Why creative cross-industry partnerships will fuel the future economy
Singapore’s latest attraction, Jewel Changi Airport, is the latest must-visit destination in the country. The building’s centrepiece is a 40m tall rain vortex which cascades from an oculus in the building’s domed roof, amidst a lush indoor garden. In just a month since its opening, this architectural wonder has already become one of Singapore’s most iconic sights and is hugely popular among tourists and locals alike, who jostle for space to snap a selfie with the waterfall in the background.
What is interesting is that Jewel is the product of a joint development between two companies in vastly different industries, Changi Airport Group and CapitaLand. Both companies are leaders in their respective industries of aviation and real estate and in collaborating on Jewel, they have created a destination that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is very clear that Jewel is more than a regular mall – it has also become a destination for travellers and locals and will contribute positively to the country’s image abroad.
This is not a one-off occurrence. Cross-industry partnerships are increasingly becoming more popular. In recent times, high-profile partnerships include Haven, the joint healthcare venture between Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JP Morgan and closer to home, Singtel’s partnership with ride hailing service Gojek, where users of both services will get to enjoy exclusive perks.
This trend reflects the larger forces that are shaping the global economy. In a world of digital connectivity, where humans are busier than they ever have been, we have all come to expect more out of the services and companies that we patronise. Take for example the rise of “super apps” like WeChat and Grab, which offer users the convenience of enjoying multiple services within a single application. What many consumers want are easily accessible services that meet their needs across a wide range of categories, meaning that companies who have traditionally specialised in one single field would likely do even better should they start to diversify their offerings. In the case of Grab, which started as a ride hailing service, it has since expanded its services to include e-payments, food delivery and even various discount plans, such as one where users get a wide range of discount coupons for shopping and dining.
One way to come up with out-of-the-box ideas is to forge cross-industry partnerships so that multiple companies – and their customers – can benefit from each others expertise. It may be early days for Jewel but the strong positive reactions to it bodes well for its future longevity. Should it succeed in drawing more travellers transiting through Changi Airport to go out and shop and hopefully return to Singapore for a longer trip, it would certainly have a positive impact on the country’s economy. In the future, as more cross-industry partnerships are forged, we are hopeful of the tremendous potential that such collaborations may unleash for the greater good.