Francisco Noguera

Great Minds Never Think Alike

This is the premise of the Singapore Sessions, a series that brings together experts in different fields to share their views of and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges in years to come.

I stumbled upon the session last Sunday, while flipping through the pages of The New Yorker. A familiar face suddenly replaced the cartoons and poems that usually illustrate the magazine. It was Heather Fleming’s. Her article and those of her co-panelists (Siemens CEO Peter Loescher, Ashoka Founder Bill Drayton, and Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Prof. Thomas L. Magnanti) discussed the opportunities for businesses around innovations in the developing world.

The framing of the topic was similar to that of the recent The Economist Special on innovations in emerging markets; the discussion format similar to that of McKinsey’s What Matters; finally, Heather’s piece on the role of design and Catapult’s approach relates to a deep dive into design and invention-led development recently featured in the fascinating last issue of Innovations, a favorite in NextBillion’s reading list.

I encourage you to poke around the Singapore Sessions. read the articles and comment on the issue of your choice. I also encourage you to reflect for a second on the nature of the sessions for a second: They are impeccably produced and, most importantly, funded by the Singapore Economic Development Board as a means to inform the discussions about the country’s economic growth strategies. When your goal is to be a global hub for everything innovation, and your question how to best inform your policies, a compelling web-based forum might prove much more effective than an expensive, closed three day symposium that starts with lots of long panels and national anthems.