any courses and curricula provided by universities are both industry-required and future-proof. This is why their organisation is working with the government to create collaboration between industry and academia. “I believe that will help us advance more.”
ASM is currently working with the Malaysian government, in particular the central agency, to begin evaluating public decision-making universities based on data. Hence, using facts, metrics, and data to inform strategic business decisions that align with goals, objectives, and initiatives is the most effective data-driven decision-making.
Making data-driven decisions the norm within an organisation is necessary to foster a climate that values scepticism and curiosity. “Data is the starting point of conversations at every level, and people improve their data skills through practice and application,” says Hazami.
At its core, this calls for a self-service model where users can access the data they require while maintaining a balance between security and governance. Additionally, it necessitates proficiency, resulting in opportunities for training and development for workers to acquire data skills.
Additionally, ASM has developed a Responsible Conduct of Research module which acts as a benchmark to have this code of ethics in research taught to all graduates, whether they are in hard sciences or the social sciences.
“We want that because every piece of knowledge we incorporate in the future will be based on good science and value. Therefore, we must consider bioethics, biosecurity, and training modules on ethics in research,” Hazami explains.
ASM has recently directed its scientists to provide solutions in close collaboration with the ministries. Citing as an example is their committee on water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity (WEHAB++). For instance, when Malaysia faces issues such as the price hike for chicken feed which causes societal dissatisfaction, solutions to food security issues such as this can be provided by the Academy’s expert network through science and technology directly to the government and stakeholders.
In addition to providing policies and strategies to decision-makers, the ASM also teaches them how to carry out those policies and strategies by applying their knowledge.
Hazami highlighted the growing movement called “Open Science” which aims to open scientific data and research to the public. In addition to democratising knowledge, the international principle of making research data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) will support open scientific inquiry and integrity, facilitate improved research management, and encourage data-intensive research.
Unprecedented insights and solutions to local, regional, and global complex challenges are made possible by integrating numerous data streams and enormous datasets across numerous disciplines.
Through the Malaysia Open Science Alliance, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (MESTECC), now known as the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) and the ASM are laying the groundwork for the realisation of the Malaysia Open Science Platform (MOSP), a strategic transformative project to strengthen Malaysia’s STI Collaborative Ecosystem.
“The Malaysia Open Science Platform or MOSP aims to connect raw research data, then collaborate and share,” Hazami explains. “By creating a reliable platform that enables accessibility and sharing of research data aligned to national priorities and international best practices, this initiative seeks to transform Malaysia’s research data into a valuable national asset.”
Hazami is passionate about science and technology because it has the power to change the nation. “I’m attempting to make a change, and one of those changes is in the area of science and technology.”
For her, the most meaningful contribution in her 26 years in the academy was when the government accepted 80% of their recommendations for transforming and creating change and an ecosystem. “For now, our current areas of focus are strengthening governance, the innovation ecosystem and the sustainability of R&D funding.”
A change in paradigm towards a growth mindset among policymakers, scientists and the younger generations is her greatest challenge and greatest passion. She believes that when decision-making is based on data, it can provide the best solution possible.
Hazami strongly believes that Malaysian women are more than capable of pursuing careers in science and technology. They hope to have a strong support network to help them succeed in those fields, whether as practitioners or scientists.
“Our goal is flexibility. We need to have an open work environment and open innovation because we can work from home as researchers and scientists. We are more adaptable now. If we can accomplish this, more and more women will contribute to the workforce more effectively,” she says emphatically.
By reaching out to the top management and demystifying technical terms, OpenGov Asia, a steadfast supporter of Malaysia’s digital transformation journey and an advocate for citizen-centric development, will continue to help bring about change. Hazami concludes by urging top leaders to practice a growth mindset for the betterment of the country.
Hazami strongly believes that over the course of the next five years, ASM will continue to serve as a catalyst for change and create the science, technology, innovation, and economy (STIE) ecosystem for the entire nation towards the full potential of digital transformation, including the Malaysian transformation and the humanisation of the economy. “Leaders’ courageous decisions pave the road to successful digital transformation.”
The Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics and Science (IDMxS), which aims to promote the science of analysing biological molecules (biomolecules) using information technology and data science, was recently established by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore). This could pave the way for real-time environmental or health data monitoring and analysis, like how real-time traffic data can be obtained on mobile devices.
IDMxS, NTU’s newest national Research Centre of Excellence (RCE), is funded with a total investment of over S$160 million over 10 years, with the majority coming from NTU and the National University of Singapore and S$94 million coming from the Singapore Ministry of Education.
Digital molecular analytics, a novel scientific discipline that analyses individual molecules to discover, identify, and measure biomolecules with extraordinary accuracy, is at the core of the work done at IDMxS.
Such a science will open many new areas of research, such as the creation of diagnostic testing capabilities that may then inspire the creation of new technologies and commercial spinoffs, including blood testing kits that can generate findings instantly using nothing more than a smartphone camera.
The interdisciplinary centre is anticipated to house 100 full-time researchers and employees with backgrounds ranging throughout the spectrum of engineering and science, from optics, computer science, and artificial intelligence (AI) to biology, medical technology, and chemistry.
Postgraduate students from NTU will have exceptional chances for interdisciplinary education and training that spans the molecular sciences and information technology through the graduate programme of IDMxS. More than 30 PhD students will receive support from the Centre, four of whom have already begun their studies. As clinical diagnostics become more digital, IDMxS will also create continuing education programmes aimed at developing and modernising the healthcare workforce.
By fusing the fields of biology and information technology – which have each recently undergone revolutionary changes – IDMxS will create the new science of digital molecular analytics. The objective is to develop tools that can track environmental data, such as air and water quality, and health information, like viral infections or molecular signatures that signal the existence of a disease, in real-time. To develop innovative solutions for issues with health, sickness, and environmental monitoring, this process begins with the development of fundamental science.
The ability to simultaneously gather a variety of data types from a biological sample and use tools like AI and machine learning algorithms to analyse and interpret the enormous volume of data that would otherwise be impossible for humans to make sense of is at the core of IDMxS’ digital molecular analytical strategies. The research centre intends to someday spin out solutions like widely used software using digital molecular analytics.
Moreover, making blood sample test kits is one potential use for digital molecular analytics that IDMxS is investigating. The goal of this research is to create a tool that can recognise the various chemicals responsible for illnesses, infections, and diseases.
This suggests that a physician might someday be able to take a blood sample, analyse it with a smartphone camera, and obtain an accurate, real-time reading next to the patient at the doctor’s table. A similar idea might do away with the necessity for additional time-consuming laboratory tests.
The extensive surveillance of illnesses spread by insects like dengue and malaria is another project that is now under development. Researchers can one day create an imaging system that can swiftly detect and monitor dengue among the mosquito population by recognising and analysing the chemicals that make up the dengue virus. Such studies might also be used to track other airborne infections and infectious diseases, in addition to insect-borne diseases that affect urban health.
In a bid to become a digital airline, the Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company Ltd (VAECO), a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, has signed a cooperation agreement with private players to deploy an aircraft maintenance and engineering management software system. Under the agreement, the system will provide technical management tools, manage the maintenance programme more closely, and more efficiently synchronise data. This will contribute to reducing maintenance costs and time, improving the operational readiness factor for the fleet.
The software also provides tools for planning, controlling maintenance procedures, and managing human resources to optimise production processes. It will minimise labour costs for recording and data entry and work control, leading to an overall increase in labour productivity, by an estimated 15-20%
The software provides synchronous information about failure status, maintenance history, and the status of spare parts. This enables technicians to make effective and timely repair decisions. It is expected to reduce flight stoppages, delays, and cancellations.
Furthermore, the system will shorten the aircraft maintenance time and create favourable conditions for the airline to concentrate human resources to expand the outside maintenance market share. The Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, Nguyen Chien Thang, noted that the new technology will make an important contribution to helping VAECO become a leading aircraft maintenance service provider in the region while accelerating digital transformation.
