That was the question that was posed yesterday at the Asiainc Forum’s National Business Conference. The turnout was awesome as can be expected with any Asiainc Forum events, with over 300 participants tucked neatly into the ballroom at the Empire. There were five sessions, each discussing a different perspective of the central theme.
The first session looked at smart strategies for small countries where the importance of branding and what makes up a country brand was discussed. Quite an eye opener to hear about how other countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore have branded themselves successfully. We still need some work in that department I’m afraid… I think we need to start a focused national branding exercise, beginning with looking at what our national brand will be, then GET MEASURED to see what the gaps are that need to be filled in order for us to achieve the brand that we want.
Session two looked at the environmental issues and what Brunei as a small country can do to help protect the environment. It was interesting to note that even in Brunei, where energy cost is heavily subsidized, we can still do our part by using alternative energy sources like solar energy. It remains to be seen however, if the price of solar energy, which is still relatively high now, can be brought down further.
The luncheon address by Mr Tony Tan Caktiong, the founder and chairman of Jollibee Foods Corporation was absolutely inspirational! Tony shared his secret to success with the audience and described how he brought Jollibee from a two branch ice cream parlour in 1975 to the multinational corporation it is today.
After lunch, the discussions then centered around human resources with the theme “Developing Smart People for Smart Countries – How to make the most of limited human resources”. One of the panelists gave an interesting perspective of managing the human resources in a company with a workforce bigger than the total population of Brunei!
The final session was basically a wrap-up of the day with panelists giving their comments and suggestions on what was discussed throughout the day. Dato Timothy Ong, in summing up the day’s discussions talked about the four A’s, i.e. AMBITION, we must have the ambition, AWARENESS, we must be self aware, ALIGNMENT, we must align ourselves to our ambition, and finally ACTION, we must act to achieve our ambition. An apt summary of what we as a nation must do I think…
More about the conference at: