Innovation, flair and creativity the stylish steps to success
INNOVATION is "almost beaten out" of schoolchildren and the workforce, a leading Irish-based academic has warned.
Damini Kumar, the inventor responsible for the first non-drip teapot spout and voted one of Cosmopolitan magazine's Top 100 Women, was critical of the failure of the learning system to nurture creativeness.
But Ms Kumar, a NUI Maynooth lecturer who specialises in design and creativity, also insisted there has been no slump in standards among college graduates, despite recent concerns raised by multinational bosses.
Her comments came just a day after the Government's innovation taskforce recommended the introduction of bonus points for Leaving Cert higher-level maths, in a bid to generate hi-tech jobs.
"You need to bring practical elements to every subject, even with the problem we are facing in Ireland with maths. If you made maths quite fun, quite practical, you would actually view maths in a totally different way," she said.
Ms Kumar, who was last year chosen as a European Commission Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation, highlighted the importance of a 'whole-brained' education system similar to Scandinavian countries.
"We are actually, I believe, born with creativity. Through the education system, through our work lives, it is almost beaten out of us and we don't use it to the point where we don't realise we have it any more," she told Microsoft employees in Sandyford, Dublin, in a talk about innovation and creativity.
She said the Government was taking a "serious" approach to job creation but still far more could be done.
Ms Kumar said the Innovation Task Force report launched on Thursday would help set the correct agenda -- but there was a need for much more collaboration between universities and industry.
Meanwhile, up-and-coming shoe designer Nina Divito spoke of her determination to succeed despite the recession.
The Dublin-born designer, who has Italian roots, has failed to buy in to the current trend of doom and gloom. Her next high-end collection will boast towering heels, jewelled plumage and luxurious leather.
At the Microsoft innovation talk, she described her journey since studying fine art in Dun Laoghaire 10 years ago.
She faced difficulties in trying to break into the luxury shoe market dominated by the likes of Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik.
And she told the audience she had been struck down by the debilitating Opsoclonus Myoclonus syndrome (OMS).
She still managed to display for buyers at the Paris Fashion week and launched her collection -- even as the illness at one stage left her unable to walk.