While I was on-call last weekend, there was a pause in activity as the patient got ready for her procedure. As I stood in front of the time-lapse embryoscope (an embryo incubator with videoing capabilities) in the IVF laboratory, I was mesmerised by the morphological changes the embryo had undergone over just the preceding five days… from one cell to two, four, then eight and finally, on day five, hundreds! It struck me then, we are creative geniuses right from the one-cell stage.

I believe every one of us is born with an innovative and creative streak, even though, for some, it may have gradually become stifled over the course of our journey into adulthood. We just have to observe children at play to see this in action. Whether this is through painting of extraordinary worlds, fortresses made of building blocks and furniture or, indeed, the creative potential that unfolds as they seem to intuitively interact with technology, the boundaries of innocent ‘play’ is limited only by the extent of their imagination. As we allow our minds the freedom to explore, innovate and, yes, dream, we can truly start to visualise what we are capable of creating. If we also relish the journey in making those dreams a reality, what could be more rewarding? This is Enterprise.

Enterprise is for everyone. Enterprising ventures exist in all walks of life. Whether this is administration or education, finance or the arts, the institutions, collaborations, consortiums and partnerships enabling innovation are also the supporting pillars for much of the enterprise in healthcare. In medicine, we are supported by every aspects of these industries and our ultimate objective in successfully translating this into our practice is, of course, patient benefit.

Enterprise need not be commercial but I think this is how many people see enterprise. I came across a rather innovative piece in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff where innovative and bold thinking helped reduced administrative burden imposed by ‘stuff’ created by burdensome health systems. For me, this was a perfect example of enterprise.

In other words, enterprise is there to solve a problem, to expand on an interesting idea, to fill a gap in demand, to reduce the financial burden and, most pertinently, to extend and expand on the knowledge we have as a University. This enables us to reach a much wider audience with a deeper impact and influence. In our journey to realise this, we start by taking small steps to achieve big dreams. 

The last point I like to make is on ‘sustainability’. Enterprise must be sustainable. As such, one must take into account our impact on the global and local environment, community, society, economic and political circumstances. If the enterprise created is not sustainable in every sense, it very soon won’t exist. Many may now wonder what to do as their ideas are in their early embryonic stages of development and how to achieve enterprise! I will address the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ in blogs later in the year because I believe, once we know why we want to be enterprising, like the cells being nurtured in the incubator, growth can be exponential. So, until the next time, Ying signing out…

Enterprise must be sustainable. As such, one must take into account our impact on the global and local environment, community, society, economic and political circumstances. If the enterprise created is not sustainable in every sense, it very soon won’t exist. Many may now wonder what to do as their ideas are in their early embryonic stages of development and how to achieve enterprise! I will address the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ in blogs later in the year because I believe, once we know why we want to be enterprising, like the cells being nurtured in the incubator, growth can be exponential. So, until the next time, Ying signing out…

“Enterprise is for everyone” by Professor Ying Cheong

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