Fiona Caulfield talks to


Fiona Caulfield, CEO, Hardy Bays Consulting, shares her view on the increasing appetite for risk in Asia and the growing confidence in the region.

Fiona Caulfield Transcript.
3.43 mins

Think about bravery, that comes with a risk. And in Asia there’s this tension around risk. In some ways it’s seen as risk averse and won’t try things, yet when you look at the change over the last decade, we’re talking about the Asian century and the confidence in the economy.

You look at the GDP in India and China, it comes with a lot of confidence. A lot of companies are making major investments, highly leveraged investments. We’ve seen power company buy coal mines. It’s not necessarily the same level of expertise, really major loans and it’s a v risky enterprise. But there’s a confidence that comes with this economic strength. And I think certainly what’s going on in the Indian context. It was just listed as the second most confident country in the world after Saudi Arabia. So India’s confidence has sky rocketed. It’s gone from being a third world country, to world class. All companies are talking world class – I’m a world class airline, coffee chain, a world class software company.

I think what we’re going to start seeing in the next decade, is Best in World. If you start looking now, Blomberg Business Week’s Most Innovative list, more companies in the top 25 came from Asia than not. For the first time since they’ve done that list, Asia’s percentage was higher. We’re in the Asian Century, the economics are all in Asia’s back pocket, if you like. It’s going Asia’s way. You’ll see that risk aversion minimize. What it requires is creative thinking, more than ever before. It’s going to need everyone in an organisation to challenge the traditional hierarchy, to have ideas, to encourage youth. Have a look at the guys who did Facebook and Google, and have a look at that young energy. Certainly India’s demographics and its intelligence come together. They’ve got every reason to be confident about where they’re looking in the next decade or two.

To produce the kind of leaders and creative thinkers that we need, will the education systems in India and China change. I think the answer is yes. I think what you’ve seen with India, you’ve seen a lot of the best talent be educated outside India, and then come back. I think that will change. It’s been easier for Indians to get educated overseas than India because of the numbers. To get into an IIT or an IIM was almost impossible.

We talk about India’s most successful export is talent – Indian CEOs. Have a look around the world and some of the best performing company and the most innovative, they have a very high percentage of Indians in senior positions. The Indian population is super bright and nothing is going to get in the way of that. You’ll have a creative, innovative product coming out of India, and my guess is all through Asia.

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