What should Taiwan's industry leaders be doing?

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The photo shows Xinyi District, which is the seat of the Taipei City Government and includes Taipei 101, Taipei International Convention Center, Taipe

The photo shows Xinyi District, which is the seat of the Taipei City Government and includes Taipei 101, Taipei International Convention Center, Taipe

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” The quote from American anthropologist Margaret Mead has been popularly used.

The debate has remained whether the very few industry leaders in Taiwan should shoulder responsibility to flip every industry, while the discussions focus more on economic growth and production sides, and less on the environment and on other issues of social justice.

Facing ongoing challenges from the environment and from a more diverse society, the ambition to flip industry should take several issues into consideration, including environment and ecology, living conditions for residents, economy and production, and human lives.

“Ecology, living condition, production, and life,” are indispensable to each other. With that, I have a new definition of “flipping industry.”

Valuation: Keep your eyes on the future, and on what is in front of you

Taiwan’s economy took off after the 1950s, with companies valuing their profits over environmental impact, and such a mindset has continued to dominate society for a long time, leading to a deteriorating quality of life in Taiwan.

Now, it’s about time to flip that mindset too. Businesses should value the environment and living conditions for residents, seeking a sustainable future to genuinely benefit people.

An industry leader should be a positive role model for his peers, especially in following leading sectors, such as medicine and healthcare for example. They should flip the mindset to value national health over profit, and mark a milestone in the age.

Japanese food giant Kikkoman told Brain Magazine that “the company will do whatever is meaningful to the Japanese food industry” when receiving an award that recognizes its cultural contributions from Japan’s Ministry of Education and Culture. And the remark displays the evidence of excellence as an industry leader.

Idealization: Seeking the dream of the age

The mindset of “flipping industry” should transcend geographical boundaries and connect to the world, including Germany, the United States, New Zealand and Australia, and our neighbor Japan, with a far-reaching vision.

For example, resource-rich New Zealand and Australia together are about the same size as North America, while their population only amounts to approximately 22 million. Taiwan should think strategically of how to tap into their resources and add value to it. Taiwanese industry leaders can also think about how they can leverage the high technology from Northern European countries.

If you take Taiwan as the center of the map of the world and drag lines to the northwest and to the southeast across the Equator to form the shape of an upside-down triangle, could Taiwan become a new Golden Triangle?

Companies from global economic giants Germany and Japan prefer a partnership with Taiwanese companies for machines, services and know-how, as Taiwanese companies have been known for achieving good quality with less cost and time.

“Vision blesses, while persistence flourishes.” Taiwanese businesses should re-seek their soul, with their originality to shine. It’s times for industry leaders to awake and be shepherds.

Brain Wu (Wu Chin-sheng), Brain Magazine publisher

Translated by Taiwan News editor Sophia Yang