Duterte administration

[OPINION] Defining creativity, and the PH gov’t’s sorry lack of it

Gelo Gonzales
[OPINION] Defining creativity, and the PH gov’t’s sorry lack of it

Illustration by Guia Abogado

'We need new ideas. We need the president to create a culture where open ideas can be welcomed, without any other agenda from the leaders.'

How do you define creative work? What hours in your work day do you spend on oftentimes unchallenging busywork that doesn’t really keep your mind engaged? 

Creative work is rewarding, satisfying – work hours devoted to that actual creation of something: producing, researching for, and writing an article that truly adds to the body of knowledge of society, makes someone laugh with its witty observations on a certain topic, or influences the way we think, how we understand a subject, or provide new information that enlightens us or aids in how we judge, say, an erring politician, or whether to buy a new version of a smartphone. 

For a writer, that is how I define creative work. Busywork depends on one’s level of expertise, but are generally tasks that you can do without much brain power. It’s bad in the sense that your knowledge is not growing in doing these tasks, and can make you feel disengaged, or “floating” and easily distracted. 

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At one point in the past, the task could’ve been challenging to you, but having done it enough times, it has become routine and unchallenging, and unfun. It’s doubly inefficient for, say, a company, because an unchallenging task for someone more advanced could be assigned to someone less experienced, and who could grow from it and be creatively challenged.

Any employee of any age can benefit from taking on unfamiliar or more challenging tasks that will force the brain once again to be creative. 

The creative person has the responsibility to find ways to make sure that they are doing (mostly) creative work. Employees that are given the time, the space, and of course, the resting hours to devote their time to real creative work instead of busywork will add more greatly to the value of the company. Innovation, no matter the industry, is the lifeblood of progress, whether that is economic growth for the company or training employees with new skills. 

The point of diminishing returns applies to, it seems, mostly everything. Do too much of one task, and at a certain point, you’re working increasingly harder while the returns get increasingly smaller. That’s the point when new ideas should come in, unlocking a potential new value chain for the company, as well as for the employees and, zooming out even further, society. 

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Just look at the Duterte government whose only pandemic solution, it appears, is to create all sorts of variations for lockdowns: ECQs, MCQs, MECQs, what have you. This is a failure of imagination on the part of the government, and you can see the results now: seemingly record-highs in the number of cases every day. 

I didn’t hope for this opinion piece to be political, but it pains me that the government currently is full of yes men – Duque, Harry Roque, Bong Go, among others – that do not have the balls to tell the president, or to have the humility to accept, that the lockdowns are not working. The situation has changed enough – people exhausted from all these uncreative lockdown ideas – that simple lockdowns, as they are currently implemented, just don’t cut it anymore. We need new ideas. We need the president to create a culture where open ideas can be welcomed, without any other agenda from the leaders. Duterte is too stubborn though, too protected to fear the people’s wrath – a people that he has locked in an aquarium of fear – too set in his strict militaristic ways, and too defeatist to even acknowledge that it’s new ideas that will save us, and not just simple hunkering down. 

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There had been use for hunkering down in the past, of course, but someone has to do the creative work to actually think of something to synergize with that. People deserve real creative solutions. People need real creative solutions or the deaths will continue to rise. We’re not getting these creative solutions because Duterte’s creative legacy is the creation of a society where the tiniest bit of dissent gets its throat slit, literally and figuratively. 

In many ways, Duterte is deathly scared of ideas because it challenges the status quo they’ve established, and trying to establish further. And that’s why we have a pandemic situation that’s bereft of any real good ideas. 

Eat your pie, President Duterte. – Rappler.com

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.