How an innovation panel can help to make changes

I have suggested the formation of an innovation panel to be the catalyst for change in Singapore.

Let me explain the need for this panel and how it can carry out its work.

There are so many things that are wrong in Singapore and have been unattended for decades. The citizens have brought them up many times in the past. Nothing gets done.

Most of these issues were sent by letter to the relevant ministry or published in the newspapers. Many of these issues were ignored. Some of them received replies for the relevant departments.

Usually, the replies were to justify the existing practice. There must be some vested interest that blocked change.

The Ministry of Trade & Industry did form a panel to deal with these issues about 10 years ago. I do not know if this panel still exists.

I have sent many issues to the panel. They were referred to the relevant ministry. I often get a reply justifying why the current practice should stay.

In some cases, there were vague promises of studying the issue further. there was no real follow up. I guessed nobody really bothers.

How can my proposal of a new innovation panel carry out is work differently from the past practice?

a) The full time staff should receive the suggestion from the public. The staff can continue the contributor and have a discussion to understand the issue better. If the issue is not clearly stated, the staff can help the contributor to restate the issue.

b) The issue can be raised with the relevant ministry who has to give a reply within 14 days. The panel staff should reply to the contributor and see if the contributor accepts the reply or wish to pursue it further.

c) If the contributor wishes to pursue the matter further, it goes to a senor staff who will discuss the matter further with the contributor. If the senior staff agrees that the idea is worth pursuing, the issue will be brought to the panel for further discussion.

d) The panel should comprise of people who are innovative and passionate about making changes to improve the current practice. They should also be practical people who can weigh the cost and benefit of the change.

e) If the panel supports the issue, the leader of the panel will engage the minister of the relevant ministry or his deputed assistant. This will receive a high level attention and should override the vested interests that may exist in the ministry.

f) Some of the changes require a budget that is not available to the ministry. A separate budget should be set aside for innovation and change and should be administered by the panel.

This process will require the engagement of many staff and senior staff who will support the work of the panel. We have to accept this additional cost. Change is never easy. It is also important to get the right kind of changes that will improve lives for the people.


Tan Kin Lian



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16 Responses to “How an innovation panel can help to make changes”

  • Flabbergasted:

    you expect this government to take care of you?

    Case in point:

    fish farm was poisoned in 2011, half a million dollars worth of Arowanas were poisoned and killed.

    police came to take few photos, then no further action.

    until today no sound no picture.

    they will only take care of themselves and foreign trash.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Are you JOKING Tan ahhhhh!!! the staff are TRAINED to obey and NOT to Entertain or ask Questions…when ORDERs or POLICIES come from the TOP or even Midway they FOLLOW with their tails wagging and collecting at the end of the month and the year their $$$ PERIOD!!!!

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  • Depend on foreigners:

    Innovation requires Freedom.
    What freedom??

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Change, Innovation and Invention

    Change is a transition of an individuals, a teams and an organisations from a current state to a desired one. The starting point of change is generally known, as well as the destination.

    On the other hand, innovation is about moving from a known status quo to an unknown destination and its focus is to make an organisation responsive to opportunity to develop new ideas, processes or products.

    So change deals with things known to the organisation and is about applying existing knowledge, innovation deals with the unknown and is about exploring new ways.

    As we all know “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Examples; we needed power electricity was invented, we needed lights so light bulb was invented, we want to communicate telephone was invented, etc, etc.

    The problem with this PAP is laziness and greed. Innovation involved changes into the unknown, laziness would not fit into this. Unknown is something greedy people would not like to venture into. To the PAP there is no need for any invention. They also invent laws that keep them in power.

    The problem is this situation has infected the citizen. SG is afraid of change, they are worry of change. They are afraid of the unknown! There is no invention as everything depends on the govt. There is no new ideas because the govt dislike ideas. When the people are smart, PAP is threaten. Remember POFMA.

