Favour Failure to ignite creativity

SINGAPORE is more forgiving of failure these days but it still does not get top marks for encouraging those who have failed to try again, said several MPs.

Yesterday, four of them suggested ways to encourage risk-taking, such as giving greater publicity for those who failed but picked up pieces again, and incentives for risk-taking civil servants.

“It seems we have convinced ourselves that we are too small to risk failure,” said Nominated MP Eunice Olsen.

“But the notion that we cannot afford to fail or take risks is a hurdle in the journey to bigger and better things. Failure is one of the best teachers, “she added, praising investment company ERC Holdings for its work.

ERC works with Economic Development Board to help struggling enterprises turn round by training and guiding their entrepreneurs.

“To me, we fail only we give up on ourselves,” ERC’s chief executive officer Andy Ong told The Strait Times. “ We have to encourage people to keep trying.”

Ms Olsen also told the House that “we should give failure more publicity – from those who have turned it around to those who are still trying”.

Ms Penny Low (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) suggested that the civil service take a leaf out of the book of large French companies.

They assume those who do not make mistakes are the ones who did nothing new.

“Instead of getting a blemish in their record for failed attempts, they get rewarded for taking risks and a blemish for not innovating,” she said.
Mr Wee Siew Kim (Ang Mo Kio GRC) said there should be more room for second chances in education.

Meanwhile, Mr Teo Ser Luck(Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) wants the private sector to take the lead in investing in new ventures, including those with no track record.

“We should not be too quick to jump to conclusions and turn down opportunities, “he said.

“Who would have thought YouTube or Google would be so wildly successful?” he added, referring to the popular video-sharing website and Internet search engine.

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1 March 2007
Source: The Straits Times© Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

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