Thursday, March 8, 2007

Story of The RISIS Orchid (part 1)

Dr. Lee Kum Tatt is the Creator of the RISIS Gold Orchid – “Singapore’s Gift to the World”. Stories have been written on how the RISIS orchid came about by academics, journalists, and local T.V. programs over the last 30 years. Questions are still being asked on how did the RISIS orchid became such a hit? Here is Part I from the horse’s mouth on how a fantasy is turned into a reality.

Tan Kin Lian


The RISIS Story - PART I - The Power of Inspiration

In the 1960’s Singapore discovered that it did not have a gift or souvenir that it can call its own. Many attempts were made by many people to produce such a souvenir. Many innovative products were produced but none was accepted as original or creative enough to be accepted as a truly Singapore gift or souvenir. The RISIS orchids were launched in April 1976 and it caught Singapore by storm. The public, the tourists and the Government were surprised that such a product could be created without much fanfare.

Unlike other import substitution products available in Singapore then this product was produced from scratch. There was no idea of what product to produce that would satisfy the felt need. There was no technology, market, finance or experienced manpower to do what had to be done. Few knew the challenges some of us have to go through for many years (starting in 1955) before we transformed a fantasy into a reality. Some attributed this success to be a lucky “fluke” of a mad scientist who pursue his whims and fancy to please his girl friend. Whatever it was, it worked!

Many people participated in the development of this product from the exploratory to the development and production stages and then to the financing, promotion and marketing activities that had to be done. Having these people to work together, often on a voluntary basis in the beginning, was quite a challenge. I like to say a big thank you to them all for bringing RISIS to this world. Some will have their own stories to tell from their own perspective.

Do we need a mad scientist to bring something like RISIS to this world? My answer is "no". Follow your gut feel. Have courage, confidence and faith in yourself and your fellow colleagues. Use your inspiration to provide the energy to lead and to pull you through the uncertain times. You will be surprised at what the power of your inspiration can do.

How the orchid was chosen and how a fantasy was turned into a reality will be shown in pictures that follow. How we handled some of the problems associated with this project will be highlighted separately, hopefully to provide confidence to those who like to try to do what we have done. Can we get another lucky fluke to produce another RISIS product? The answer is a definite "yes". It is all up to you. Happy reading and Good Luck!

Lee Kum Tatt.

No comments: