“Leadership in a Complex World: Disruptive Change in Everyday Life.”
The advent of disruptive technologies had been, and continues to be, a topic of great interest all over Asia, and indeed the world. Companies like Uber and Airbnb had captured the world’s attention by challenging basic assumptions of how traditional industries worked, and the opportunities for innovation and further disruption seemed endless. Cities all over the world were rushing to distinguish themselves as start-up havens, and venture capital firms entered into the mainstream consciousness.
At their core, disruptive technologies attempt to either define new markets, or to obliterate traditional ones with the use of internet-based services. As in their label “disruptive”, these technologies represent threats as much as they do opportunity. AUS 2017 hoped to uncover the problems and potentials associated with these in a manner that made them relatable to undergraduates. In examining six aspects of everyday life (consume, communicate, work, play, learn, and eat), participants were exposed to the great variety of disruptive innovations that have arisen in Asia, that had the potential to change even fundamental ways of life. We then invited our participants to apply the learning they had gained from their experiences in our host universities, as well as in Singapore, and produce innovative solutions for problems they had observed in their own communities.
Hindu College, University of Delhi
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Incheon National University
Nanyang Technological University
Singapore Institute of Technology
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City
In AUS 2017, AUS had the great honour of doubling our participant base. Not only did this greatly improve the diversity of participants, but it also allowed for more ideas to emerge from the conference. Over the course of the Singapore leg of AUS 2017, the undergraduates participated in a rigorous 6-day programme. Speakers from some of Singapore’s biggest supporters of the local start-up scene, from DBS Bank to Singtel, to local start-ups like OBike were invited to share their relevant experiences with participants. AUS participants were also granted special access to start-up incubator spaces, such as the Singtel Innovation Centre, and to exhibitions organised around the theme of technological futurism at the Art Science Museum.
As per the traditional dual-track focus of AUS, participants in the 2017 leg were also exposed to the Design Thinking Framework to complement their reflections on the Summit Theme. The skills track for 2017 was especially relevant to the general topic of start-ups and technological innovation, as it instils a user-centric mindset in practitioners of the framework. These synergistic interactions between the theme and skills tract for 2017 ultimately yielded a great deal of ingenuity. The ideas that had emerged from the conference have since been consolidated in a central repository, AUS’ first iteration of the Ideas Springboard. Over the course of the Summit, the AUS batch of 2017 had gained a better understanding of the biggest technological and economic challenge yet to the 21st Century, and in trying their own hands at developing ideas for enterprises, they completed their AUS journey inspired, and better-equipped to seize the future of the region for themselves.