The future is innovation economy, but our workers are not ready for it

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By: Ben Matchap

I worry about the future of our nation. Productivity is at an all time low despite Singaporeans clocking in the longest working hours in the world, and yet our government can accuse us of not “being hungry enough”. The key is not working hard but rather working smart.

When you pay employees according to hours worked instead of work done you just end up with many employees pretending to do work one hour before they clock off because leaving the office earlier is a sin. It will also just teach employees to do their work slowly because they get no props for finishing it faster. After all, it is not like they can leave any earlier.

Singaporeans can work hard, but we aren’t very good at working smart. Which begs the question – in a country full of hard workers how can we even dream of being a smart nation?

We need people to come up with new ways of doing things not just doing the same thing more. But do we reward people for being smart? We use smart as an insult, like every kid in class told to sit down shut and and not to act smart, not be be a smart Alex or you think you very smart ah?

This isn’t your score will in exams smart it’s your out of the box thinking smart that while we pay lip service to so much, we shut it down whenever we come across it. How can we dream of having an innovation economy that would be driven by critical thinking when our governments reflex response to criticism is defamation suit. I worry for our future.

An innovation economy will need critical thinking to fuel it, this means being able to identify problems, accept them and solve them. However our government has proven that singapore is not a very safe place for questioning anything.

Speaking out you could lose your job, get your house raided, or even get sued. Singapore needs to adapt and change fast in order to ride out and survive the current economic slump. However, I see singapore facing a direction which is totally wrong and running head first into disaster.