Business Model Innovation Creates, Captures and Delivers Value

The Singapore Innovation & Productivity Conference 2013, held on 25 October 2013 at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, attracted more than 350 participants from the manufacturing sector and wider business community. Themed “Business Model Innovation: Redefining Possibilities”, the conference highlighted how Business Model Innovation can transform companies to capture and deliver value to customers.

Organised by Singapore Innovation & Productivity Institute (SiPi), a centre of excellence of Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), and supported by SPRING Singapore and Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the conference featured local and international expert speakers from academia, consultancy, research and industry.


Guest-of-Honour, Acting Minister for Manpower, Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin (facing front) exchanging ideas with Mr. George Huang, President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation (next to Minister Tan Chuan-Jin) and representatives from SPRING Singapore, WDA and the SMF Council, before the conference



The conference commenced with a welcome address by Mr. George Huang, President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF). “The road ahead for companies is an exciting one filled with abundant opportunities for change, improvement and transformation. I urge you to invest in your own innovation and productivity journey to emerge with a new impregnable set of distinguished core competencies and innovative business model,” said Mr. Huang.

5 VIPs on Stage

Mr. George Huang, President, SMF, sharing on the impact of Business Model Innovation and how SMF practices it to serve the manufacturing sector in Singapore further

5 VIPs on Stage

Guest-of-Honour, Acting Minister for Manpower, Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin, gives a deeper perspective on the local business and economic situation at his opening address


Guest-of-Honour, Acting Minister for Manpower, Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin, proceeded with an opening address. “If we were to continue with the way we used to do things, the business opportunity will be there but I do not think that we are able to transform. This means that we need to move to a more productivity-led growth as compared to a manpower heavy growth. If we are able to jump to the next curve, I think it allows us to move ourselves up in quite significant areas,” shared Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.

The Singapore economy undergoing restructuring to transit into an evolved business landscape, causing companies are tackling the external changes through various innovation and productivity initiatives.

To encourage and recognise these initiatives, SMF Centre for Corporate Learning (CCL) and WDA jointly established the Productivity & Innovation Awards 2013. 20 companies were presented this award at SIPC 2013 following their completion of the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Certified Productivity & Innovation Manager (WSQ CPI Manager) and SME Quality Initiatives to Assist, Nurture and Grow (SME QIANG) training courses.

5 VIPs on Stage

Winners from the CPI Manager Category


5 VIPs on Stage

Winners from the SME QIANG Category

Gold winner from the SME QIANG category, Horsburgh Engineering (F.E.) Pte Ltd, provides end-to-end services in areas such as housekeeping, landscaping and pest control. Through SME QIANG, the company managed to streamline their work processes for cleaning toilets, which have led to a 63 per cent rise in productivity. “With the tightening labour market, we need to look into ways to improve productivity. SME QIANG is the first programme that is applicable to the cleaning industry. This is a programme that companies can look into to help them stay competitive in the market,” shared Ms. Sharon Kee, Director, Horsburgh Engineering (F.E.) Pte Ltd.

Keynote speaker, Mr. Chow Phee Chat, Director – Marketing (Coffee, Beverages & Liquid Drinks), Nestle Singapore, then shared how the company practiced Business Model Innovation (BMI) to capture a new market segment. Nestle Singapore expanded their business to offer drinks in capsules. Famous products include Nespresso and Nescafe Dolce Gusto. This move created new consumer demands as Nestle did not just offer drinks but a whole new lifestyle.

An interactive tour then ensued. Acting Minister Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin visited the exhibitor booths, such as M Metal Pte Ltd and 3D Matters Pte Ltd, to find out more about the latest business products and offerings in the market, as well as to interact with SMEs to understand their business situations.


Group Awardee

Guest-of-Honour, Acting Minister for Manpower, Mr. Tan Chuan-Jin, noting how local companies are coping and learning about their best practices at the exhibition tour

Five experts discussed BMI more in depth after the tour. Presentation topics included how to create customer value using BMI, BMI in the 4th Era of Innovation and Asia’s Innovation Culture.

