Politician calls on Singapore government to make creativity a national priority

MP Janice Koh

MP Janice Koh

A Singaporean politician has called on the government and educators to make creativity a “national priority”.

Talking in parliament, MP Janice Koh said that Singapore’s education was in need of reform to foster what she called – citing IDEO founders Tom and David Kelley – “creative confidence.”

In a speech about the value of creativity, she referenced the award-winning Singaporean film Ilo Ilo, the first film from local director Antony Chen, as an example of what creative confidence can do.

She said: “Sir, we need to view creativity as a national priority. The example of Anthony [Chen] and his team is an inspiration to all Singapore artists. But, the bigger picture here isn’t about film-making. It’s about having the confidence to contribute something original and unique to the world. It’s about what keeps you going. And what keeps you invested in your work when no-one is invested in you.”

She continued: “Tom and David Kelley, the team behind leading innovation and design firm IDEO, they call this ‘creative confidence’ – recognising that we all have the capacity to create change in this world through new ideas, solutions and approaches.”

“These are the kinds of qualities we need as a society and in our people,” she said, “– if we are to remain adaptable and agile as technological innovations bring on the next wave of change to global economies and job markets.”

She then called for deeper reform of Singapore’s education system to better prepare students for an innovation-driven economy.

In this video from Channel NewsAsia, she talks about creativity after three minutes and 20 seconds.

Her speech carried a similar theme to the words of Farrokh Madon, the chief creative officer of Y&R Singapore, who led the jury of the Mediacorp-sponsored Young Creatives Competition last year. He said that Singapore universities were not doing enough to encourage unconventional thinking and a “questioning attitude”.


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