Tag Archives: #Singapore Management Festival#


I attended the 2018 Singapore Management Festival on 21 Sep 2018 with high anticipation to hear Professional Futurist Ben Hammersley, inventor of the term “podcast” speak about being Future Ready.

He titled his speel “Being Present Now“. What does he mean? That the future is contained in the today? I was hoping to learn what I can do today to prepare for the future.

Without slides, and dressed in black with black sports shoes, at one point, he sat on the floor, cross legged and just talked.

He told story after story, anecdotal account of how jobs were replaced in his little town in the UK. Like a journalist exchanging fire-side war stories.

How doctors, lawyers, bankers and accountants will get replaced. The CEO will lose his job but his secretary will stay. Transaction based jobs will be replaced by AI but not the secretary. Certificates will no longer be important. No one cares about your degree. [Claps and cheers from the student population attending.] Young people are more in tune with the future, we don’t need to worry about them.

What can we do?
1. Shrink your prediction horizon
2. Examine your activities, how much of it is high-touch?
3. How much of it is routine and can be replaced by a machine?
4. Observe what you are doing.
5. Flexible growth mindset rather than new toys.
6. Be present

Reading the interview by Michael Wolf @ Forbes gives an inkling why he would say that. Be present. He came up with the iconic word in the spur of the moment.

My own research uncovered the story of how he came up with the word.

“I was late on the deadline, and the story was a a little bit short. I was desperately trying to bulk it up for the next morning’s newspaper.” And so he threw in a few extra words to meet beef up his article, including the line:
“But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?”

And so the life lesson goes: We can spend years toiling away, but sometimes the throwaway effort we do in just a few  minutes – like adding an extra line to an article – is what we’re most remembered for.” (Michael Wolf)

Dont live in the future, Hammersley advised. Be Present. Creating new insights through observations cannot come from a robot. Your current work challenges however mundane and stressful, offers opportunities. Rethink how to improve the interaction experience. An inconsequential moment.

Ben Hammersley had certainly given hope to the young people in the audience, especially those who are hoping the disrupt can give them a second chance.

During the networking lunch, Carmen a Finance person from the Philippines reminded me that HR as a profession did not exist years ago. HR as a function comprised mainly payroll under Finance and Unions. Today, Employee Engagement, Talent Management and Wellness distinguish Excellent Employer Branding. Indeed, even as Jobs are destroyed, new ones are being created. I certainly am looking forward to the 2019 Singapore Management Festival.

#Its not enough to disrupt#, #Being Present Now#
Future Proof Yourself, Aleks Krotoski and Ben Hammersley@ BBC, Jun 2018


On Friday I was invited to the Singapore Management Festival “Small is the New Big”. There were several speakers whom I had great respect. Others, because I had classes in between, I was not able to attend.


I walked out of the conference feeling happy but not sure why. Several people I spoke to also were impressed with Red Hongyi. I think she is a very creative person. She showed us plates of food she created for 31 days which were picked up by Instagram CEO.

Hardest part was to show up. When she first decided to set up her own creative company, she had no clients.

So she started creating plates of food. The photos show the difference between Day 1 and Day 31. Hard part is showing up. Power is needed.

Jamil Qureshi, echoed this view, when he talked about coaching athletes. Performance is achieved on a daily basis. Cynical people do not achieve new territories.



My favourite was the one with a squid. You can find her inspirations on her website.

Another lucky stroke – asked by Jacky Chan to do his 60th birthday portrait which she constructed out of chopsticks.


Whats amazing is that she filmed herself during the entire installation process and created a inspiring talk along the way and recreated herself as a motivational speaker on the creative process.

She reminded me of renowned choreograoher Twylar Tharp who filmed her dancers practicing to fine tune her performances.

Looking at someone create something, not just talk about it makes me happy. I may not become a great artist, but I can participate in the process of creation.

Relieve yourself from being perfect. As Jamil Quereshi, the sports psychologist said. Either you become discouraged and give up or you do attain perfectionism and become so afraid of losing that status.

I see the speaker try so many mediums, using socks, chopsticks, coffee stains, teabags.

Life is not about discovering who you are. It is about the joy of creating yourself. What do you think of the creative process?