Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#53: Parag Khanna Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap

August 21, 2019 Season 1 Episode 53
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#53: Parag Khanna Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#53: Parag Khanna Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap
Aug 21, 2019 Season 1 Episode 53
Radu Palamariu
Parag Khanna is Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap
Show Notes Transcript

Parag is a leading global strategy advisor, world traveler, and best-selling author. He is Founder & Managing Partner of FutureMap, a data and scenario-based strategic advisory firm. Parag’s newest book is The Future is Asian: Commerce, Conflict & Culture in the 21st Century (2019).

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • Why European trade with China is bigger than that of the USA even before the trade war. 
  • How trade-war accelerated supply chains shifting out of China.
  • How a technocratic government helped with the development of a country.
  • Labour automation and supply chain innovations in Asia
  • What is a Super App and how it is relevant to the industry? 
  • Why the future is Asian.

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Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host go to Palomar U managing director of wealth with global and our mission is to connect the supply chain ecosystem in Asia and globally by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in the industry. It's my pleasure to have with us today Dr Parag. Anna [inaudible] is a leading global strategy advisor, a world traveler and a best selling author is the founder and managing partner of future map, the data and scenario-based strategic advisory firm and his newest book is the futurization commerce conflict and culture. In the 21st century, [inaudible] has been an advisor to the u s national intelligence councils, global trends 2030 program. He was also a senior research fellow in the center of Asia and globalization at the Lee Kuan Yew School of public policy of the National University of Singapore. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senior geopolitical advisor to the United States special operations forces as well as he worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva and served as a research associate at the council on foreign relations in New York. He holds a phd in international relations from the London School of economics as well as the bachelor's and master's degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Uh, para thanks for your time and it's a pleasure to have you with us today.
Speaker 2:
1:16
My pleasure. Great to be with you.
Speaker 1:
1:19
Uh, so let's start a little bit, uh, with the, with your book and then I know that you were saying somewhere that you were going to call the book, the presence is Asian. Um, not the, not the futurization as you ultimately called it. Um, but you found that title to not to not be very catchy and then the reason why you were thinking of calling it the president is Asian because that's also the reality and by, by every metric that matters, we already live in the Asian century. So tell us maybe, um, what's the story behind the book and what are some of the most powerful reasons that made you write the book?
Speaker 2:
1:53
That's a great question. And of course it does begin with an a sort of humorous note in the sense that one could have called the book of that and it would have been obviously a parody on book titles. Um, but, uh, but indeed the fundamental facts behind what you're saying in my motivation, you know, really are, you know, the sort of driving an impetus because you know, we do live in a world where more than 50% of the world's population is in Asia, where 50% of the global GDP in purchasing power terms is in, uh, in Asia. And, um, you know, a lot of other driving forces in terms of growth of trade and infrastructure investments, um, you know, cross border flows of people. So many things that really matter in the world today, the growing valuations of companies, um, the number of, you know, mega cities, all of these things are really, really centered upon Asia and that is the present.
Speaker 2:
2:48
It's not a forecast. Um, so it would take an extremely, extremely strong and quite frankly, non-existent argument, uh, to say that, well, this is just a blip or this is going to reverse. And so on. So one of my motivations was therefore to help our mentality catch up with reality because the reality is that we live in an Asian world. It's just that certain mindsets, many mindsets, um, having to just do it. And the second will, I'm sure we'll come back to it, is that to the extent that there is a big focus on Asia, which there rightly has been, it has been overwhelmingly about China. And I wanted to again, bring us, uh, you know, into the present and the future where China rather than dominating Asia more and more actually is, uh, you know, you find faster growth rates. Now in Southeast Asia, you find that the Indian population will soon surpass that of China in India as growth is already, uh, faster than China. So Asia is multipolar, Asia has been multipolar for millennia and Asia will be multipolar again. So to remove, uh, the conflation of Asia with all of China or, or China with all of Asia is, was really another motivation as well.
Speaker 1:
4:03
Excellent point in the right now also too, to kind of bring to the next question, which is a, um, excellent point. I mean with, with the, with the importance of the other, all the other countries in Asia that are growing more and more in terms of both economic, um, power and and development, Southeast Asia, India, um, and now with the trade war between the u s and China, that also makes a very significant case and impact and has already had significant impact in terms of, uh, raising the level of some of the other ASEAN countries in terms of manufacturing and out then trade. Um, tell us a little bit about, about this and tell us about your thoughts on the trade war. What are some of the effects that you're seeing? What are maybe some of the effects that you are not expecting? What's your views on it?