Currently, Vietnam Airlines is the airline with the largest fleet in Vietnam, with more than 100 aircraft including Boeing 787, Airbus A350, A321, A321neom, and ATR72. The airline is constantly modernising its fleet, as well as improving its aircraft maintenance capacity and mastering new technologies.
In January, the airline launched two e-commerce platforms VNAMAZING, VNAMALL as well as its Vietnam Airlines Gift Card. The services were the first of their kind in the domestic aviation sector. VNAMAZING offers online tourism services including tour and accommodation bookings. VNAMALL provides a wide range of aviation and non-aviation goods and services.
As OpenGov Asia reported, the Vietnam Airlines Gift Card is a product available on VNAMALL, which can be used to exchange airline tickets or avail of business class upgrade benefits on flights operated by Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines, and VASCO. An official from Vietnam Airlines said that the airline considers e-commerce development one of its top priorities.
In August, the carrier announced that passengers using the airline’s air service can now access a free-of-charge news-reader application called PressReader for Vietnamese and international publications. The application provides more than 7,000 digital newspaper and magazine titles available in over 70 languages. According to Vietnam Airlines, passengers can use the application 24 hours before the scheduled departure time and 24 hours after landing.
To use the app, passengers must download the Vietnam Airlines app, choose the PressReader button, and verify their booking code and flight information. Articles can be read online or downloaded for offline reading.
Most recently, Vietnam Airlines launched an online check-in service for passengers departing from Phu Bai airport in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. The move increases efficiency and improves customer experience and convenience. Passengers are now able to check in via the official portal or the Vietnam Airlines application within 24 hours to one hour ahead of departure.
New technology will be keeping beachgoers safer this summer with the Smart Beaches project providing real-time data to almost 50 beaches in NSW, helping the region’s lifeguards more accurately predict beach conditions using GPS and smart cameras.
The Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government stated that the NSW government had invested AU$ 1.6 million to expand the project beyond the Northern Beaches and Lake Macquarie to five new council areas up and down the coast this swim season.
He noted that wave detection buoys, artificial intelligence cameras and surf rescue boards fitted with GPS technology to gather accurate data will be used on beach conditions to enable lifeguards to be better prepared for the busy summer ahead.
These smart devices will provide real-time readings on tide conditions and wave patterns, as well as help to predict how many people will visit the beach, how long they will stay and the most popular times for a swim.
The Smart Beaches project will allow beachgoers to feel safer at the surf, knowing the lifeguards have the latest data on hand to be better prepared for dangerous conditions and prevent incidents both in and out of the water.
The Minister for Local Government stated that the expansion of the trial will mean more councils will benefit from new technology. The data insights help councils make better decisions about when and where to roster lifeguards, decisions that could save lives, she said. As a result, this programme will now be expanded to beaches in Randwick, Central Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle, and Sutherland.
The Member for Manly noted that the technology had been successfully trialled at Freshwater, Shelley, South Steyne and Dee Why beaches. Over the summer of 2020-2021, 88 lives were lost in the surf. Thus, the technology will help lifeguards make more informed decisions to reduce that toll.
The state’s lifeguards will require all help they can get monitoring the surf, conditions, crowd numbers and keeping our beachgoers safe. An app is also being developed for Summer 2023/2024 that will help councils streamline existing reporting and data systems into one, easy-to-interpret dashboard. Funding has been provided through the Smart Places Acceleration Programme, an AU$45 million allocation as part of the Digital Restart Fund.
About the Smart Places Acceleration Programme
The NSW government has launched the NSW Smart Places Acceleration Programme, an AU$45 million initiative that helps place owners – including councils, government agencies, property owners, and regional organisations – partner with the State Government to solve problems and improve the quality of life for communities across regional and metropolitan NSW.