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  • there is an easier way:

    write directly to the pap minister, with copy to pap chief the clown, and cc the letter to pap newspapers the states times.

    if more urgency is needed, cc the letter also to The Economist magazine and perhaps also to Msian Times and HK Times.

    sure get a reply swiftly and something done quickly. sure one. because pap minister S$m job at stake so die die must do something one.

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  • oxygen:

    THE ONLY WAY LEE-jiapore will survive is – small govt, economic freedom and liberty of individual of all thoughts and enterprise.

    WE FAILED AND FALLING INTO RISKS OF EXTINCTION DECLINE because we are moving in the opposite direction and PAPpypolitics and PAPpynomic is stupidly dictatorial as it is incompetent.


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  • Yee:

    Read more:
    Will Tuvalu Disappear Beneath the Sea? | Science | Smithsonian

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  • On Innovation & Productivity:

    Mr. Tan, have you consulted the EDB mahaguru Philip Yeo? Men of real substance are few these latter days of obscene remunerations.

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  • vincent tan:

    a sincere suggestion,
    dear Editor Tremeritus,
    think it more conducive should
    the article contributor
    Name is “advertise” in the top of written post.
    It greatly facilitate reader time in selection
    Thank You
    An avid Tremeritus supporter

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    S’pore isn’t only an Authoritarian govt but one that dances only to the tune of their own voices, never listening to the private sector nor to their electorate.
    Many people think that China & S’pore are the same but they were sadly mistaken. China politburo liaise deeply with both SOEs & China’s growing private sector for their Industrial Policy. Within 3 decades, China has not only created a Automobile Industry from scratch but also beginning to infiltrate Smartphone technologies including 5G. Domestically, the standards of living has improved by leaps & bounds – high speed rail network within 3 decades; air travel to various Chinese cities & a burgeoning cashless payment mechanism using Smartphones & Q-codes. But of course, China remains an Authoritarian govt but how do one explained their rapid progress & mass prosperity? It’s no secret that Chinese political figures allow the private sector initiatives to prosper without meddling nor imposing much control over them. The result were a proliferation of Chinese Corporate names like AliBaba, Tencent, WeChat, Baidu, etc. These names simply didn’t exist 30 years ago!
    Truth be told – the late LKY was a stubborn control freak obsessed with absolute power! His concept of control involved:
    * creating a Paramount State structure;
    * instilling a Meritocratic Policy to create a bendable, pliable core of Elite Administrators to enforce his vision;
    * installed GLCs as the backbone of S’pore’s Economy & use SWFs as the external wing for dominating foreign investments;
    * craft out CPF as an instrument for accumulating capital for the State’s use & discretion;
    * enacted the compulsory Land Acquisition Act to acquire land cheaply from private hands;
    * enact policies which empower the State to greater level while diminishing citizen’s rights to nothing;
    * use state organs like police, courts & regulatory bodies to do the State’s will as well as revenue generating sources;
    * install psychological means to create a conformist & obedient society – conditioning methods, indoctrination & censorship/banning to block thinking initiatives;
    * construct a pressurized educational mechanism where the real cost of education were shifted onto parents; the kids weren’t really taught to think but configured as “digits” measured through artificial benchmarks like exam marks. The end-products of the system weren’t great thinkers but rather efficient rote-learners & pliable “digits” who could be count on to maintain their Paramount State mechanism;