Speaker 2:
4:48
Well, I think that people have mistakenly taken the u s trying to trade war as if it is the sum total of all trade. But it isn't, you know, I mean, the fact is that already today and certainly even well before the trade war broke out, European trade with China is substantially larger than American trade with China. And one of the key consequences of the trade war will be that China will trade even more with Europe and less with the United States. So in fact, the u s China economic relationship becomes less in a central to, to the global economic system. Of course, there are regulatory consequences in terms of how protection is, um, technological nationalism, you know, uh, this so-called splinter net and things like this that emerged from tensions between Europe and between the U S and China. But I think we have to be very careful in pretending that somehow, you know, what the u s does or what China does dictates all of global trade.
Speaker 2:
5:45
That's simply not true. Um, and what we can see already is that not only does Europe trade more with China than the u s does, but it's obviously pushing very hard to have Airbus to gain a much greater share of the Chinese market than that's already the case. Now we're going to see, uh, of course, uh, imports of China, of European technology goods, uh, you know, substitute for those in the United States. We're going to see, you know, we're already seeing Europe push very hard, uh, to have greater access to Asian markets where the United States has pulled out the Trans Pacific partnership agreement as well, which has nothing to do with China because China didn't join it either. Meanwhile, Europe is a push for an FTA with Japan, with [inaudible] and with India. So we're going to see your Asia become much more important. We're already seeing supply chains that have moved out of China into Southeast Asia.
Speaker 2:
6:34
And it's very important, you know, for everyone to remember the sequencing. The trade war is not the reason why supply chains are shifting out of China. The trade war is accelerated supply chain shifting out of China, but it's been 10 years that many companies began to shift because of rising Chinese wages, because of competition from Chinese and indigenous, uh, brands and companies and now also because of the trade war. And also, of course, simply desire to be closer to a fast growing market like Southeast Asia. So all of these things need to be taken into account in a, in the proper sequence.
Speaker 1:
7:13
And, and I want also to ask you, because in your book you discussed the terms of new Asian values and you namely specifically mentioned technocratic governance, mixed capitalism and social conservatism. So maybe tell us a little bit about this and how all these values are making it maybe better for the region to grow. Any holes.
Speaker 2:
7:36
Yes, I think that, you know, it's very interesting, the Asian values conversation of the early mid 1990s was largely premised on a kind of, you know, uh, Chinese centric sort of view around hierarchy and so forth. And that, um, you know, clearly was, uh, dismissed as crony capitalism after the financial crisis. So it has been really 20 years since people even use this phrase, Asian value. So I want it to be clear about what I call the new Asian values and craft it in a more secular way and also in a less China centric way. And to really look at the broader Asian population and think about what are the kind of pragmatic guiding orientations that we can see already in common across Asian countries, whether they are China or non Chinese, whether they are democratic or authoritarian. And I did find really that there is a certain sense of acceptance again with, with caveats.
Speaker 2:
8:37
So you know, Asia is a very diverse region of course, but I did find strangely that despite all of the diversity of Asia, I found that there is a certain deference or acceptance of a kind of more technocratic approach to governance in the sense that executive branches, executive leaders are given a fairly long leash along a shelf life, if you will, in order to, um, uh, you know, in order to fulfill their mission or vision of long term modernization. Um, and I think that that is something that clearly we're not seeing in western politics as much. So, you know, a deference to a strong executive is one, but [inaudible] strong executive, by the way, it's not a synonym for tech, not technocratic. I just want to be clear. You know what I mean by technocratic is, is very much, uh, even more really about professionalism in governance.
Speaker 2:
9:28
You know, strengthening of the capacity of civil services, usage of data and making policy. We're seeing no, even poorer Asian countries do this. And that's again, something that with Trump and Brexit and so forth, we see being somewhat abandoned in the west and I think that's very detrimental. Or the others mixed capitalism. This is much more obvious because obviously a state government collaboration, collusion coordination is much more prominent in Asia. It's obviously a huge part of the rise of the Japanese and Korean economies. Um, and obviously in China as well. So state capitalism or mixed capitalism is very, uh, comfortable, you know, sort of in Asian systems. Whereas of course it's a bit enough oma in Orthodox Western, you know, economic theory. And the third is this idea of um, really incremental social progressivism, you know, I call it social conservatism, where you can see that Asian countries, you know, are cautious about, um, you know, uh, uh, the rights to free speech, you know, media freedom.
