Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

Innovation needs lousy infrastructure?

In Economy on 28/03/2010 at 6:15 am

Noticed that our “nation-building” and “constructive” MSM has gone quiet on innovation when ministers talk bugger-all on the topic? Remember when innovation was the theme, juz recently?

Seriously, given the S’pore’s govt penchant for building state-of-the-art infrastructure, could this be a reason why we have problems in the “innovation space”.

That lousy infrastructure = innovation.

The Economist’s Babbage blogged, “It’s well established that America, on a number of different measures of internet speed, availability and penetration, tends to rank about 15th. Yet YouTube, Twitter and the iTunes store are all American innovations, all from a time when America was already falling behind on speed and access. Which leads me to a question: is it possible that the limitations of America’s internet infrastructure actually spur innovation? The delivery of Flash-encoded video — as on YouTube — is a cleverly efficient use of bandwidth. If America could pipe 100 HD channels into every home, would there have been a YouTube?”

Want more creativity? Let the Dark Side in

In Uncategorized on 06/02/2010 at 5:54 am

The Economic Strategies Committee report repeats almost parrot-like the call for more creativity. Have the committee  (and the government) wondered why we have problems in this field?

Could it be that we are too santisied a society to be creative? I juz read this NYT article on a Chinese hacker and his environment. If he was in S’pore, he would be in jail, and if the US had its way, the key thrown away. But China is different for all kinds of reasons. Some gd, some bad but in the main because China is a big country.

BTW, I explored the issue of the dark side of creativity in a Today article, a few years back. As a link to the article no longer exists, I’ve reproduced parts of it it below.  Hopefully I’ve not broken any law or contract, and if I’ve done so, I hope MediaCorp don’t take legal action etc. But then if they do, then it proves my point about the dark side of creativity being stifled, neh?


[A]rchitect … William Lim said that we need to have chaos to have creativity. .History is on his side. Throughout history, bursts of creativity occur during turbulent times.

“In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed — they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock, ” says the anti-hero in the movie, The Third Man.

In China, there was a flowering of Chinese culture during the Sung Dynasty. It was so weak that it had to acknowledge that its emperors did not have the right to rule China alone. Power was shared with two nomadic dynasties. Then there is Russia after the collapse of communism where fortunes were made by creatively manipulating the system. And China and Taiwan are showing how entrepreneurship and the arts can flourish amid chaos.

This link should not surprise us. Creativity is about the individual using imagination to take advantage of opportunities, and chaos throws up opportunities galore.

Individualism leads to creativity in the arts (Rolling Stones, Doors) and sciences (Watson and Crick, the discoverers of DNA) and entrepreneurship (Bill Gates). But it can also lead to behaviour that the authorities, and decent, law-abiding and moral majority disagrees with. The Rolling Stones and Doors in their younger days took illegal drugs, while Bill Gate’s Microsoft gets sued by governments and competitors regularly.

And an individualistic society has a dark side — people can be less civic minded and responsible. Compare what happened here during the SARS crisis. In Montreal and Taiwan, there were problems in getting people to co-operate, something that Singapore didn’t have.