15 September 2010

Puppetry Workshops for SE Asia

Let's talk about innovation and the role it plays in our lives!  Is it true that our reliance on technology dampens our creativity and thinking outside the box?

We have been invited to run some pilot paper puppetry workshops at a university in Singapore in October-November this year. The challenge that this particular university is facing, is the lack of innovation in the mindset of the Singaporean culture and the discomfort in students posing questions or speaking up for themselves at university and in the society in general.

During the 80's and 90's the University of Singapore was responsible for creating thousands of engineers, with little latitude for creative risk-taking. They have developed a 'safe' attitude that seems stuck in their "fear of failing or embarrassing themselves". Upper management would like to see this fear overcome, with risk taking, especially in the communication between students themselves and when dealing with faculty. Hopefully this will become part of a healthy learning system.

The development of soft skills in communication is now seen to be paramount, with the country moving away from pure financial services and IT, towards a society rich in nurturing knowledge content. In a generation and a half, Singapore has been successful in surpassing even the USA in it's gross domestic income per capita. In order to remain relevant and economically vibrant, the country is now spending more on research as opposed to training.

We are currently developing a pilot programme, in the use of puppetry to break down the barriers that currently exist;  thus overcoming inhibition and establishing a 'safe' environment for unleashing innovative potential. Stay tuned for more information as the project develops.

As Edward de Bono states, "We need tools of creativity to enable us to change ideas".

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