Singapore is a nation fundamentally built on inspiring evolution. Now the quintessential “Singapore Dream” is itself undergoing a period of fascinating transition, moving away from the notorious 5Cs of cash, car, credit card, condo and country club membership that epitomised the aspirations of an ambitious millennial demographic.
The iconic 5Cs were coined in the early ‘90s to define the idea that hard work brings just rewards measured in material possessions and sought-after status symbols. However, the aspirations of younger generations set to supercharge Singapore’s future growth have changed immeasurably in the three decades since, as has the broader business and technology landscape.
This new generation is less concerned with demonstrable trophies of affluence, instead taking a more measured view of quality of life as part of the wider employment landscape. A stable job with good work-life balance, a good company with chance of progression, and working on exciting products, topics or technologies were three key priorities of Singaporean workers identified in the report What Jobseekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment by Seek’s JobStreet and JobsDB, BCG and The Network.
The rise of AI-driven solutions offers a powerful complement to these changing lifestyles. These transformational technologies are already embedded in our daily lives, with trending AI-chatbot ChatGPT offering a prominent recent example.
One thing is certain in this changing landscape — AI is here to stay. It is not a case of “if” but “how” these remarkable technologies are implemented and that journey could have major implications for the accessibility of an evolving Singapore Dream.
Energising economic opportunity
Analysts often fixate on the big-picture value of AI with a material impact on global GDP in the multi-trillion dollars that would be foolish to ignore, yet it is in day-to-day operations that we could realise the most meaningful impact on the Singapore Dream.
We have seen in our own experience at BCG X — the pioneering new-tech build and design division of BCG — that genuine end-to-end AI-driven transformation unlocks benefits for stakeholders across the ecosystem.
Underpinning that transformation is the compelling proposition of reducing monotonous and repetitive tasks, empowering upskilled workers to focus on more rewarding opportunities supported by AI-driven tools and capabilities. This goal works hand-in-hand with the evolving view of what a positive working life looks like.
Singapore’s vibrant financial services industry offers a powerful example of this opportunity. Modern consumer expectations for personalised solutions are piling pressure on more traditional institutions to stay competitive. Harnessing the value derived from real customer insights is therefore key to meeting growing expectations for personalised and customised products, enabling banks to better target products and services in an increasingly competitive Apac banking landscape. Successful banks often leverage both internal and external resources to build out this customer understanding, while AI also empowers smarter decision-making by customers.
BCG X’s cutting-edge AI capabilities are uniquely designed to innovate, build and execute solutions for this data-driven landscape, going beyond prototyping to transform core business operations. It is powered by propriety data assets, backed by custom products that integrate into clients’ unique tech stacks to enable better, faster decision-making, transform business operations and improve customer experience. These capabilities will be further enhanced by an exciting new collaboration with OpenAI — inventor of the iconic ChatGPT — further aiding clients to responsibly solve complex problems with generative AI.
The benefits of AI aren’t theoretical — they are already being realised by enterprises across industries and markets. Leveraging AI-powered market transformation in partnership with BCG X enabled many companies to deliver enhanced personalisation and real-time business analytics to drive significant growth in sales from existing clients, alongside a massive increase on in-store sales.
AI will empower innovation drive
Innovation is tough. Just 30% of companies think they are good at it and it is becoming more complex by the year. Even the most innovative enterprises and individuals need to constantly master new capabilities and skillsets at an increasingly rapid pace.
Emerging technologies such as AI will be critical in answering fundamental challenges in this fast-paced, modern business landscape, building an environment that empowers the underlying Singapore Dream. Our colleague Sylvain Duranton, global leader at BCG X, asserts that generative AI will offer a profound opportunity that could ultimately aid in solving some of the most complex problems facing the world today.
Corporate venturing will play an important part in accelerating innovation strategy and helping enterprises fulfil their strategic goals. As industry boundaries blur and the pace of competitive innovation increases, companies — incumbents and newcomers alike — are both emulating and partnering with startups to turbocharge their innovation engines. Venturing is a unique part of the BCG X offering focused on strategic end-to-end support to turn differentiated assets into genuine competitive opportunities, helping enterprises develop product and technology, business models, go-to-market strategies, and organisational foundations that enable them to launch these projects at speed. BCG X already partners with organisations like the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) to drive innovation in Singapore.
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Every day brings a new announcement of an organisation leveraging AI to change the way they do business. This does not come without challenges, most notable is the need to address public mistrust in a dynamic environment. Companies can bridge this trust gap by adopting what BCG X calls “responsible AI”. This includes six simple steps to (a) empower responsible AI leadership, (b) develop principles, policies and training, (c) establish human AI and governance, (d) conduct responsible AI reviews, (e) integrate tools and methods, and (f) build and test a response plan.
AI is set to revolutionise how Singaporeans live, work and play, opening up new opportunities to fulfil the Singapore Dream. As a growing number of industries harness AI, it will unlock new potential to create hyper-personalised experiences, and engender a more rewarding working environment that will allow individuals with changing work aspirations to prosper.
Enterprises who aim to play a significant role in this ecosystem will need to be customer- and innovation-centric, while also understanding how to address potential barriers around trust and ethical activation. Doing so will not only empower the individual dream of aspiring citizens, but ensure the nation can remain at the forefront of global innovation.
Hanno Stegmann is managing director and partner at BCG X