SPH staff pitch ideas on Innovation Day

Singapore Press Holdings held its inaugural Innovation Day on July 4, which is aimed at spurring a more entrepreneurial culture within the 4,000-strong company.
Straits Times reporter Aw Cheng Wei presenting his team's idea to colleagues during SPH's inaugural Innovation Day yesterday. Three teams presented their ideas to an executive panel made up of five members of senior management for the opportunity to
Straits Times reporter Aw Cheng Wei presenting his team's idea to colleagues during SPH's inaugural Innovation Day yesterday. Three teams presented their ideas to an executive panel made up of five members of senior management for the opportunity to develop their concepts and bring them to market.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Teams developed concepts for media business to reach new segments of the public

One team came up with an idea for a reviews site for parents to view recommendations of swim coaches, dentists and tutors for their children. The recommendations will come from friends and strangers, with an indicator for trustworthiness based on whether the user knows the reviewer.

Another team presented a proposal for a virtual subscription box with leisure activities such as yoga, wine-tasting and rock-climbing targeted at millennials. The project also looked into "feeding their minds" with quality career advice and "refreshing their bodies" via sleep pods.

These ideas were among several pitched during Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) inaugural Innovation Day, which is aimed at spurring a more entrepreneurial culture within the 4,000-strong company.

Three teams presented their ideas yesterday to an executive panel made up of five members of senior management, including chief executive Ng Yat Chung and deputy chief executive Anthony Tan, for the opportunity to develop their concepts and bring them to market.

Participants had been tasked to develop ideas for SPH to reach new segments of the public.

The Straits Times crime reporter Aw Cheng Wei, 29, was part of the team behind the reviews site. He said the team learnt that there is a science, method and structure to the innovation process.

The New Paper editor Eugene Wee's team - which is behind the virtual subscription box idea - interviewed 100 millennials in the Central Business District to better understand their motivations and the issues they face in their daily lives.

"Talking to them face-to-face gives us data that is a lot richer than if we got people to fill in surveys. For instance, we learnt that working adults aged 21 to 34 are very driven and preoccupied with getting ahead in their jobs," said Mr Wee.

A total of 95 people auditioned for the 100-day accelerated innovation programme, with 15 making it through to form the three teams.

The programme set out to train a critical mass of SPH's employees in innovation skills such as design thinking, customer-centricity and digital proficiency, as it steps up its transformation into a future-ready organisation. It also sets the blueprint for future innovation training. It was facilitated by SPH's innovation partner Venturetec, a consultancy.

Deputy CEO Tan said: "Innovation is an often-used buzzword, but what it means in SPH's context is to become more customer-focused and develop a deeper understanding of our audiences, so we can offer them more engaging content and products. Our employees are an essential part of our journey to become a tomorrow-ready media business and they are extremely motivated to be part of this exciting transformation."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2018, with the headline 'SPH staff pitch ideas on Innovation Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe