Singapore: World Design Cities


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Brief presentation to enrich the discussion on how Singapore and other Asian cities can reach world design status

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Singapore: World Design Cities

  1. 1. WORLD DESIGN CITIES Ricardo Sosa, Kris L. Wood Engineering Product Development Singapore University of Technology and Design
  2. 2. This paper: • Published studies of innovation, creativity and design • Dialogue with 24 managers in Singapore • Directions along 5 dimensions for Engineering Schools in Asia
  3. 3. Making Singapore a Leading Global City, new Asia’s hub for innovation and creative enterprise: 1. Develop design capabilities in our workforce 2. Grow a critical mass of innovative and creative enterprises 3. Enhance physical infrastructure to increase industry collaboration and design innovation 4. Facilitate new industry collaborations and forge strategic linkages between industry players 5. Establish an accreditation system to raise professional design standards and encourage pro- design practices, as well as a ‘Designed in Singapore’ mark for enterprises
  4. 4. • Global Design Watch: (11th design competitiveness) • ICSID World Design Capital: Seoul, Taipei, etc. • Global Creativity Index: (9th) • Global Entrepreneurship Monitor: (10th “national culture encourages creativity and innovativeness”) Singapore is achieving prominence in the international design stage
  5. 5. 0. Challenging stereotypes and myths • “I have a new definition of creativity, [it] is not just artistic outputs but also learning from failure, perseverance and lots of luck” • “I need to be less kiasu!” • “I realised that I always had a narrow perception of what ‘creativity’ means”
  6. 6. 1. Realising the potential for innovativeness • “As a young nation with no natural resources other than its people, Singapore has had to design its survival and growth from the very start since gaining independence in 1965” • “Food capital of the world, first & only night F1 race in the world, a global hub for water conservation, highest density of millionaires, best public housing and best airport in the world…”
  7. 7. 2. Reframing success and failure • “[In] the famous “Singapore way” success can only be achieved through hard and cautious work. Failure is seen as a stigma” • “Unfortunately, financial reward is frequently used as a benchmark for success in any endeavour in our society” • “The fear of failure inhibits creativity. Failure [needs to be] rebranded”
  8. 8. 3. Transforming education • “Our society needs to look beyond schools and exams. Many parents who are stuck in the education rat race live in fear of the day when their child is posted to a lower education stream” • “Parents continue to measure their children’s performance and abilities based on their exam results”
  9. 9. 4. The role of government • “The government needs to realise that in areas such as creativity, they need to give it space for organic growth to occur” • “The government especially needs to let our identity develop organically and naturally and resist the urge to ‘manufacture’ one for us”
  10. 10. 5. Global and local talent • “Becoming a World Design City is not about importing talent. Only when a critical pool of local talent is nurtured through the social system…”
  11. 11. Recommendations for Engineering Schools • Challenge prevailing definitions of design and creativity in order to reframe and identify local strengths that may be overlooked under imported models. • Redefine indicators (student admission and assessment, faculty hiring and promotion, staff training) to support a variety of views of success, and encourage students, faculty and management to take risks and ‘fail forward’. • Empower change agents to instil design and creativity across disciplines and embed them in next-generation pedagogy and research practices. • Create conditions that foster creative activities but avoid micro-managing them; define flexible internal policies and engage external agencies (accreditation boards, research funding agencies, industry partners). • Support new initiatives of collaboration across departments, disciplines and cultures…