The programme will seek to:
- Support economic and community recovery post COVID-19
- Encourage partnerships with and co-investment from local councils and industry to deliver smart place initiatives
- Support advancement and implementation of the NSW Smart Places Strategy
- Ensure NSW remains the leading state in implementing Smart Places initiatives
The Minister for Customer Service stated that this programme will connect and empower communities by driving investment in new technology and data. The aim is to use technology to make life easier for people. Be it busting congestion or improving health outcomes, the funding aims to strengthen communities. The government is calling on expressions of interest and encourages all relevant councils and place owners to bring forward ideas.
The seven best smart cities in Indonesia were announced at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics seminar and exhibition on the Movement Towards Smart Cities (Smart City) in 2022 in Jakarta. Representatives from 141 regencies attend the event in a framework for evaluating the implementation of the Smart City 2022 program.
District/city officials who have succeeded in developing a master plan under the Smart City development in their respective regions attended. The session was organised to showcase the commitment of all regional leaders so that the community see the benefits and progress, said Bambang Dwi Anggono, Director of Government Information Application Services (LAIP) of the Ministry of Communication and Information.
The five best cities and two districts took the Smart City award in the following categories:
- Smart Governance: City of Bandung,
- Smart Branding: Surakarta City,
- Smart Economy: Semarang City,
- Smart Society: City of Yogyakarta,
- Smart Living: Demak Regency,
- Smart Environment: Madiun City, and
- National Priority Tourism Area: Wonogiri
The Smart City initiative is a strategic step toward addressing development plans holistically. The programme aims to harmonise regional government sectors and regional initiative programmes with other regional governments, the central government, the business world, and even other countries. Local governments can work together with other local governments, businesses, academia, and the general public to launch various initiatives that will have a positive impact.
The Smart City Movement aims to guide regions and cities across Indonesia in designing digital-based development that considers each region’s potential and challenges. Furthermore, the Smart City programme can bring innovations from Jakarta to other areas, ensuring an even distribution of development programmes.
The Ministry of Communication and Information has facilitated interconnection with relevant parties in the Smart City development. In addition, the Ministry, through the LAIP Directorate, intends to include 50 regencies/cities in the Smart City master plan assistance in 2023.
“We hope that regional leaders (regents/mayors) will have the courage to innovate and make breakthroughs for the good of society. Correspondingly, we encourage regional heads to become change agents in these breakthroughs (SPBE),” said Bambang Dwi Anggono.
The Ministry intends to implement Smart Province next year. The Smart Province programme will select two provinces in 2023 to prepare the master plan. Smart Province development conceptualises development innovations at the provincial level and coordinates Smart City development at the district level within its jurisdiction. Two provinces will be selected to help prepare the master plan.
Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, Director General of Informatics Applications at the Ministry of Communication and Information, emphasised the importance of digital transformation as a foundation for building smart cities.
“Creating a Smart City begins with digital transformation; from there, every local government understands what is required. Because each Regional Government has unique characteristics. But, in the end, everything will point to the holistic Smart City that we taught,” he was quoted as saying.
He also stressed the importance of creating a master plan for the long-term development of Smart Cities as establishing a smart city would take 15 to 20 years. As a result, the Ministry has created a programme to educate local entities on constructing a Smart City.
The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) has sped up the development of technology to keep up with the fast changes in the economy, society, and way of life. This is especially important for the year 2023 when people’s activities around the world are expected to rely more on digital systems, such as finances, business, information management, transportation, and many other things.
The Digital Post ID was recently introduced by Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES). The system is currently undergoing testing by the necessary organisations and is anticipated to be implemented by 2023.
The government agency is making strides to improve digital innovation infrastructure. According to the Digital Economy Promotion Master Plan (2018 – 2022), there is a proposal to alter the form of addressing information into a digital address, known as Digital Post ID by designating the Thai Post Office as a regulating body.
The MDES runs projects to improve Thailand’s delivery system, which has been based on five-digit postal codes for more than 40 years. This is done by making it easier to find people in Thailand with a digital 1post ID code that can be turned into their address coordinates down to the household level.
