This is how we talk about the future

Lyra Reyes
This is how we talk about the future

These 3 things will shape the answer of how the future will look like

What will the future look like?

This is a question that has always been asked – be it in the classrooms where students ponder their choices or the halls of international conferences where industry leaders attempt to shape our world.

And this is a question that will continue to be asked, mainly for the simple reason that it reveals to us where opportunities lie.

Working in e27 has given me a chance to view the tech and startup landscape across geographies and industries. It has also given me the chance to speak to its leaders and ask questions from the perspective of not-quite-an-insider-but-not-quite-an-outsider-either.

Now, I would never claim to know it all. But what I do know is that if we want to talk about the future, then we need to talk about these three things today:

  • Exploring synergy
  • Pursuing diversity
  • Creating better lives


Exploring synergy

One of the best things about the ASEAN startup ecosystem is that while it’s made up of different countries and cultures, no one works in silos.

Tech and startup communities in the different countries of the region are open to partnerships with each other and, while there are challenges and barriers that need to be addressed, they generally make these partnerships work.

But we need to look further; there is still a massive untapped opportunity of collaboration with countries outside of ASEAN.

ASEAN’s relationship with China is a good illustration of this; a lot of ASEAN startups were able to develop their products and expand their businesses because of support from China, with Alibaba’s investments on Lazada and other various ASEAN companies being recent examples.

Also read: Explainer: China’s tech ecosystems and the barriers between them

The region has a lot to offer – talent, technology, and market – and China has taken notice. Opening up to opportunities to collaborate with China is a huge step to being a globally competitive ecosystem.

The ASEAN startup ecosystem has grown up, and it’s crucial that we take broader and wider steps to exploring synergies globally.


Pursuing diversity

Gender diverse companies are more productive. A study conducted by MSCI showed that companies with women in leadership roles have significant impact on growth in productivity and returns to investors.

Despite studies such as these, women remain remarkably underrepresented not just in leadership roles in general, but also in STEM fields, in particular.

As Southeast Asia continues to realise its potential as a global tech and innovation powerhouse, it also needs to solidify its stance on gender diversity – something that cannot be done if it doesn’t change the tech industry’s patriarchal structure, and correct the gender imbalance that still exists in tech.

Also read: The Jay Kim Show discusses Women in Tech

Tech and startup communities in ASEAN countries produces a growing number of unicorns and creates technologies that influence government policies. They have the power to actively pursue diversity in startups by creating an environment where women don’t need to worry about glass ceilings and other gender-based biases.


Creating better lives

Technology is developing at an unprecedented pace. We are now at an age where the line between science fiction and reality is increasingly becoming blurred. In terms of innovation and technological advancement, today is a great time to be alive.

The question now is whether what we’re doing with all the technology around us is geared toward creating a better life for everyone.

In an interview, world-renowned photographer Platon said, “technology empowers us to be human.” This is a powerful idea, especially for regions like Southeast Asia, where a significant percentage of the population do not have access to a lot of basic services and needs.

Also read: As Southeast Asian tech scene evolves, we should focus on deep tech and sustainability

There is a necessity for technologies that make living and working better for those who need it; solutions for better food production, innovation for healthcare and better access to it, and technologies that create better living conditions without destroying the planet are just some of the things the world badly needs.

All of these point to one thing: Deep Tech. Startups borne out of a core focus on technology have the potential to create global impact at a scale that will form the bedrock of future change, and be felt for generations to come.

It is our obligation to make sure this impact creates better lives.


Join the conversation
These three things are important to e27 as we shape the answer of how the future will look like. That’s why we invite you to join us at the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH), which brings together the brightest minds and most involved players in these pillars of conversation that help shape the world

Let’s continue this conversation. We have a number of complimentary SWITCH Impact passes to give away. Get them here or by registering using the promo code: DELEGATExE27.

SWITCH 2018 happens on 17-19 September at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, with off-site visits on the 20th of September.


Featured image credit: choreograph

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