Speaker 2:
10:31
Uh, they're very cautious about people being able to say anything they want given the, uh, social diversity and ethnic diversity and religious diversity. So you can see now if you look at media, if you look at, uh, Internet censorship or um, you know, uh, Internet, um, kind of speech laws and regulation, you see that, uh, you know, countries are being very careful about, uh, how to monitor fake news and so forth. And so that also stems from this cautious approach. Now I'm not advocating any or all of these three, right? I'm saying that this is how it is. There are some ways in which it's good. There are other ways in which it's not good. Of course, you know, clearly social conservatism and being, um, you know, restrictive around free speech may on the one hand prevent racial, uh, hatred and violence from erupting. On the other hand, it can simply be a tool of a, you know, unnecessary censorship. So I'm very, very aware of all of these. And in the book I am very clear about which aspects of it I support and which ones I I oppose.
Speaker 1:
11:33
And in terms specifically about technocratic governance, I wanted to ask you a, and I think a lot of people listening to the, to the podcast may be also from specifically maybe all listeners in Europe and, and, and in the u s but also some in Asia. Could you give us some examples, because I think it could, the, it could actually add a lot of, in terms of, um, making it a bit more specific, what you see and you mentioned obviously some more developed countries in Asia, some less developed and still they kind of take this, uh, this approach. Maybe, maybe do, if it's okay to, to share some examples.
Speaker 2:
12:08
Yes, of course. And I think, you know, it breaks down, you know, also by, by wealth, you know, and, and the kind of degree of maturity of a country. Um, you know, run, can go back and look obviously at the Chinese Confucianist governance principles several thousand years ago and, and see some of the similarities obviously in terms of rigorous testing, um, you know, of bureaucrats and so forth. But more commonly today and more relevant is of course the Singapore example because this is a country that has taken the parliamentary democratic model of the United Kingdom, but grafted upon it a much stronger executive structure and party structure. Um, but also, you know, has maintained a strength and professionalism and really improve them of the civil service. And, you know, the World Bank and other organizations do, um, you know, measure and analyze these things. And it's fairly objectively now, uh, the case that Singapore civil service is one of the top ranked in the whole world.
Speaker 2:
13:07
And you can look at, again, the usage of data, the, uh, the academic training and qualifications of members of the civil service. Um, and the extent to which cross-country comparisons and case studies are used and framing policies. All of these things are done with a high degree of rigor and Singapore. So, from my perspective, if someone who moved here recently and you know, has been a lecturer, they'll be on new school and participating in, uh, in the executive education programs that we run, you'll see a very large number of civil servants and ministers and mayors, uh, officials coming from all across Asia on a weekly basis in very large numbers. Um, you know, to learn about how to run a country, you know, and so it is obviously, uh, perhaps paradoxical that one of the smallest countries in the world is teaching all these large countries how to govern themselves better. When you think about it in functional terms, you know, which is to say, how do we build a strong civil service? How do we learn how to collect the trash? You know, how do we structure our ministries? How do we, um, you know, uh, a legislative and plan for an established sexual economic zones? You know, these are things that Singapore has already done very well. And so whether or not it's a big or a small country, uh, there's a lot to be learned from what this country has already done.
Speaker 1:
14:21
Hmm. And moving a little bit the discussion to the realm of supply chain and, and the, and manufacturing and so on. And uh, obviously Asia is well or Southeast Asia is, there's a lot of islands in Southeast Asia, Asia in general. Uh, you know, again, it's, it's, it's a big, it's a big, uh, place with different countries, different cultures. [inaudible] hi fermentation sometimes. Um, how do you see it in terms of supply chains and collaborations around supply chains and evolution? This supply chains in the region?
Speaker 2:
14:54
Yes. I, I think this is really critical because, you know, we've not only seen governments take the organic and passive approach where simply by virtue of their low wages, they, uh, tried to attract, you know, low wage, um, you know, uh, a product assembly or intermediate, um, uh, assembly of goods that would be a very kind of 1970s, 1980s approach to it. Instead overseeing is that governments are getting smart and forecasting and trying to find a high value niche and global supply chains. You Take Thailand, for example, the, the branding itself as a hub for industry 4.0 in a, in Southeast Asia. Now obviously indigenously that's not something Thailand is up to. However you see that by working with, uh, you know, German investors, Japanese companies and so forth, they're really trying to, um, develop higher quality products, you know, in automobile parts, for example, electronics and so forth.
Speaker 2:
15:53
So there really is a strategic element to supply chain competition. I also look at it in terms of, you know, these bilateral pairings where a wealthy and developed and modern, sophisticated Asian economies like Japan and South Korea have been strategically picking Southeast Asian countries and, uh, including, uh, also South Asia like India, and making very large investments to upgrade and modernize those countries, capability to produce high quality, large volume, uh, goods and components at a competitive cost. So there's this strategic development or aspect to it. There's an industrial policy element. There's a forecasting element and this is what smart governments do is look for those opportunities to capture, um, not just the bottom of the supply chain, but really, um, you know, the middle level.
Speaker 1:
16:43
Uh, historically, also in terms of a, in terms of Asia, it's, it's known for being the hub and the manufacturing hub. Now it used to be China now is shifting more and more towards Southeast Asia. You know, obviously you mentioned India, Bangladesh is another hub for four for manufacturing that is growing more and more. I wanted to bring the discussion, uh, around the question of certain examples that you may know of governments and companies coming together and creating a better infrastructure, a better ecosystem in terms of, of, you know, this kind of, um, uh, adding value to the, to the overall supply chain in the region and to overall manufacturing side if the region,
Speaker 2:
17:25
well, I think, you know, inputs are coming, you know, very much at the firm level as they, you know, historically do, we're seeing a lot of companies, and this is important to think about it in the context of the trade war where we put too much attention really on, um, you know, the sort of trade tensions. But from an investment standpoint, we actually see foreign investment volumes continuing to rise. That means firms are realizing that precisely of trade protectionism, one has to be behind the border, one has to be inside the economies where one wants to sell or the regions where one wants to sell. So we'll actually see FDI into Augie on a rye as, as a result of the trade friction. And that means American companies, um, and other Asian companies outsourcing more within Asia.
Speaker 1:
18:10
[inaudible]. And in terms of the specific, in terms of the c level executives and in terms of the strategy that boards and CEOs should keep in mind for, for Asia in general, for maybe Southeast Asia particularly, you can split it whichever way you would want. What would be some of the most important points that they should have or um, in, in relation to some of the supply chain challenges that are existing right now and Ben potentially ways in which they can mitigate it or solve it for the future?
Speaker 2:
18:40
Well, it's a great question. You know, I mean, as much as we would like to think of Ozzy on as a coherent region, there's still a very large regulatory barriers, right? It's a great source of frustration. In fact, as much as Ozzie on really is waking off by genuinely believe and trying to integrate further, the degree of inequality within alteon is as high as any region in the world, perhaps the highest. Because if you think about it from a per capita on median income standpoint, you know, you have countries like Singapore and Brunei, then you also have East Timor in Myanmar. So you can expect these countries to also have the same, you know, degree of Regulatory, uh, you know, sort of, uh, standards, you know, taking Singapore as their kind of gold standard versus the rest. So there is still a lot of soft barriers in their country in terms of capital flows, uh, you know, access to, um, uh, purchasing domestic stakes and companies and so forth.
Speaker 2:
19:29
So what executives have to bear in mind is they have to be part, not just do business here. It really helped the weaker governments, uh, improve their standards and their governments and their governance. It's not going to happen on its own. So I see a very strong advocacy role. Um, you know, I call it co governance. Sometimes, you know, for a foreign investors and corporate executives to think about have, can be part of really coaching to improve the system. And, and that in a way accelerates the public private sort of hybridization, um, uh, of governance in the region. So that, that, that's one thing I think that's very important. It really isn't just one, a modernist region. In fact, it's perhaps the most diverse, again, most diverse sub region in the entire world you think are the ethnolinguistic differences and the number of countries and so forth. Uh, and yet though with a, you know, a population of 700 million people, very young, median age, um, you know, this, this region, it really is in a sweet spot where all of the, um, you know, the, the momentum and, and, and uh, and a sort of trajectory is pointing in the right direction.