    - Cont’d -

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    - Cont’d -

    * create an artificial Economic eco-system where scarcity is well-controlled while demand being created, shifted to the highest bidder to achieve huge profits – Crony Capitalism, Price Cartels & profit-&-rent-seeking activities;
    * morphed an economy reliant on manual, menial & human effort type of working Economy to drive this economic mechanism which accrues further wealth to the State & riches to the promoters of this scheme;
    * shifted to an artificial population growth mechanism using foreign imports numbers simply to expand & generate a GDP-growth-at-all-cost to achieve KPIs for own renumeration;
    * resistance to the evolving technological developments because they interfere with the current “Harvesting” process of enriching state coffers & achieving personal wealth;
    * using State-owned land resources to reap riches for the State & “recycling” to ensure everlasting wealth. But paradigm shifts are happening now. Look at HK, the sentiments are turning against the Status Quo. People are rebelling against the political order – disgusted at their indifference to their plight. How can HK’s high property prices co-exists with growing public disaffection with the Status Quo?
    Politics & govts are failing globally – so obvious! Capital, skills & wealth are shifting to places where the govt is less intrusive, less controlling, where people could get to do what they want & at a lower cost.
    LKY’s control-freak mechanism can’t work anymore but PAP is afraid of change. Because they have no understanding of world affairs except for their own entitlements, privileges & benefits.
    They would rather keep to the inherited mechanism simply because there is a bankrupt ideology with the PAP, a thinking void even at the highest level. Look all around you in S’pore, the small of failure is everywhere!

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  • TruBlu:

    *innovation panel*?
    Dont they oredy have had them oredy?!

    So too the GLCs!



    No doubt he was NOT ALL PERFECT- afterall,he was just human- but he did what he must,as a TRUSTED PUBLIC SERVANT LEADER, for THE COMMON GOOD OF ALL(ALL) sgs.

    Maju-lah SG n TRUBLU sgs including those who oredy drop dead or about to drop dead!

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  • Harder Truths:

    Innovation comes from private enterprise and entrepreneurs. it is something needed by society and free markets will develop such products.

    The government employs yes-men and yes-women – they cannot go to the toilet without written instructions on what to do. They have no idea what innovation is.

    Stealing ideas from private citizens doesn’t count (like the local doctor and MINDEF).

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  • BK:

    Mr Tan, respectfully. Everyone talks about innovation. Nothing new.

    But as a voter, I kind of want u to surprise me with some depth. More than what the readers here have. And many here are obviously well read.

    Why is innovation important? Seems a ‘no brainer’. But we need to know the underlying trends and flows of global economy. So innovation does not become an all embracing word, sounds good but devoid of meaning liked meritocracy in Spore.

    The ratio of export over output (trade intensity) has been going down, especially in China. It suggests domestic consumption or/and local/regional supply chain pacing faster than global supply chain.

    Less than 20% of global trade involves chasing low labor costs. >80%, involve knowledge workers,
    infrastructure etc. Digital platforms are driving global services faster than trade. For example, u can make an animation film in India using your original script. Services mean IP protection become paramount.

    New consumption patterns of content rather than goods, new technology liked 5G etc.

    This hullabaloo over tariffs etc, for me, misses the bigger picture of shifting consumption patterns and the emerging new technologies that have already fundamentally changed global trade, Trump or not.

    This is the context of innovation.

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  • Totaleetarianism:

    Singapore has survived without Organically grown Innovation because it’s economy is held up by State Owned Enterprises.

    Singapore uses technologies invented by others.

    It’s totally dependent on others.

    From Durians, to Rambutans, to solar panels to Sand to aeroplanes to ships to fruits and vegetables to cheap products from China to anything.

    What is needed is to make citizens obey the rules of law designed for them.

    No dissent, just full obedience.

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  • 1 Day Teacher Lifelong Father:

    Prior to its WTO accession ….Authorization for the investments was conditioned on technology transfer. International telecom carriers were banned from accessing the market.

    As part of the WTO commitments…Finding a Chinese partner to form a joint venture with, preferably a major carrier is mandatory for a foreign company wishing to access the Chinese market.

    also beginning to infiltrate Smartphone technologies including 5G.

    Examples of technology transfer include Mitsubishi Electric’s MT205 traction motor and ATM9 transformer to CSR Zhuzhou Electric, Hitachi’s YJ92A traction motor and Alstom’s YJ87A Traction motor to CNR Yongji Electric, Siemens’ TSG series pantograph to Zhuzhou Gofront Electric.

    high speed rail network within 3 decade

    with a internal market size like 1.3 billion people, India also created an automotive industry from scratch.

    Within 3 decades, China has not only created a Automobile Industry from scratch

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