To get more citizens excited about Smart Nation, the government needs to enable "citizens to feel that they are a part of the Smart Nation project", advised Tong. "One way of doing so is by holding workshops targeted at the different demographics to equip citizens with the required knowledge and capabilities to allow them to contribute to Smart Nation. However, such efforts should be subtle so that citizens feel comfortable to learn about and contribute to Smart Nation at their own pace."
From left to right: Drew Hamment, Founder and CEO of FutureEverything; Aaron Maniam, Director of the Industry Division at the Ministry of Trade and Industry; Tong Yee, Founder and Director of the Thought Collective; and Cheryl Chung, Deputy Director of Strategic Planning at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Credit: Future Everything
Smart Nation: It's the journey that counts
According to Aaron Maniam, Director of the Industry Division at Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, the most important aspect of Smart Nation is not the end result, but the journey to become one. "Becoming a Smart Nation could well be, in essence, a destination that we might never reach, but the journey matters. Being a Smart Nation is going to involve all sorts of contradictions as we try to be both technological and human, kind and firm at the same time. [These contradictions may lead to challenges that we find] difficult, horrible and insurmountable. It's all right if we don't solve everything; some problems in life are meant to be managed, not solved. Even if we don't complete a task, what I'd like to think is that [all our efforts] have helped make tomorrow's Smart Nation just that little better than today's Smart Nation, because I'm not at liberty to desist from that very important task."
Embarking on a Smart Nation journey is also a way of future-proofing the country as it urges Singaporeans to adopt a growth mindset. Maniam explained that people with growth mindsets believe that their abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence; they thus do not fear failure, unlike those with fixed mindsets who believe that they are limited by what they are born with. As such, having a growth mindset could ensure that Singapore will constantly strive to improve itself and be more resilient — both of which are key in enabling the republic to continue being competitive despite its lack of natural resources, said Maniam.
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