Speaker 1:
20:31
You mentioned the industry 4.0 or I, and I think you were what we were talking about a specific, the same as before 4.0 we were talking about the, you know, industrial, industrial development and, and also what China is, has gone through in the last couple of years where it's much more advanced from that perspective. And you have also different advancements like, um, labor automation, especially in the West. Of course you have, um, uh, you know, you have Iot, you have different types of technologies that will automate a lot of the jobs on the manufacturing sector. How do you see this in the context of Asia because Asia has been historically a lower cost of labor type of market. Um, are you seeing most of that? It's, it's happened, this lead, this type of labor automation is happening in Asia. You have some case studies, some examples. What's your perspective on this?
Speaker 2:
21:20
Yeah. Oh yeah. There was no question that, uh, you know, labor automation and because of they brought a nation in the industrialization that is taking place as supply chains come into, into Asia more, um, are not going to create as many jobs as they did in previous decades. You know, productivity as a, also a driver, uh, you know, part and parcel of that. So it's still creating lots of jobs. I mean, of course the, to the extent that there is marginal growth in manufacturing labor around the world, in Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia. However, what's important to remember is that Southeast Asian economies are not the same as again, the 1970s or eighties. They are more already because they've already become services economies. So they're getting the manufacturing work, but they don't need it as much as a generation ago. So these are services economies where urbanization, digitization, financialization, and so forth are already huge drivers of the economy.
Speaker 2:
22:14
So when it comes to supply chains, you know, it isn't again, just about how can I get the jobs right? It's how can they get high value jobs because otherwise you won't see the wages be high enough for these countries to overcome the so-called and middle income trap. Um, so there is a lot of debate about this phenomenon of automation and a premature de Industrialization, right? You know, will these countries the hollowed out because of robotics and automation, uh, affecting the labor force prior to the income and savings rising above that lower middle income traps. And I think because of the services transition, these economies will largely, uh, you know, overcome that and get beyond it. Again, there is very diverse set of countries. So, I'm not talking about, you know, the poorest ones right now, but, uh, I think that each, each, uh, society is coping with that in its, in its own way.
Speaker 1:
23:09
I mean, it's an excellent point. And then, um, and it's going to be interesting to see because for sure, whereas maybe 10, 15, five year and years ago, manufacturing companies would come to Asia because it would be a cheap, let's say now we are seeing more and more the reverse trend of, um, of taking back into the, or I think it's called insourcing manufacturing in countries like Germany to be close to the consumer. And the factories are highly automated. So it's, it's mostly, it's almost no humans inside. Um, and obviously all that production is no longer going to be somewhere in the, well, it can be easily, it can also be South American I guess. But, um, and he's going to be back in Germany. So India, that's, that's an interesting dynamic. I am, I'm, I'm totally not an expert in this and how it's gonna pan out in the future, but it is happening.
Speaker 1:
24:00
Um, and, um, that kind of brings me to the next question also in terms of there's other, there's other things that usually is taking the lead on in terms of the world is, uh, for example, in China, obviously they've done a fantastic job, but the payments of the payment system and then basically, um, there's a, there's almost cashless, um, uh, cities in China and they've managed to do a lot of innovations and applications that even you can find in the west. So I wanted to ask you a, not specifically only about payments, but I wanted to ask you in terms of some of the most interesting innovation projects and applications that you've, that you've seen coming out of Asia and then maybe impacting the global economy and then basically forcing other parts of the world to implement similar applications.
Speaker 2:
24:44
So this is one of the areas where we can clearly see that Asian innovation, particularly coming out of China, you know, have given that the immediate scale, uh, of expansion in the Chinese market and then international acquisition and expansion of those firms really become a world leading phenomenon. You know, the instantaneous mobile payments and the access to financial products through, uh, apps, you know, is really more evolved in China than anywhere. And really it's an example of leapfrogging, if you will. And now we see other countries and their app ecosystems, you know, copying that model as they quickly, you know, a regular sort of a, you know, allow banks and telecoms to collaborate more freely to come up with these kinds of products. So, you know, we're seeing with even poorer countries in Indonesia, like Indonesia, you have go-jek, it's also trying to be a super app.
Speaker 2:
25:36
So Super app is the term that really, you know, uh, captures this phenomenon of a one stop portal that allows you to do everything from a mobile, from mobile phone calling and communications and chat functions to financial products, transportation, um, and so forth. And I think that is, um, you know, really it's very, very hard already to capture the productivity gains from the falling costs of technology. But now looking at the rising productivity in terms of efficiency of transactions that result from this kind of Super app, uh, Super app Ossification is also something that's very difficult to quantify. You know, we do know it makes our lives incredibly convenient. Uh, you know, just how much economic value that has. But it is of course tremendous.
