Change rewards system to spur innovation: NMP

March 5, 201510:13 am551 views
Change rewards system to spur innovation: NMP
Change rewards system to spur innovation: NMP

SINGAPORE — To spur innovation, the Republic should change the way it rewards people, said Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Kuik Shiao-Yin yesterday.

For example, a diploma holder in the Civil Service who comes up with “daring new ideas” can be rewarded more highly than his colleague, who has a degree but only maintains the status quo. Red tape can also be removed for an entrepreneur trying to pioneer food trucks to circumvent rising rentals. “If we say we want innovation in Singapore, we must be courageous and consistent in rewarding it,” said Ms Kuik, a social entrepreneur.

Her speech earned plaudits from other MPs who thumped their armrests in approval, a day after fellow NMP Chia Yong Yong moved the House with her speech calling on Singaporeans to exercise individual responsibility and not become a burden to others.

Ms Kuik noted that the safer option is always to reward according to familiar performance indicators. “But, if we continue rewarding mere performance, we will create exactly what we hate and get exactly what we reward, which is a nation of performers who just know how to play the old game, rather than innovators who rewrite the rules to create a new game.”

She added: “Schools, for example, are still ranked and rewarded most significantly for academic performance (above) all else. So, we should not be surprised if we still produce teachers, parents and youth who prize mastery of exam technique over mastery of life skills.”

The NMP said the SkillsFuture initiatives could be a potential game-changer, but the support for lifelong learning should go beyond a “safe but limited range” of approved courses. “Who would have known that letting Steve Jobs study calligraphy in his 20s would give him the aesthetic sense that distinguished Apple from every other tech company in the world?”

She added: “Trust the people to decide. Take a risk on us.”

Ms Kuik called for greater inclusivity, noting that “there is no value that speaks louder to this generation of youth than inclusivity”.

“That is why so many young people pay close attention to how the State talks to and treats its weakest, and are so critical of any sign of inconsistency. They take it personally as a sign that, ‘Someday, that could be how the State would talk to and treat me’.”

The NMP lauded the automatic inclusion of needy elderly under the Silver Support Scheme, but urged for more to be done for single mothers.


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