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Monday, December 13, 2010

On creativity - a Singapore perspective

On a recent visit to Singapore I was browsing the Sunday papers and came upon this quote from Ngiam Tong Dow, who was closely involved in the development of the dynamic Singaporean economy for 40 years.

One quote stood out on creativity that I wanted to save and share.
"When a Chinese boy goes home after school, his mother asks him 'What did you learn from your teacher today?'
But when an American boy goes home after school his mother asks ' How many questions did you ask your teacher today'

He goes on to say ' Which boy do you think will grow up to be more creative? I think that in the contest for intellectual hegemony the Americans will win. Because the Chinese (tend) to think within the box. The American's are more open, they are encourage to think outside the box."

It is a bit broad brush and stereotypical, but I was reminded of that old quote that if you keep doing what you always have done you shouldn't be surprised that you get the same or worse results. The technology and the speed of its impact mean that the old dogmas of the quiet past are probably inefficient today.

30 years ago when I started work £1 million of output was produced by 100 people but today it can be delivered by 50 people. also the life of skills effectiveness is also being cut

So the only way to grow is by skilling up and constantly reviewing and improving our skills base, but also to improve creativity and innovation to enable organisations to not only merely to survive but also to grow in the world of increased competition.

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