Co-create an innovation-enabled future

31 Jul 2017

As digital disruption continues to challenge markets in Asia, businesses need to deliver innovative products and services to meet changing customer needs. Singapore, as the most innovative country in the region, is a natural choice for multinational corporations to further strengthen their innovation capabilities and plan for regional expansion.

Helping organisations in the region to embrace innovation, Capgemini’s recently launched Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) aims to reinvent the customer experience and disrupt its clients’ business model. The innovation lab, its first in Southeast Asia and 10th globally, will focus on developing insights and data analytics, customer experience, artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing.

“Developing these capabilities will help us address the challenges our clients are facing and disrupt their business model to enable the best actions,” said Luc-Francois Salvador, executive chairman and head of Capgemini Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

Leveraging the Smart Nation vision

Singapore’s business environment is of significant relevance because of “a forward-looking mindset on technology and innovation and a thriving start-up scene”, he explained.

For example, Asian private investment group Marvelstone launched the world's largest fintech hub – Lattice80 – in Singapore last November. The hub is meant to support fintech start-ups’ prototype and expansion as well as drive innovation in financial institutions.

By adopting digital technology to bring about effective change, Singapore’s Smart Nation vision has well positioned the city-state to draw on best practices and new insights globally.

Singapore’s reliable infrastructure and business-friendly environment are also pull factors in establishing the AIE here, according to Luc-Francois Salvador. The country’s global exchange network for knowledge transfer and testing will create the desire for more high-skilled individuals to venture out, while its diverse ecosystem of start-ups and academics builds an environment that encourages more nimble and responsive innovation.

Building capabilities through partnerships

Having the AIE here will allow the global consulting firm to access broader and deeper knowledge from the rest of Asia, added Salvador.

Asian innovation has seen continued growth and promise thanks to a mix of specific talent, cutting-edge technologies and government support. The region has recently overtaken Europe to become the second biggest hub of innovation centres globally, according to Capgemini.

Broadening and developing innovation capabilities in Asia will be a concerted effort requiring a mix of tactics.

Salvador noted that one of the focuses of the AIE would be engaging with the most competitive start-ups to create value for Capgemini’s clients across all sectors through innovative projects. To date, the AIE has some 300 start-ups globally in its network that are helping businesses to respond to a changing environment with high-tech solutions.

“Based on the assessment of the appetite in the market, we will assess the feasibility of other openings across the region,” he said.

Improving the customer experience is another focus area for the AIE. Working with Twyst Inc to deliver an immersive retail experience, Capgemini has developed a ‘connected bag’, an Internet of Things device that features a seamless check-out process without the need to queue and scan for purchases. It also tracks consumer profiles in order to present personalised offers.

As part of a new global initiative, Capgemini will also be driving innovation in the financial technology (fintech) sector through the AIE. The firm will engage in collaboration and curation to develop the value propositions of participating companies to match client expectations, bridging the adoption gap between partners and clients.

“Be it generating exceptional customer experience or improving operational efficiencies, fintech innovation is a catalyst to the industry. As the pace of innovation with financial services technology accelerates, Capgemini has developed this initiative to connect clients with fintech innovations and foster agility,” said Thierry Delaporte, group executive board member, Financial Services and Latin America.

Nurturing talent to keep innovation alive

To maintain and encourage the flow of innovative ideas, developing young talent is also one of Capgemini’s priorities in Singapore.

The consultancy’s 12-month Graduate Programme is uniquely geared towards innovation. Graduates will be placed in either the AIE or at a client site to participate in business- and technology-enabled transformation programmes across industries such as financial services, manufacturing and transportation.

Helping businesses grow amid change

With the pace of change accelerating, consumer habits are shifting and their user experiences are constantly being improved. Trends in the digital landscape such as sky-high mobile adoption rates and the rapid emergence of the Internet of Things are also offering fresh opportunities to enhance the customer experience.

“Asian customers have been accustomed to a fast pace of change and regular improvements in their technology-enabled experience. This thriving environment incurs a high cost that has a direct impact on the profitability of companies and newcomers on the market,” Salvador said.

However, such challenges also present new possibilities and platforms for higher growth. Overcoming these hurdles by collaborating with clients on innovation platforms will be a step forward.

The AIE will help companies plan for future transformation of their businesses and address any disruptions that lie ahead, said Salvador. It is also testament to Singapore’s recognition as an innovation hotbed as well as a marketplace for business leaders to seek an innovation-enabled future.