To facilitate having a digital post ID In the future, post offices or logistics providers will have QR code label printers that digitally affix a post ID to parcels or envelopes. Personal information will not be displayed on the box or envelope’s address, so both the recipient and sender may rest assured that their privacy will be protected.
The application must be installed on the device to scan the QR Code and display the sender-recipient information, and the QR Code has a single usage. In addition, access to various information is restricted in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act 2019 principles. In addition, it will ensure the purchase of e-Commerce products more because it may connect the delivery routes.
The Digital Post ID service provided by Thailand Post is an extremely helpful one that helps to maintain the safety and confidentiality of the documents owned by individuals. In addition, Thailand is rapidly embracing digital technology, and the country is becoming increasingly well-connected. With a population of over 69 million, the country is home to a wide range of Internet users, and digital technology is growing rapidly.
The Thai government has been proactive in promoting digital technology and has implemented several initiatives to help the country keep up with the rest of the world. This includes increasing access to high-speed Internet, encouraging digital literacy, and investing in the development of digital infrastructure.
The government has also been encouraging the use of mobile phones, tablets and laptops. These devices are becoming increasingly popular and are being used by people of all ages to access information and services.
The Thai government has also been investing in the development of cloud computing services. This has enabled businesses in the country to store their data securely and access it quickly and easily. Cloud computing has also enabled businesses to reduce their costs, as they can access services without having to invest in physical infrastructure. Furthermore, the Thai government is promoting the development of e-commerce and online payment systems
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang announced at a cabinet meeting that Taiwan’s contract chip manufacturing firms now have a 63% share of the global market. Furthermore, Taiwanese companies handle 58% of all global integrated circuit packaging and testing. As a result, Taiwan semiconductor manufacturing has emerged as a critical player in global supply chains.
Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has risen to first place in the world in chip manufacturing and integrated circuit packaging after four decades of hard work. Taiwan also ranks second globally in integrated circuit design, with a 22% market share. Furthermore, the domestic semiconductor industry is collaborating with foreign partners to serve global clients, demonstrating that Taiwan is an essential and irreplaceable partner due to the world’s most efficient and difficult-to-duplicate production model.
The achievement began three years ago when Taiwan took advantage of the global scenario. Taiwan persuaded related industry operations to relocate from China to Taiwan. Premier Su mentions the effort that resulted in three years of economic success.
According to recent data from global indexes, the premier also stated that Taiwan ranks among the top countries in the world on criteria such as investment environment and free democracy, with the country ranking among the best in Asia in many categories. These high marks enforce even more confidence in international partners.
Nonetheless, Su emphasises the importance of Taiwan remaining vigilant. The government is developing response measures to allow domestic chip manufacturers to maintain their competitive edge and vital positions in the industry. Premier Su stated that the government is consulting with the industry to develop a future development strategy. The strategy provides more generous tax incentives, encourages R&D investment, and eases restrictions on talent recruitment, in addition to delivering Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturers with a high-quality investment environment, including the provision of water, electricity and land.
The government’s comprehensive support for the domestic semiconductor industry will enable Taiwan to maintain its lead in advanced technology and efficient fabrication methods, secure a substantial competitive advantage, and continue contributing to the world. The country will also adhere to international norms while reassuring allies. Taiwan will maintain this stance in the future, displaying critical strengths to the world and being a team player who inspires international trust.
Meanwhile, Taiwan and Slovakia recently signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in Bratislava, pledging to increase bilateral trade, startup exchanges, and talent-nurturing collaborations in the semiconductor sector. The Memoranda of Understanding were signed by the Taipei Importers and Exporters Association and the Council of Slovak Exporters, Taiwan’s Startup Terrace and the Slovak Business Agency, National Sun Yat-sen University, and the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava.
The MoUs were signed during the second session of the Taiwanese-Slovak Commission on Economic Cooperation, which was attended by a Taiwanese delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Tsai Ming-yen. During the meeting, Tsai and Peter Gerhart, Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, discussed ways to expand bilaterally.