Building a Culture of Creativity

Article excerpt

THE need to embrace a culture of creativity (that was the theme of the two-day conference of the Foundation for Continuing Education or FORCE) became even more urgent after the Asian Institute of Management came out with the years study on competitiveness. You guessed it! Our rating was second to the lowest at 51 percent which was down from the last rating of 48 percent.

How did this happen? I would venture that the quality of our present human resources has much to do with this. This was further reinforced by one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Federico Macaranas, who is in fact a key member of the global competitiveness study group. At this time when we are facing stiff competition even within the region, we should not just be satisfied with our present level of skills and literacy. I suspect that we have become lackadaisical, knowing that a majority of our workforce speaks English and that we have at some time or another provided the training ground for many of Asian professionals. But that was several decades ago and now, it comes as a shock that many of the countries which have been sending their human resources to train here have outpaced us in competitiveness.

This is why the recent conference on creativity and the papers presented are so relevant today as they analyzed the nature of what may be the missing element in our curricula, teaching and program strategies, media materials. This is the essence of creativity or innovation, critical thinking, "ideational fluency", and originality. I suppose this is also true for our government and business plans, investment and marketing strategies. Creativity, in its simplest definition is the ability to bring something new or original into being. It is marked by the power to create or bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill.

The conference brought together scholars and practitioners from various disciplines, government and educational planners, management, science and technology, educational psychologists, communication, community development specialists who explored the topic of building creativity and innovation in their specific spheres. Experiences were shared from which we can now draw new theories and strategies for action programs.

More and more we are beginning to recognize that our culture and present environment has not been conducive to the development of creative ideas and inventions. …