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Should our next Chief Executive of Hong Kong be an Innovator?

Hong Kong has another opportunity to elect, and put in place, the next Chief Executive (CE) for the Government in 2017, and chances are, we will get this wrong again. Is there some semblance of truth in this statement, that "we really deserve the leader we have?" Or should we just forget about this person and the influence he or she wields, and get on with life ourselves? What sort of competencies should we seek in our next CE? For me, the definitive answer is we need an innovator.

Here's my top seven competencies for an innovator:

  1. . Be a leader who can find and leverage others to do great work. We need someone who can set a vision and marshal the troops to battle on a vision to change Hong Kong. We don't need another administrator, as that's yesterday's world of bureaucracy.

  2. Embrace diversity. Hong Kong is increasingly multi-racial and multi-cultural. Anyone who can dine with the homeless and stand with kings will get my vote. We don't need a king or queen, but believe Hongkongers are the true kings and queens. We are in the Age of Open Innovation, and be reliant of just home-grown talent is no longer good enough. Reach into Shenzhen.

  3. Invest in our young, our old, and our weak. We need someone who is willing to spend on nurturing leaders, invest in Smart aged homes, and not afraid to show some grace. This economy has one of the highest Gini Coefficients in the world, and ripe for a revolution. There are simply too many have-not's while at the same time, there are simply too many barriers to opportunities. For example, without Estate Tax, rich families continue to get richer. Is it still fair? Tougher questions will need to be asked.

  4. Energise our Civil Service. Once the pride of Hong Kong and many governments, our civil service administration has now become an excuse, and to many, represents everything that cannot be changed. This cannot be. They are some of our best workers and I refuse to believe this is the best government we can have. Let's not forget these are some of the best paid civil servants in the world. This leader has to let loose this sleeping dragon.

  5. Be Bold and Willing to Experiment. We need a leader who can step out and experiment, encourage rapid prototyping and encourage our industries to experiment. No one knows what the future holds. Our new CE needs to help not only our start-ups but our SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) to innovate and help them prepare for digital commerce. Let's not forget they employ 50% of our workers.

  6. Love Hong Kong, and China. Someone who is wiling to live here, and help others to live and work well in Hong Kong. Someone who respects China and is mindful of our history, but not a prisoner of tradition.

  7. Be Awakened. Someone who understands and is cognitive of Hong Kong's predicaments and opportunities. If Israel has the foresight and the know-how to feed its own population with sufficient amount of water, why can't we? Living and working in Hong Kong for the majority of the population will be hard in the next few years. Does she or he know this?

Having watched this great city fell from grace, from a city with the can-do spirit who gave us the Octopus Card, to a city with status quo leaders who hide behind past glories and yesteryears' triumphs, I find myself increasingly introspective. Where have we gone wrong? I believe we have gone wrong because we have expected less from our leaders. We deserve the leaders that we have.

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