The Asian Entrepreneur speaks to Jack Sim, the founder of World Toilet Organisation and BoP Hub on the two things in this world he would like to change. Jack started the Restroom Association of Singapore in 1998, WTO in 2001 and the BOP HUB in 2011.
If you could pick two things to change in this world, what would they be and why?
That everyone on Earth has a safe clean toilet anywhere anytime they need to use one; and the we can end poverty within the next 30 years. With all the technology, money and talent available, it can certainly be done if we create a movement of collaborative integrated delivery where everyone plays a role that he or she does best.
Do you think education or the support of your government is more important in the entrepreneurial process?
Our current educational system tries to teach what is correct and reward correct answers. This is very stifling. We need to create learning of : Collaboration across networks and leading by influence; Initiatives and Entrepreneurialism; Curiosity and Imagination; Agility and Adaptivity; and Human Values like Empathy, Compassion, Humility, etc. When we are too focus on creating winners, we end up creating an enormous group who feels they are losers. I just spent 3 full days at Singularity University at Silicon Valley. I think the government can certainly support bringing this university to Singapore. The culture of openly supporting each other is simply amazing. After the day class, students stayed at night teaching each other till 2 a.m. and start the next morning at 8.30 a.m. again. The way people wants to help each other is a culture that is counter-intuitive here. But this is what is needed for the future world because none of us is better than all of us.
Do you have any inspirational entrepreneurs in mind?
I think inspirational entrepreneurs are product or inspirational nurturing environment. We need to stop protecting our kids or expecting them to be correct all the time. We need them to experiment with all kind of ideas, and tinker them with their hands and connect the meaning of their work to their hearts. We need to bring back human values into entrepreneurship. Capitalism which used to be liberating people from poverty is now creating great division of rich and poor. The 99% will soon demand a new world order that involves them otherwise this inequity will come to a violent ending just as we witness in Arab Spring and many early warnings today.
Making money is not the end mission of entrepreneurs. Making a meaningful life is. If we all come with nothing and leaves with nothing to this planet, we have to ask ourselves what was the purpose of our visit to this planet?