Reading Room has organised several breakfast talks to raise awareness on various issues pertinent to the digital marketing world. On 10th July, those who got up earlier enough to attend enjoyed a stimulating hour or so. The speakers covered several topics but the overall theme was ‘agility’. Margaret Manning, who heads Reading Room in Singapore, reminded the audience of the enormous changes that had taken place in the world since the growth of digital communications and while we have accepted this revolution, she felt we were now at a tipping point leading to greater changes. “We have to recognise we cannot plan for change. We must embrace change as a constant factor,” said Margaret Manning. She paid tribute to the leadership shown by the British Government under its Governments Digital Service. Companies, large and small, as well as Governments have to be agile to survive and she quoted an example of Reading Room building a UK website in a week to ensure the client stayed one step ahead. Eyung Lim, Senior Consultant from the IDA showed how the Singapore Government was listening to Singaporeans and was developing sites based on this feedback. In many cases, the sites were simplified after monitoring usage. However, a major company must take the credit for being one of the most agile. Amazon makes changes to its website every 11 seconds according to Richard Harshman, Head of ASEAN at Amazon. He says we must embrace uncertainty and change. His presentation was perhaps a little heavy on selling the virtues of Amazon Web Services but nevertheless it did remind us that the cloud and strategic partnerships had enabled companies such as the Four Seasons and Intercontinental Hotels to become more innovative by reducing the cost of failure. Already, locally, Singapore Post, MediaCorp, Mio TV, SPH, Bata and Astro had been working with Amazon Web Services which reduced upfront investment and increased speed.

Even if the coffee at 8am failed to stimulate the people attending, few would have left without feeling the excitement in anticipating the new agile world.