Boardroom briefing: a lesson from Dyson, the importance of hobbies and world’s most competitive countries


How to end a project gracefully, getting a hobby to increase productivity, and a quick look at the Global Competitiveness Report 2019. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

A business lesson from Dyson

Dyson’s electric car prototype. Credit: Dyson

Even the most successful businesses have to learn when to quit. British entrepreneur James Dyson announced last week in an email to his staff that the time had come to terminate the company’s electric car project. The project wasn’t in its early stages, in fact, Dyson had hired about 600 professionals to work on it and there was talk about building a manufacturing plant in Singapore. So, what went wrong?

‘The Dyson automotive team has developed a fantastic car: they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies,’ he wrote. ‘However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply cannot make it commercially viable. We have been through a serious process to find a buyer for the project which has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so far.’

A shame, given the circumstances. Dyson acknowledged this is not a failure and said it’s time to focus on projects that will make a profit. He has committed to finding roles in Dyson for as many people as possible and the company will concentrate on the ‘formidable task of manufacturing solid-state batteries and other technologies such as vision systems, robotics, machine learning and AI.’

Get a new hobby

Tupira surf beach

Want to improve your productivity? Get a hobby. With recent research suggesting that over 20 per cent of full-time employees report feeling burned out at work and the World Health Organisation (WH0) adding burnout to its International Classification of Diseases, finding an antidote to it has become increasingly important.

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And one of the best antidotes to stress and burnout is a hobby, an activity that you enjoy just for the sake of it. These activities can help find inspiration, increase productivity and performance, and boost your mood. Even Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, encourages his team to get a hobby to spend time doing non-work activities. So, next time you are doing something just for fun, don’t feel guilty!

Night view of Singapore Merlion at Marina Bay against Singapore skyline.

The most competitive countries in the world

The World Economic Forum has rated Singapore as the world’s economically most competitive country in its Global Competitiveness Report 2019. Singapore scored 84.8 out of 100 points, with the United States coming in second at 83.7. Other G20 economies in the top 10 included: Japan (6th), Germany (7th) and the United Kingdom (9th).

The Asia-Pacific is rated as the most competitive region in the world, followed closely by Europe and North America. The United States ranked first on the business dynamism pillar, second on innovation capability, and first for finding skilled employees. Papua New Guinea was not amongst the countries covered.


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