“This is a key moment for disruption. David has become very dangerous to Goliath,” said Wong Joo Seng, finance veteran, and founder and CEO of new forex trading platform Spark Systems. Wong was one of 10 leading innovators and disrupters recently honoured in The Peak magazine’s Power List at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.
Change was the theme of the night, and it was certainly not a one-dimensional one: Aside from crossing demographic boundaries, honourees also hail from various industries. The Peak Power List 2017 includes names like Wong, whose new platform makes trading faster and cheaper; Frank Phuan, who is bringing solar energy to more local residents; and scientist Rosemary Tan, who rolled out the world’s first diagnostic kit that can identify several tropical diseases from a single blood sample.
Despite the far-reaching impact of their work, the stars of the evening were modest about receiving this accolade. “I’m honoured, humbled, grateful and motivated,” said Tan, whose fast and cost-effective medical diagnostic kits have been used in countries such as China and those in South-east Asia.
We pick the Power Listers’ brains at the gala on what the next big waves will bring.
In her welcome address, The Peak editor Jennifer Chen said: “Our honourees are on the forefront of change. They show us a slice of the future – and how we’re going to live, work and play.”
On a humorous note, some honourees shared about how disruption can come about in unexpected ways: During his acceptance speech, social gaming app creator Dinesh Bhatia had the crowd in stitches when he revealed, “I just came from the airport. I was so anxious about getting here on time that I took someone else’s bag my mistake – I certainly disrupted his schedule.” (Not to worry: The luggage was quickly restored to its rightful owner.)
In its fourth year, The Peak Power List recognises movers and shakers in a specific area. Last year, it honoured philanthropists and social entrepreneurs such as Veerappan Swaminathan, co-founder of Sustainable Living Lab. Swaminathan, who was in attendance, mused: “While we celebrate those who ride crest of disruption, we should also think about what can be done to help those left behind in its trough.”
The nomination and selection process was done by The Peak editorial team in consultation with a panel including veteran venture capitalist Soo Boon Koh, managing partner of iGlobe Partners; Professor Wong Poh Kam, director for National University of Singapore Entrepreneurship Centre; biotechnopreneur Steven Fang, co-founder of capital-raising platform CapBridge; and Christopher Lim, digital editor of The Business Times.
In between the unveiling of the honourees, guests enjoyed a four-course dinner as singer-songwriter Sarah Cheng-De Winne serenaded the crowd. But it was perhaps Wong who struck the most positive note of the evening: “The world has always seen disruption. When the world first become industrialised or computerised, there were worries that people would be out of work, but more, and new, jobs were created. Our focus should be on how we can lead the disruption, and find new opportunities and benefit from it.”
Read about the 2017 Peak Power List honourees here.