“It is important to work on a culture strategy as it has a long-term impact in the organisation. Leaders, incentive schemes and targets need to be aligned to the culture for the strategy to be successful. Once implemented, the management then needs to continually monitor the strategy’s progress and make small tweaks to ensure that the effects of the new culture is moving the company forward,” said Ms. Kristine Oustrup, CEO & Creative Director, Business Innovation Culture.

After which, participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas with the speakers over the panel discussion “How Singapore Companies Can Transform with Business Model Innovation?”. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Michael Teng, Assistant Secretary-General, SMF.

Staying true to the theme of the conference, the panel discussion incorporated technology from Pigeonhole, which offers real-time conference Q&A tools for participants to interact with panelists using their mobile phones.


5 VIPs on Stage

Panelists (from L – R) Mr. Scott D. Anthony, Managing Partner, Innosight; Ms. Kristine Oustrup, CEO & Creative Director, Business Innovation Culture; Dr. Michael Teng, Assistant Secretary-General, SMF; Mr. Jeffrey Chua, Senior Partner and Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group; and Mr. Richard Mak, Founder of Zeroes-to-Heroes Board Game

Some participants questioned the need for BMI. “Our SMEs face challenging business models. From Singapore’s roots as an entrepot, many local companies are traders, distributors and agents. In the globalised and internet era, the trader role is becoming marginalized as it is much easier today for buyers to seek out manufacturers directly. In addition, many companies are also dependent on foreign labour due to the low labour costs. With the tightening of manpower policies, companies now face increased costs and manpower shortage. To survive, SMEs need to creatively rethink their processes to create a new competitive edge and to ensure productive use of manpower. This can be done through BMI,” explained Dr. Michael Teng on the business market.

The second panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Calvin Soh, Founder of Ninety-nine Percent, was on “Realising Business Model Innovation: The Right Enablers and Motivations”.

5 VIPs on Stage

Second panel discussion with panelists (from L – R) Mr. Gilbert Tan, CEO, Employment and Employability Institute; Ms. Gwendolyn Regina T, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief,; Mr. Calvin Soh, Founder, Ninety-Nine Percent; Mr. Brendan O’Shaughnessy, Commercial Director, Southeast Asia, Tigerspike; and Mr. Liau Eng Soon, Director, Technology Adoption Programme, A*STAR

One of the most popular questions asked by the audience over Pigeonhole was “We have heard of innovations that are successful. However, what are the failed innovations, and what lessons can we learn from that?”

In response, Mr. Brendan O’Shaughnessy, Commercial Director, Southeast Asia, Tigerspike, said “MySpace was a social network which once created a phenomena. However, it has been overshadowed with the likes of later entrants such as Facebook and Twitter. The key lesson from this is that innovation is a culture. If you stop innovating, you would not merely stand still. You would be left behind.”

“It is important to consider the current market. There was one instance where my friends started a location based messenger. When you are logged on, you can interact with friends who are near your location. The user base for this did not grow fast enough so this idea eventually died off. However, Foursquare then came in and made waves globally. Sometimes, it is not wise to innovate ahead of time,” shared Ms. Gwendolyn Regina T, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief,

The conference ended with positive feedback from participants. “The topic on Business Model Innovation is very interesting and unique. The speakers are knowledgeable and diverse, so it provided a good understanding from a wide intersection of backgrounds and industries. It was great insight in moving companies forward. I will take the learning from this conference and see how to apply it in my business,” concluded Mr. Kimming Yap, Managing Director, Creativeans Pte Ltd.

Advocating BMI, another major BMI initiative that SiPi is embarking on is a national research study on business model innovation later this year. The outcome of the study will help improve productivity innovatively and innovation productively through the use of right business models.

SIPC 2013 organisers would like to thank all supporters and sponsors for their generous support in making this successful event possible.