Is Singapore Resilient?on August 28, 2006 at 12:00 am
“Singapore’s Resilient Strategy,” by Stephen DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 25 August 2006, http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/08/singapores_resi.html.
“Singapore Is Not Resilient,” by W.F. Zimmerman, Nimble Books LLC, 25 August 2006, http://www.nimblebooks.com/wordpress/2006/08/25/singapore-is-not-resilient/.
In a recent blog post, Enterra CEO Stephen F. DeAngelis all but said that Singapore is resilient
In other words, Singapore isn’t lamenting that the world is changing and it might be losing jobs that might be going elsewhere; rather, it is actively trying to change its position in the future it sees emerging. That is what a resilient enterprise does. A few years ago, Francis Fukuyama wrote, “Just as the twentieth century was the century of physics … the twenty-first promises to be the century of biology.” ["Second Thoughts: The Last Man in the Bottle," The National Interest, Summer 1999, p. 17] Apparently Singaporean officials see the future in much the same way. The article relates a number of proactive steps that Singapore has made to ensure its place in the emerging world.
No one can doubt that Singapore’s economic miracle has become permanent. Its resilient strategy is positioning Singapore for an emerging future rather than trying to get the country to cling only to those sectors that made it successful in the past, like electronics and finance. It jump started its strategy by importing world-class scientists, building world-class facilities, and ensuring that its standards are as high as any around the globe. It’s a great lesson in resiliency.
Unfortunately for Singapore, it is a classic example of a single point of failure. I respect Steve D. & Enterra, but in the proliferated 21st Century, resilient assets must be distributed assets. Singapore, by definition, isn’t.
Clearly, DeAngelis and Zimmerman are thinking of “resilience” in different ways, and both of them may be right. Just as Thomas Barnett “New Map” was operationalized (defined in terms of numbers and variables), Stephen DeAngelis should operationalize rationality.
Operationalization allows discussions to move forward in ways they otherwise couldn’t. For instance, in a recent thread on Barnett’s website, I was able to show why Tom’s model describes Mexico as “Core” and not “Gap.’ Yet, as far as I know, Steve hasn’t blogged a model that allows one to do the same things with countries that are “Resilient” or “Fragile.”
Enterra should at least create a framework for measuring resilience, like Thomas Barnett did in his book The Pentagon’s New Map. Then we can move this debate forward, and not forever trip over ourselves.