Singapore Airlines launches Digital Innovation Blueprint; inks agreements with A*STAR & NUS

Singapore Airlines launches Digital Innovation Blueprint; inks agreements with A*STAR & NUS

By: 
Benjamin Cher
29/01/18, 01:21 pm

SINGAPORE (Jan 29): Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched its Digital Innovation Blueprint as part of its on-going transformation programme to boost its digital capabilities.

As part of the announcement, SIA unveiled key bilateral partnerships with Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The airline has been building an open innovation culture internally through staff involvement in digital projects and supporting employees through digital training. A digital innovation lab is being set up for staff to work with start-ups, incubators and accelerators.

“Over the last seven years we have made significant steps in implement initiatives to ensure that we continue to meet new challenges in the future. We have been significantly stepping up our investments in the digital side of our business, as an anchor to support our digital growth and improve our customer experience,” said Goh Choon Phong, SIA CEO, in his opening remarks at the launch event on Monday.

“Today we are showing just how serious we are with our vision, which is to be the leading digital airline in the world with our comprehensive digital innovation blueprint,” he adds.

With the launch of the Digital Innovation Blueprint, a master research collaboration agreement (MRCA) has been inked with A*STAR to identify and develop research partnership opportunities in fields such as data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual and augmented reality to boost maintenance efficiency.

“We see this as a strong opportunity to link in public sector research with business enterprise, this is something that will help create a sustainable competitive advantage for our Singapore companies,” comments Tan Sze Wee, executive director, science and engineering research council, A*STAR.

SIA also signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with NUS.

The first MoU with the university’s Business, Computing and Engineering faculties aims to establish and pursue longer-term joint research projects that do not have immediate solutions around themes of digital aviation and travel experience.

Meanwhile, the second MoU with NUS Enterprise is to jointly develop an ecosystem around digital aviation and travel experience, as well as to create and grow start-ups, talents and technology via a joint accelerator programme.

“Leveraging our strong and deep capabilities in data science, analytics, optimisation, cybersecurity and automation, as well as our comprehensive innovation and enterprise networks in Singapore and the region, we hope to open new opportunities for our researchers, students and start-ups to create and commercialise disruptive technologies that could accelerate the digital transformation of Singapore’s aviation sector and redefine the air travel experience,” says Tan Eng Chye, president, NUS.

According to SIA’s Goh, the airline is lowering the bar for its staff to test ideas that could benefit the organisation.

Staff can now submit an idea and get a response from management whether it has been approved to the next stage within a week. If it gets cleared to the next stage, the idea will get $5,000 in funding to procure resources to experiment. Employees will also be given time to work on the idea, and give a presentation on the project to management after four weeks.

“If it sounds promising it will go to the next phase where it will be developed into a [proof-of-concept]. The mindset change here is that as an organisation we must accept that many of [these ideas] will not work, being able to fail fast is important,” says Goh.

“Because of the link-up with NUS Enterprise and the network it has with the start-up community, we can also allow our staff to experiment and co-create with parties outside of SIA. So now the idea generation and solution is no longer within SIA necessarily, the whole community is involved,” he adds. 

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