Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The task for my other co-curricular activity has finally come to light. I'll be taking 30 kids into NUS during the June hols to participate in the PUS. Yes, the annual week-long JC presentation attended by big shots who want to know how our youth view the upcoming future for themselves and for the nation.

At a briefing session this afternoon, our college got the part of the presentation that generally focuses on how we can:
1) adapt ourselves to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,
2) shape our foreign policy to open up new frontiers of exploration and make new friends along the way (shades of Starfleet!),
3) take advantage of I&E and R&D to keep ourselves relevant and in tune with meeting the needs of tomorrow's markets,
4) keep intact our ties with our traditional values and heritage, and
5) leverage on education to prepare our young for the future.

But the main question for us is to see how traditional businesses can continue to survive and thrive in the new KBE. Yes, the question seems to stereotype our college, considering the old running joke associating us with oil lamps. Whatever.

My problem with the question is that there isn't really any particular business that we can call "traditional." We might associate a product, or a process, or a business model, or even a management model with being "traditional," or some combination of the above; but the business itself either keeps reinventing itself -- it moves with its extremely fickle customer base -- or it dies, plain and simple. So why beat ourselves up over the loss of "traditional" businesses? In the capitalist (open/free) market that we have chosen to deal in, there is no room for sentimentality; only the fittest will survive.

The kids will have to resolve this dilemma, framing their solution within the 5 main points above. They only have 15 minutes to make a presentation and 30 minutes to address questions from the audience to do it in. This task will prove quite... challenging. Especially since I haven't got 30 kids yet and the presentation proposal is due in 9 days or so.

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