What’s Lacking in Singapore?

The Singapore-MIT Alliance programme is implementing this approach. During their stint at MIT, NUS students … meet with experienced entrepreneurs who imbue them with the “entrepreneurial” spirit. However, merely learning the ropes does not suffice, Magnanti stresses. "You need a supporting ecosystem to provide the right incentives, structure, and freedom." He sees Singapore as having the infrastructure, capital, and talent; however, he feels the nation needs an infusion of more risk-taking.

 So is the 4th element of "culture" what's lacking in Singapore? This has been a pet topic for discussion ever since i returned from Silicon valley. So much rehashing that it might be of low value-add to go into another debate about it. 

This article is interesting as it holds up Singaporeans alongside the Indians and Chinese as "a new breed of graduates who, having a strong foundation of technical expertise, also possess the additional leadership qualities of inventiveness, risk-taking, and a sense of adventure", "in contrast to a persistent perception held by many that Asians are staid or even stoic".

But other than that, its just a leisure read for those of us who came back from SV, not much new ground broken or insights. Its a pretty good read for those who want to know how to link their engineering knowledge with entrepreneurship and those engineers thinking of moving into the business sectors. 


8 thoughts on “What’s Lacking in Singapore?

  1. Talked to two exchange students today and they both commented that there is lack of creativity in the NUS classroom. Students responded in a way that tried to “please” their tutors/lectures, in other words, they do not really discuss the issues but only answer in such a way that they think their professors prefer. But what is good about Singapore is that it is very efficient compared to many first-world countries.

  2. Interesting points. I’ve noticed as well a slight aim to please lecturers and professors – not a desire to express ones thoughts or ideas. However, i still think that one of the main things that Singaporeans miss is initiative. They may have fantastic ideas, lots of support, enough capital and the know-how…but they simply don’t do.

    If you look at any major entrepreneur or inventor – one of the key characteristics that differentiates them is their ability to try, try and try again. Edison tried thousands of materials before he found one that worked in a light bulb, Richard Branson lost loads of money and had many failed businesses before Virgin Records. I think that some Singaporeans can be too scared of failure to have the initiative to try.

    BTW have you read – ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill? Maybe a stupid question, but if you haven’t you definately should.

  3. Fergus, I haven’t, but sicne you recommended it, i will be sure to go check it out. =) You should read Good to Great by Jim Collins too if you haven’t, best business book i have read thus far and a must-read in Silicon Valley among other books

  4. Err…actually i haven't read Think and Grow Rich either, because i'm not that bothered about getting rich – bit it is widely regarded as one of the key books to read. He was appointed by Andrew Carnegie (multi millionaire) to study the 500 of richest men in the world, and analyse what key characteristics they had which made them rich!

    (not sure if html works in comments)

    In reply to Suhao – my initial thought is, why does it matter if the Singaporean government doesn't tolerate failures. Will they put you in jail if your product doesn't sell? Sure, they may not help in ways that other governments do – but a true entrepreneur just keeps trying. He's the guy standing on the street handing out flyers for his shop – not the boss sitting in the back with his feet up.

  5. Pingback: Singapore Entrepreneurs » What is lacking in Singapore? Let’s start from student enterprise first

  6. Hi,

    I might be too late to find this blog, but me, as a Singaporean, do agrees to what you have said as above. Creativity, self confidence and motivation. I think it is because of the realism of money factor which makes people afraid on trying. Instead, Singaporeans tend to think in a way to make money without coming up with any capital…

    I have read “Think and Grow Rich” and I will suppose that it will be one of the best books that I have ever read before. I have to go through the book again and again to remind myself and separating myself from the “bad” influences.

  7. Надо взять на заметку

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