WITH reference to the report, "3 steps to be an innovative nation" (NST, July 6), it appears as though Malaysia's policy makers are missing the point.
The report states: "The first step involves creating an 'ecosystem' that could act as a catalyst for innovation... this could be achieved with the development of human capital that can think critically and creatively."
An ecosystem goes beyond human capital. Pumping money into the development of human capital without addressing needed reforms to the fundamental systems in which people work and innovate is a useless, money-wasting venture.
For example, our public universities are relied on to produce new ideas, innovations and technologies for the development of the nation.
The universities, however, are part of an archaic civil service system that forces academicians -- the main knowledge- and innovation-generating players -- to clock in as if they were working on assembly lines.
If Google had the same policy for its knowledge workers, it would have gone out of business a long time ago.
Our bureaucratic system forces academicians to spend much of their time filling in forms and attending meetings rather than producing knowledge.
I work with talented, capable and patriotic Malaysians who would love to work in an environment that allows them the freedom to think and innovate unfettered.
However, our universities reward obedience to superiors rather than good ideas.
If people are serious about unleashing the innovative potential of Malaysia's human capital, they should start by reforming the system in line with the kind of environment people need to be effective thinkers and producers.
2011/07/07 ABDUL LATEEF KRAUSS ABDULLAH, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor
Source: NST Home Letters to Editor July 7, 2011 Innovation :No room for ideas to flourish