Arthur Fong, who was managing director of 3M Singapore at the time of the writing of this article*, said: “If we develop in Singapore, manufacture here and use the product here, it helps our research staff keep a line of sight to the consumers.”
To that end, commercialisation of research – the ability to take the concept from the lab into the market in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region is front and centre for 3M. A typical example is the 3M water filter, brought to the market in Singapore and then exported to other parts of Asia.
Pouncing on global megatrends to find solutions
For now, 3M is focused on tapping lucrative market opportunities by linking global megatrends with definite research possibilities and eventually product development for the local market.
In a rapidly urbanising Asia, energy efficiency clean water and air are examples of megatrends that offer myriad market opportunities.
Said Fong: “How do people live and organise themselves as well as operate in highly urbanised environments? We look at these megatrends and then decide on the products and solutions that can support those trends.”
For instance, an example of a product suited to densely urban areas are window films. Buildings and cars need adequate sunlight, but it has to be controlled because too much light will affect indoor temperature and increase cooling costs. Recognising this, 3M has developed redirecting films that allow an optimal amount of light to flood spaces.