Thursday, 1 October 2009


“The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.” - Havelock Ellis

This morning I started off with an appointment at 8:30 in the City. While there, we felt a slight tremor. This of course was part of the shocks felt throughout the region as a result of the terrible earthquakes in Indonesia that has claimed close to 1,000 lives. This is in the wake of the Samoa earthquake and the horrific floods in the Philippines. The earth is certainly objecting to the horrible things we human are doing to her.

After my appointment I proceeded to Fusionopolis where the conference I am attending is hosted. Fusionopolis, is ground-breaking science and technology powerhouse for Singapore, which brings together, under one roof, research scientists, engineers and technology experts from the public labs of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and those from the private sector. Although their missions differ, these organisations share the common goal of advancing technology to create a better world. To achieve this goal, working teams have to be formed from researchers in the different disciplines housed in the Fusionopolis, including materials science and engineering, data storage, microelectronics, manufacturing technology, high performance computing, and information and communications. Fusionopolis is a point of convergence where companies with capabilities in infocommunications and interactive and digital media come together to test-bed new concepts and products.

The conference I am attending is the Global Social Innovators Forum (GSIF), which is a signature platform of Social Innovation Park (SIP), seeking to bring together a highly trusted community of influential minds from the public, private and social sectors. The aim is to seek opportunities to collaborate and embrace innovations that will define business, government and society. Hopefully the end result will be to build a more inclusive, sustainable and better world.

Last year, the GSIF attracted over 50 speakers and more than 300 delegates from 22 countries, which provided enlightening insights, thereby forging instant bonds and collaborations. This year, the theme is on “Collaborative Innovations: Investing in Team Earth & an Inclusive World”, with focus on collaborative innovations around the 3 ‘P’s – Profits, Planet and People, in ensuring a sustainable earth where the land, air, oceans and people can thrive within the global ecosystem. It will explore sound strategies in business, social, entrepreneurship and innovation in the green to gold movement, to create social, environmental and economic returns for stakeholders.

One of the highlights of the conference was the keynote address by Alvin Toffler of “Future Shock” fame. He and his wife spoke of the need for immediate action on multiple levels so that we ensure that we are able to cope with the crisis that we are experiencing at this stage worldwide. It is already too late in many respects and if we do not do anything to actively resolve many of the environmental issues that we now face, the battle may be lost. Another speaker of note was Robson Walton of Walmart fame. As a multibillionaire he outlined the way that Walmart became greener and demonstrated that being sustainable and environmentally friendly is not completely divorced from being profitable.

One of the best presentations was by staff of Conservation International, represented by Peter A. Seligmann, Chairman of the board and chief executive officer. A very strong message was passed on regarding sustainability, conservation of biodiversity, saving of threatened habitats and species and also the concept of “we > me” – working together in teams for the good of many, rather than the striving of the few to benefit themselves. More information can be got from the group’s website.


  1. Sounds like a really interesting, worthwhile and important gathering of professionals working to 'get the right balance' regarding profitability and environmental issues.

    Tricky to get it all right, when there are so many issues at stake, but, as mentioned re. the earthquakes, the planet has to come first..otherwise in the future, there'll be nothing much actually left to profit from.

  2. That's a great looking building Nic. I hope the conference achieves something. Oftentimes these things are just talkfests with nothing getting done at the end.

  3. Like Julia I am skeptical about such conferences. How effective are they in actually doing something real and measurable. I went to one like that a couple of years ago and it was a patting on the back exercise and nothing more...