Singapore has a problem with failure — we are just not making enough of them, reckons Dr Finian Tan. “You cannot ride a bicycle without falling. But if you ride a bicycle and if you fall and you die, you will never try to ride a bicycle.”

Cycling is, of course, an analogy but Tan’s call to rock the boat is clear. We are aboard Tan’s yacht, berthed at the very end of a dock off the prestigious Sentosa Cove area on the island of Sentosa. The main deck is enclosed — carpeted and air-conditioned — with silverware laid out on a dining table. The large craft sways ever so slightly, and soon becomes barely noticeable. Singapore, and its start-up field in particular, needs a radical change, says Tan, who is the founder of Vickers Venture Partners, now the fourth most consistently performing fund manager in the world. To foster a lasting culture of innovation, Singapore will require more than what he helped to kick start some two decades ago.

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