EPTL & A*STAR – Tech-Centred to Human-Centred

ETPL & A*STAR – Tech-Centred to Human-Centred
Project Scope

Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL) (now known as A*ccelerate), is the technology commercialization arm of A*Star, Singapore government’s Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR).

ETPL’s mandate is to grow businesses in Singapore and beyond through translating inventions and intellectual capital (from their 21 research institutes) into marketable products, processes and services. However, ETPL struggled to make an impact in the competitive global R&D environment.

ETPL turned to Design Sojourn to help them enable Design Led Innovation within their organization and help them package their technologies into meaningful and commercially successful solutions – to move from a focus on technology innovation to a focus on using technology to address user needs. Thus we embarked on a 2-year journey where ETPL and Design Sojourn collaborated on 3 different projects: Next to the Skin, Intelligent Wellness, Care @ Home, to explore the possibilities of technologies in these contexts.

ETPL & A*STAR – Tech-Centred to Human-Centred

To build a culture of creativity, where Knowledge > Habit > Culture, participants were immersed in activities based on the Design Thinking Methodology:

  • We formed multi-disciplinary teams so that participants previously working in siloed departments get to collaborate and cross-pollination of ideas can occur.
  • Researchers had to get out of their labs to observe real people going about their daily lives and empathize with what they go through.
    • Focus groups with disabled people to understand the challenges they face in daily life.
    • Researchers and scientists roleplaying as elderly to empathize with the struggles they face.
  • Hands-on workshops using the human-centred approach to apply technology solutions.
Some of the concepts generated by the scientists, with visualisation by Design Sojourn:
Final pitching and exhibition at Startup Asia:
ETPL & A*STAR – Tech-Centred to Human-Centred

The results:

  • Over 40 solutions developed (30 in early stage mockups)
  • Close to 200 scientists trained
  • Open innovation with 10 partners (Companies and Non-Profits including P&G, Nestle, Philips, SG Enabled, Home Nursing Foundation, Livewell Collaborative and The Good Life Coop etc.)
  • Featured in events and media (Straits Times, Startup Asia 2014 and TechInnovation 2014)
  • More than 7 spin-off startups

Status: Completed (2012 to 2014)

Competence: Ethnographic Research, Design Thinking Consulting, Design Thinking Mentoring, Experience and Service Design, Design Thinking Workshops

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