With bleak economic conditions and intensifying global competition, Budget 2023 outlined strategies to promote innovation-driven growth. Singapore, as stated by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, will need to adapt rapidly to developments in order to live and prosper in a turbulent world.
The Budget offers a S$4 billion increase to the National Productivity Fund, as well as tax credits for enterprises conducting research and development through the new Enterprise Innovation Plan. The message is unmistakable: broaden the pool of local enterprises and develop them into international champions so that they can serve as an additional growth engine for Singapore.
But how will Singapore create innovative businesses in the digital age? What would it take for domestic businesses to reinvent industries in the manner that companies such as Creative Technology have in the past?
Nowadays, emerging technologies such as deep-learning artificial intelligence, Web3, advanced robotics, and connected gadgets supported by edge computing and 5G networks are enabling new digital business models.
Google and Microsoft are investing billions in AI chatbots, claiming they represent the next frontier of search engines, despite the fact that the IT industry has been ravaged by layoffs.
To ensure the success of these efforts, however, leaders must consider digital transformation not as a simple checkbox, but as an ongoing learning process. Google has previously paid a price for Bard’s wrong response to a query, while customers have noticed weird encounters with Microsoft’s Bing artificial intelligence.
Skilled employees are the foundation of the future digital economy and are key to the creation of Singapore’s next global brand. Yet, the Singaporean talent pool with digital skills is diminishing. According to a research by the Ministry of Manpower, software, online, and multimedia developers will have the second-most available positions in 2021, with more than 1,600 openings.
Amazon Web Services predicted in 2021 that Singapore will require 1.2 million additional digital workers by 2025 (a 55 percent increase from 2021 levels) in order to remain competitive, while only 40,000 to 50,000 new workers enter the workforce annually.
Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has been working with industry partners such as Temus to reskill and upskill Singaporeans for employment prospects in technology to alleviate the labor shortage.