Young Singaporeans Conference 2008: "Cultivating a Singapore Creative Class"

Following on from the topic of YSC 2006, “Building a Community of Citizens for the 21st Century” where the question of developing a sense of rootedness and purposeful citizenship was discussed, YSC 2008 will look at how we can cultivate a creative class in Singapore. This refers to a core of innovators, designers, artists and other high-skilled knowledge-workers in various fields that will generate economic value and cultural buzz and take Singapore firmly into the next stage of development.

What is the potential behind the idea of cultivating a creative class? In analysis by Chief Executive Officer of Gallup, Jim Clifton, he cites how the United States (US) gross domestic product had been projected 25 years ago to lose its first place ranking behind Japan and Germany but the economists got it wrong. The projections were off by US$ 1 trillion and that was the result of innovation, and the migration of talent to the US. Clifton argues that research suggests that 1000 special American-based star innovators created this unforecasted US$1 trillion. These stars also had great teams behind them. In general, such people migrate to where they are most likely to maximise their entrepreneurial talents and skill. As Clifton puts it, “When they choose your city, you attain the new holy grail of global leadership ?brain gain.”

This conference challenges young Singaporeans to think about what they and the rest of Singapore can do to develop an ecosystem that builds up our own local talent and attracts foreigners with creative and entrepreneurial talents here. How do we make them all ‘choose our city’? Do our efforts to attract talent prejudice the likelihood of the retention of Singapore born and bred talent? What more can we do to ensure that even Singaporeans abroad can contribute to writing the next chapter of our Singapore Story?

Recognising that the government in Singapore has tried to promote innovation and creativity (as demonstrated by the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Arts’ Creative Industries Development Strategy, and the National Framework for Innovation and Enterprise as well as the creation of the National Research Foundation), the conference entitled, “Cultivating a Singapore Creative Class” will explore the issues attending what more can be done, with specific regard to four groups of people or stakeholders in our country:

  • the Government, that sets the social, economic and political framework;
  • citizens, who shape this framework to ensure they have a meaningful place and role in a thriving creative Singapore;
  • civic groups, that often push the boundaries of the possible in terms of the socio-political landscape; and,
  • the business community, that must seek to cultivate and tap the creative class and develop business opportunities around them.

To view Conference Programme, click here.

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Date:
Thursday, 20 November 2008