Go Lean Commentary
Singapore has a public-private initiative to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and jobs. They use public monies to invest in private businesses that can generate future returns. This constitutes a progressive stewardship of a country’s economy; and a fine model for Caribbean empowerment objectives.
The book Go Lean…Caribbean makes similar claims as the news article below, that innovation and economic growth can result from a progressive community ethos. The book defines this “community ethos” as the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of society; dominant assumptions of a people or period.
By Andrew Toh
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A unit of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings is putting its substantial clout behind an app that eases the pain of booking taxis in Singapore and Malaysia, aiming to expand the service in other busy Southeast Asian cities.
Vertex Venture Holdings, a $1.2 billion venture capital firm that focuses on emerging companies and funds in Asia and the United States, said on Tuesday it was leading a group of mostly Malaysian investors putting an unspecified “eight-figure sum” into smartphone app company GrabTaxi.
The app, developed by two Harvard Business School graduates, was launched in Malaysia in 2012 as MyTeksi, and then expanded to Singapore a year later. It also operates in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“We invest in potential champions which have developed new technology platforms or business models,” Vertex Venture CEO Chua Kee Lock told reporters. “We clearly see GrabTaxi as one such champion in the making.”
Booking a taxi is often an arduous task in Singapore, a city state with a population of around 5.4 million and just 28,000 cabs. Many people rely on taxis and public transport, as Singapore is one of the most expensive places in the world to own a private car, but finding a cab during peak hours, and the frequent tropical downpours, is often frustrating.
In other Southeast Asian cities like Manila and Kuala Lumpur, heavy traffic makes finding taxis equally difficult.
GrabTaxi competes in the region with an app from Hong-Kong based company Taxi Hero and Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi app.
In Singapore, it is up against market leader Comfortdelgro Corp, which has its own booking app. GrabTaxi, however, offers commuters a choice from all the taxis that are closest to their location, regardless of which company operates them.
GrabTaxi founder and Chief Executive Anthony Tan said the app was the second most popular in Singapore after Comfortdelgro, and that it had been downloaded on to more than one million mobile devices in Southeast Asia.
He said the company was keen to expand outside Malaysia, because that is where he believed the biggest growth was happening.
“These markets have much bigger population sizes. They’re chewing up smart phones like no tomorrow,” he said. “I think jumping on this type of wave makes all the difference.”
The Vertex Venture-led investment will go into product innovation and building larger local teams to develop and market the app, Tan said. The app would rely on built-in traffic algorithms and feedback from users, he added.
Reuters News Source (Retrieved 04/08/2014) –http://news.yahoo.com/taxi-temasek-firm-backs-southeast-asia-cab-booking-102723508–sector.html
The foregoing news article, about Temasek & GrabTaxi, provides a number of other “fine models” for the Caribbean ethos:
- Regional Taxi Administration – The Go Lean roadmap defines that taxis are the frontline of Caribbean hospitality; there is the need to compel the stakeholders to adapt innovative products & services like the mobile apps in this news article (Page 25).
- Mobile Applications – The Go Lean roadmap defines the mastery of time-&-space as strategic for succeeding in mobile apps development and deployment for the region (Page 35).
The book, Go Lean…Caribbean, serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) over a 5 year period. The book stresses that the current community spirit/ethos must change. What can motivate people to change their values and priorities? Compelling external and internal drivers! The roadmap commences with the statement that the Caribbean is in crisis, and that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”. The region is devastated from external factors: global economic recession, globalization and rapid technology changes. The book then posits that to adapt, there must be a new internal optimization of the region’s strengths. This is defined in Verse XXVII (Page 14) of the Declaration of Interdependence:
Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.
In line with the foregoing article, the Go Lean book details some applicable community ethos, and provides a roadmap to better foster these qualities and their resulting benefits:
• Deferred Gratification (Page 21)
• Governing Principles – Return of Investments (Page 24)
• Help for Entrepreneurship (Page 28)
• Promotion of Intellectual Property (Page 29)
• Impacting Research & Developments (Page 30)
• Bridging the Digital Divide (Page 31)
The roadmap posits that the CU must incubate a Mobile Apps industry, forge entrepreneurial incentives and facilitate the infrastructure upgrades so that innovations can thrive. As related in the foregoing article, these efforts can help a region, in this case the Caribbean, to be a better place to live, work and play. 🙂