Thai envoy visits Genovasi for design thinking insight

By Jonathan Edward
Kraikruan (left) and Lee (right) on a walkabout of the Genovasi Design Thinking School at Redberry City in Petaling Jaya during the former’s visit. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

PETALING JAYA, Dec 15 — A possible collaboration is being explored between Genovasi Malaysia and the Thai civil service to help improve human resource development in Malaysia's northern neighbour.

During a briefing at the Genovasi Design Thinking School at Redberry City here today, Thailand’s ambassador to Malaysia Damrong Kraikruan expressed strong interest in the programmes offered by the school.

“Typically government officials and civil servants everywhere are constrained by a hierarchical and rigid system, which is perceived as dampening creativity and the flow of ideas.

“It is my hope that introducing such thought processes, new methodologies towards problem solving and giving prominence to empathy, our ability to deliver will be enhanced,” he said.

Kraikruan also expressed interest for coaches from Genovasi to be deployed to Thailand for large scale collaborations in the near future.

“It is something that must be discussed upon my return to Thailand later this month.

“We can organise smaller scale training for our embassy staff and Thai nationals here, but to have an impact, I believe we need to establish a centre in Thailand and scale things up.”

Kraikruan will be promoted to deputy permanent secretary at the Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry and is prominent for his interest in human resource development, having set up an educational centre at the embassy during his time as ambassador.

Accompanying the ambassador for the briefing by Genovasi Malaysia director Yazlin Yang Razlan were seven students from various academic backgrounds including business, international relations and liberal arts.

Yazlin concurred with Kraikruan remarks about the need for new methods to thinking.

“It is important to develop a flexible, non-linear approach to thinking. We do not believe in a rigid case study approach in our modules.

“The idea is to create an empathetic and people centric mindset especially for those in the civil service but of course the application for design thinking goes beyond that,” she said.

Genovasi Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Lee Yew Meng, who was also present, said such an approach was particularly useful in overcoming the cultural limits prevalent in the region.

“Design thinking is about a lot of things but particularly it is about thinking better and realising ones innate potential to deliver creative solutions,” he said.

“The Western mindset is such that children are forced to think for themselves from a young age while in the East we are taught to listen. Both have advantages and disadvantages but we believe in two-way communication to help generate and develop ideas.”

The briefing session concluded with a classroom visit at the learning centre where members of 12 different ministries and agencies were conducting a brainstorming session.

Kraikruan was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of the participants who explained solutions to various problems they had been tasked with.

At the end of the visit, the ambassador presented Lee with a Thai tea set as a token of appreciation, while Lee reciprocated with a copy of the “12 Commandments” that make up Genovasi’s rules for brainstorming and ideation.