Speaker 1:
26:25
ECOMMERCE is another big, um, is another big trend and it's also growing tremendously in Asia, probably faster than anywhere else in the world, specifically also in, in Southeast Asia. It's playing a part because it's, it's kind of also fostering these collaborations between the ASSEAN nations in terms of holes across whether it's doing more trade together. How do you see e-commerce as a, as a general, I'm getting this maybe to close the collaboration between countries and also its impact on a, on a bigger picture as well.
Speaker 2:
26:55
Yes. I mean, you know, I think e-commerce is one of those crucial test beds, if you will, for regional integration because you do still have those borders. Customs clearance, a as everyone in supply chain world knows is a significant drag and cost factor that, uh, that, you know, uh, eliminate some of the gains from what would otherwise be wage and you know, geographic, uh, efficiencies. So the, the rise of our cross border e-commerce through either the e-commerce green lanes, uh, in, in logistics that have arisen between Asian countries, a facilitated that, but also of course the cross border acquisitions. You know, for example, Alibaba's a very large stake in sing posts and uh, and other moves around the region that relate to uh, the e-commerce marketplaces. Uh, logistics combined with retail and the payments ecosystem. You know, bringing these verticals together into cross border conglomerates has really helped to facilitate the movement of goods around the region. So I think that that, you know, e-commerce is a very important and that's far very positive. A litmus test, if you will, of how the digital dimension of supply chain can bring about the regional integration that we've really been talking about for a long time, but not necessarily doing
Speaker 1:
28:15
and moving, moving, um, the discussion towards also the human element and towards skills. And towards what you see in terms of, um, skills necessary for, for the markets and skills shortages may be in particular. And again, we're talking about the highly, I mean the highly diverse type of a, a geographic of the scope, Brian, because it's not the same a what might be a shortage in China versus somewhere in Asana versus in India. But what do you see as some trends in terms of what skills are necessary and needed in, in, in Asia? And maybe there's, there's a shortage, so specifically again, for the supply chain and manufacturing side.
Speaker 2:
28:56
Right. It's actually a very, very good question. And again, it depends on, on the country, right? I mean, you know, China is already past the point, uh, in terms of it's a labor force size. It's actually declining at this point. So they want to automate and they have been automating very quickly, which is helps to account for exports and output, maintaining their steady performance despite the shrinking of the labor force. So, um, you know, other countries have not, uh, automated really at all. You know, there, there's a real need to bring in the kinds of technologies that help to refine or improve, augment, uh, you know, human capability. If countries like Vietnam want to produce more high value added goods, they're going to need more precision, uh, kinds of, um, uh, industrial machinery and so forth from Europe or to import it from Korea, Japan and so on. So, you know, depending on the degree of complexity in our country's economy there, there's, there's substantial needs still with many Asian countries to bring in that kind of technology and knowhow. And again, that's what every country I'd see, you know, in, in Asia is starting to, to do or is already well advanced and doing. And this is a sign again that they think of supply chains as something very strategic, uh, you know, active rather than passive. And that, that to me is very a very promising.
Speaker 1:
30:15
I'm a big guard being the executive level then regarding the CEOs, regarding the board members of, of, of companies, what would you say are the key attributes that they should have in order to stay relevant in Asia? Right. So it may be people that may be of age, Asian heritage, it may be, you know, experts that are coming here to the different operations. What would you say that is very important for them to understand and pay attention to in the next years to basically keep their companies relevant?
Speaker 2:
30:43
Oh, it's a very good question. So, you know, and part of it we were discussing earlier in terms of what should leaders know about Asia, right? And the first thing is you need to have a regional and a country presence. You know, there has to be an Ozzie on strategy, but also obviously a country level strategy for countries as big as Indonesia and Vietnam and starting to appreciate, uh, that connectivity, uh, between those markets. You know, you see a trade, uh, and again, obviously intermediate and finished goods, uh, trade between, uh, the countries, uh, you know, whether it's Thailand and me and mar or Vietnam and, and Thailand and Indonesia with Malaysia and others. All of those sort of dyads are growing. So you have to really have a strong on the ground presence and strong local knowledge, uh, to, to capitalize on that because otherwise, of course, especially if you're a foreign, uh, from, you know, you're really going to be missing out, uh, because really the local markets are, uh, ambitious enough, you know, leaders are ambitious enough to go and push for these kinds of, um, uh, this kind of integration.
