Is the economic strategies committee (esc) recommendations old dressed up as just-new – Part 3

February 15, 2017

Q: Do you think leveraging on innovation and creativity is disruptive? And if it is how should it be managed?

A: That’s a very broad question that can be answered from so many different ways – but whatever point you choose to start. I think we can all agree without too much fuss – no endeavor that is bed rocked on innovation and creativity is absolutely safe. Many boats will get rocked. Even those that have anti rocking features. Not only SME’s, the workforce, enterprise stakeholders, policy formulators, ministers, political and corporate class olograchies – they will all experience some measure discomfort as implicit within the words innovation and creativity involves change and change if you think about it can mean power and politics shifts. That will always be scary and even at times unnatural for some categories of interest groups who are too invested in the status quo.

Robots replacing humans is a big issue with unions all round the world. Just like how downloadable apps have changed the way people commute and buy stuff. And all that will have a domino effect – like how shopping Malls are slowing shuttering because it all diminishes the allure of physical consumerism.

In summary some change will proceed smoothly others will be convulsed and even violent – I see all this as a very natural dynamic that accompanies change.

The way I see it – there needs to be balance and a sense of scale and perspective – that I feel is missing from Singapore.

We speak about the need to change the way to work…attitudes, approaches, mindsets and at times even philosophies. But no one really wants to talk about simple things like having the correct frame of mind to facilitate real and meaningfully change respectfully and thoughtfully.

Sometimes and more so in the case of Singapore officialdom’s relationship with it’s society – political correctness tends to be taken much too far to produce meaninglessness that subtracts rather than adds any value to the process of change.

Silence, acquiescing and parroting the official line is often seen as being a good and sensible team player – to go the other way is to run the risk of being labelled a recalcitrant, autistic or simply one whose out to stir trouble.

I don’t saw this only in the context of the relationship between state and citizenry – but this paranormal mindset, if you allow me to call it that also applies in firms between employee and employer right down to parents and their relationship with their children.

For example. Not every planter or miller likes me. Some do. Others don’t. Why don’t they like me is a function of their belief system that gets regularly challenged when things are done my way – I on the other hand respect their ways, but they must also learn to respect my point of view as well as a landowner so there needs to be a sort of common ground where both parties can stand and look at each other in the eye and be able to laugh at how seriously and how far the other is willing to go just to hold on to a point of view – that to me is how mature minds typically manage themselves and others in the face of conflict – they are able to regard themselves along with their positions less seriously and even laugh at their own idiosyncrasies and thru that sort of live and let live culture exchange ideas honesty.

Asian’s don’t do this well – but Americans and Europeans can. And that is why although they is so many things that doesn’t work in their societies. They’re always at the cutting edge of change – change not only in technology. But even change in fashion to changing a script in a narrative to develop material we may vote with our wallets to regularly entertain ourselves.

So I see the change as really a lifestyle inspired thing – that needs to recruit not only the hard matter of the intellect, but heart and also spiritualism. This of course is not a narrative many people like to talk about – as they will invariably come across a wishy washy. But I don’t have any hang up’s – as I see it that way.

Instead of just allowing one idea from one man or one oligarchy to steamroll over the rest – when we speak about innovation and creativity in the context of business – then you cannot preclude the inclusion of the political sphere as well. It’s really one of the same reality. Many countries have tried to separate the two – take the case of Trump’s travel ban, it’s a political decision. But see how it impacts businesses and most importantly register the nexus between politics and business.

For me I am clear on some points. We should not confuse fear with respect. As criticism if it’s well thought out and argued with facts and not jingoism and propaganda can often be the raw material to leverage on innovation and creativity to carve competitive advantage to enhance the wealth of a nation, firm or people.

Silence or the culture of fear may I admit look as if all’s well and fine – but often it can smolder deep down like peat fire and it’s very very hard to put out.

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