Monday, June 9, 2008

Connecting the Dots

The title of my blog is inspired by the "Connecting the Dots" speech by Steve Job at the 2005 Stanford University commencement. Being someone with an unusual background and diverse interests, I certainly have many dots to connect. I am part of the overseas ethnic Chinese diaspora -- born in Malaysia, but now a Singapore citizen. I studied physics and electrical engineering/computer science for my BSc's and MSc at MIT, and completed my PhD there in regional planning/industrial policy. I was an entrepreneur, a social activist, and now an active business angel investor and public policy consultant, while holding a day-job at the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a tenured, full professor in both the NUS Business School and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, where I teach and research on both high tech entrepreneurship and innovation strategy/competitiveness policy. I am also the director of the NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, where I spearhead the university's wide range of programs -- incubator, seed funds, mentoring, etc. -- to nurture entrepreneurship among NUS professors and students. I have strong links to the Silicon Valley, having spent sabbatical leaves at U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University, but also the Nordic countries, as well as Korea, Taiwan and China. Notwithstanding my strong intellectual conviction in the positivist scientific world view, I am philosophically a Buddhist, and a learner of Qigong.

In this blog, I will try to share my intellectual journeys in connecting the diverse dots of my own life to arrive at my somewhat unconventional perspectives on various issues, but in particular on how Asia is being transformed by the forces of technological AND social innovation and entrepreneurship, where the technological and social entrepreneurial venturing opportunities will lie (and what I am doing to invest in them), and what the key socio-economic challenges we will need to look out for (and the kind of public policy innovations that I am advocating for Singapore and other Asian states to adopt). Like Steve, I believe that great insights come from the synergy of diverse experiences, and our ability to empathize (from personal experience) is just as important as our ability to conceptualize (from intellectual analysis). I am also a big fan of the Small World, Strength of Weak Ties perspective, and the serendipity of knowledge discovery and innovation (see the book by James Burke).

As I begin my blog journeys, I welcome your comments and look forward to seeing how your dots and mine can begin to connect...

9 comments:

Qing Ru said...

Great to see your blog up, Prof Wong, it is a pleasant read. will pass you any relevant links if I should come across them :)

Praveen said...

Prof Wong, thanks for sending me the link to your blog, I am extremely happy that you decided to start this. I am a great admirer of Steve Jobs and absolutely love this speech. Perhaps we could also have your thoughts on another article by Randy Komisar - "Goodbye Career, Hello Success. Randy is another person I really admire, he touches upon the concept of connecting the dots by saying that we should always walk through a door by being true to our beliefs & values and everytime we do that another door will open. link to the article here - http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp?articleID=R00207&ml_action=get-article&print=true

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