Speaker 1:
31:47
And I don't know if you've, um, I don't know if you've touched upon it in the book as well on this, this aspects of leadership and the different types of dealing with different cultures. Cause Asia again, is super diverse and there's different, um, uh, ways that may work, for example, with the, with the employees in Vietnam, but may not work in, in Thailand or you know, the other way around. Um, do you see also in terms of, um, how to get the best out of people, and it might, it might be more of a personal opinion, and I'm asking from you right now, but do you see, um, and do you have a, some sharings, right? In terms of what you've observed that works best depending on the country, depending maybe on, you know, they did an Astia in India or China, um, that, that works the best in terms of getting the best out of people out of organizations, out of cultures.
Speaker 2:
32:33
Well, you know, obviously there's no substitute these days, right? For Digital Literacy, right? So you really want to have, um, the educational system, the vocational systems, the business, um, uh, sponsorship of academic and training programs really be a state of the art as possible. And so we're finding that, you know, I find that obviously one of the key metrics of international success in improving productivity is going to come from having a lot stronger, uh, government, uh, you know, support for industry, uh, you know, sponsoring and playing a role in shaping educational curricula, again at the technical and vocational level. And so that's something that, you know, uh, Europe has a very long history of particularly affords Germany, Switzerland, and other countries, uh, switch, uh, Singapore has started to, you know, copy that model as well. You know, in Korea it's quite strong. So this is going to be critical is you know, sort of that alignment between business, government and industry, sorry, business, government, academia and um, and you know, having it be as sort of, you know, i-ready as possible.
Speaker 1:
33:47
Hmm. That's an excellent point. And, um, I think it's called tripartite, uh, alignment and M and a, I've also been involved in one or two discussions and definitely I would agree that Singapore is doing a great job in terms of, uh, facilitating social discussions. But there's other, there's other good case studies in other countries within Asia where it's where it's happening and it's critical to adapt and adopt quite fast because technology is, uh, moving very fast. So all of a sudden what you learn in school, uh, in five years might not be relevant anymore. So basically education has to be aligned with what companies want and, and the government has to respond to somehow mitigating all of this. So, um, yeah, it's not an easy task. It's a, it's a daunting task, but you kind of pause down to your point of digital literacy and making sure that people are kind of occupy themselves, updated to what is happening and what is relevant.
Speaker 1:
34:38
Um, and, um, kind of to, to conclude our discussion, I also wanted to ask you a question regarding, um, uh, more of a personal, personal standpoint regarding the, some of the younger listeners on the podcast, but also not necessarily the younger, but it's, it's, it's people that would want to kind of learn from you. You've had a successful career, you've been exposed to a lot of different international organizations. What would be some pieces of advice that you have received or that you have or principles that you have followed that, uh, that had to be successful in, in your career so far?
Speaker 2:
35:11
Well, that's a very good question. Um, you know, for me, mobility, you know, has probably been the most significant thing as a generic term, just to represent, you know, travel and seeking out different opportunities and different locations. You know, so whether all of the different places I've studied or the places that I've traveled from, my kind of, you know, on the ground research and also now having lived in four or five different countries over the last decade, um, all of that has played a significant role for me in terms of, you know, appealing. Like I, I can confidently have my finger on the pulse of global trends and, and, and write about them in a way that's also kind of, uh, you know, forward looking. So I definitely attribute, um, you know, a lot of what has contributed to my presence sort of, you know, career positioning to, uh, to, to traveling
Speaker 1:
36:02
[inaudible] back to the [inaudible]. I could not, I could not agree more actually. It's, um, uh, it definitely forces you out of your, out of your comfort zone as well, makes you look at things in a different, in a different light, so fully support the [inaudible]. So, uh, uh, here in Singapore, but not from here. And it makes a lot of difference to, to be exposed to two different, uh, cultures. So thanks for sharing that Prague. And thanks for sharing. Also, uh, all the good examples and case studies as well as trends that you're seeing. Um, and the reason why, um, Asia is the place to be, uh, in, in the present as well as in the future. Um, and uh, and appreciated so far been touch and thank you for your time. Thank you very much. Nice to speak with you. Thank you for listening podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to go to www.ellicottglobal.com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview.
Speaker 1:
37:00
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