Friday 20 June 2014

Is Singapore's Soil Fertile For Creativity By: Sherman Teo

Singapore’s drive for productivity has focused attention on a key component to boosting organisational performance — innovation. While companies espouse the importance of innovation, the truth of the matter is that many companies have, consciously or unconsciously, put up barriers to innovation. Barriers to innovation 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.If we look closer to home, might a case exist for saying that there are inherent characteristics of the Asian culture that makes fostering an innovative spirit that much harder? Some attribute the challenges that Asian — and, indeed, Singapore — companies face 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.

In my opinion, many Asian countries have this mind-set where we must always follow what our bosses say and not oppose. This will then stop creativity as people will start to follow instead of thinking for themselves. We have to stop this following and start a scheme where people in Singapore can learn to be creative again rather than always listening and doing. Therefore, I believe that Singapore does not have fertile soil for creativity.

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