It’s 2050, and YaoPeng is trying to hail a ride to work. He’s headed to the central business district, where the buildings are built from the ground up within a day – even in Rome. Robotics, 3D printing and software advances have made this possible

Today, such a reality seems crazy, but government must be prepared for the future. To accommodate disruption to industries, governments have to do what “the market itself has no incentive to do”, Aaron Maniam – Director of Industry Division, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) – told GovInsider.

Singapore has announced a US$3.1 billion (S$4.5 billion) scheme in its 2016 Budget, future-proofing its industries against disruption and promoting growth and competitiveness.

The Industry Transformation Maps covers 23 industries, under six broad clusters: Manufacturing; Built Environment; Transport & Logistics; Essential Domestic Services; Professional Services; and Lifestyle.

For instance, in the food and beverage industry, the government plans for a shift in the dining experience to new formats, like vending machines for grab-and-go meals. It is also promoting a higher reliance on digital payments, which will allow staff to focus on more value-adding roles like customer engagement.

“This will mean that the role of an outlet manager could evolve and expand from managing guest services to engineering menus as well as managing productivity improvement within the outlet”, said Tharman Shanmugaratnam – Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies – at the launch of the Food Services Industry Transformation Map in September.

In the field of precision engineering, the government aims to “shift the industry into new growth areas”, such as additive manufacturing and robotics, said Minister S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry at an industry launch in October.

The government plans to prepare companies for the opportunities brought by digital manufacturing, and set up digital factories as a platform for users to trial and co-develop solutions, train and upgrade the workforce in digital manufacturing skills, and allow suppliers to learn the ropes of digital manufacturing, he added.

The government hopes to achieve four outcomes from this: increased innovation to boost competitiveness; open access to global markets; higher work productivity; and to have a workforce with relevant and up-to-date skills.

The Council for Skills, Innovation and Productivity will overlook the full implementation of the Industry Transformation Maps, and appoint six sub-committees to each oversee a cluster of industries.

If Singapore guides its industries the right way, it might just be able to build the city in a day. So much for that outdated adage.

The Singapore Government is gathering feedback from its citizens for its 2017 Budget, from 5 December till 13 January next year. Visit the website to submit your feedback.

Image by Sam Howzit, licensed under CC BY 2.0