Summary: While companies emphasize the value of innovation, the truth is that many companies have, consciously or unconsciously, put up barriers to innovation. These could exist within the structure of the organisation, the mindset of its leaders and managers or within the culture itself. The starting point for any company that wishes to foster innovation and creativity should be to recognise these barriers. Many Singaporean companies face challenges in adopting an innovative culture to the overarching influence of Confucian teachings and adherence to obedience, respect for authority, hierarchical structures and insistence on conformity, all of which seem to go against what are generally thought to be the catalysts for innovation — namely, an open culture where exchange of ideas are encouraged, individuality, and diversity which brings about different perspectives. The aversion to and fear of failure could be another barrier to innovation. It has been documented that the willingness to take risks is a prerequisite for an innovative culture, which of course will challenge Singaporean preferences for predictability and order.
Opinion: I feel that currently Singapore has not reach the stage of being a fertile soil for creativity. This is because many companies and organisations still follow very traditional and rigid style of management. This reduces the amount of daring breakthroughs by lower employees who feel that their opinion will not be taken into consideration and they are also afraid of offending their bosses if their ideas are too out-of-the-world. Singaporeans have also been taught from a young age that it is better to be safe than sorry, thus they rather follow methods taught to them which guarantees their 'safety'. Hence, they are unwilling to try out new methods or be innovative.
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