With more than 18 years of experience in commercialisation of new technologies and IP management, Dr Sze leads the IPI team in addressing technology and innovation needs of enterprises from the industry in areas spanning across Infocomm Technology & Electronics, Energy & Environment, Materials & Chemicals, Health & Personal Care, Manufacturing, amongst others.
Prior to IPI, Dr Sze was the Senior Vice President at ETPL (now A*ccelerate), the commercialisation arm of Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). He worked on commercialising new technologies and, being a pioneer, contributed to several best practices in industry-research collaboration, licensing, technology and market intelligence, IP management and strategy, and licensing professional skills and training.
Dr Sze is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP) and a council member of the Executive Committee of the Licensing Executive Society (LES), Singapore. He holds a PhD and a Bachelor of Engineering in Automatic Control & Systems Engineering from the University of Sheffield, UK and received an executive education in Strategic R&D Management at INSEAD, Fontainebleau.
1) What are the most current innovations that had been use in the organisation?
a. For IPI, we are developing an intelligent matching system that leverages Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to improve our search for technologies and partners to accelerate the innovation process of our clients.
b. In our interaction with enterprises across various industry sectors, we are in tune with the emerging technology trends. These days, we see companies looking into current innovations that focus on sustainability (clean and renewable energy, zero carbon and waste); food & nutrition (sustainable alternative sources) and healthcare (self-diagnostic for diseases prevention).These are also the same conference themes that we recently highlighted in our flagship technology brokerage event, Tech Innovation.
2) How IPI can accelerate the innovation process of enterprises through access to its global innovation ecosystem and advisory services during this Pandemic?
a. The pandemic reveals the issue of food security and the need to develop sustainable food sources through urban and intensive farming, alternate proteins, and nutritional crops.
b. IPI works with its global partners which include Israel, Norway and Japan to introduce new solutions and technologies for enterprises to accelerate their innovation development.
c. The Innovation Advisors, are industry veterans from various industry sectors and technology domains who possess strong technology expertise, connections and business acumen. They provide enterprises with technology and business insights to assist them in developing differentiated competencies and their go-to-market strategy to achieve accelerated growth.
3) Walk me through the major changes and improvement in regards of new technologies and IP management that being made so far during Covid-19 pandemic in the organisation.
a. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption in the global supply chain and the healthcare system. In IPI’s Innovation Marketplace, we see demand for new technologies to build resilience in the global supply chain in particular the need for digitalisation to optimise or strengthen logistics flow, manage the imbalance of supply and demand, and addressing new consumer behaviors in the new norm. New technologies are also needed in the healthcare sector to ensure safe management, diagnostics, vaccines and drugs to curb the spread of the variants.
b. As a result of Covid-19, technology adoption and research collaboration has hastened amongst companies in the spirit of open innovation. In order to accelerate new products or services to address the disruption, it has led to greater collaboration and a more flexible approach towards IP management.
4) Tell me about what is the critical component of your work that makes the work challenging?
a. We work with companies across various sectors that are seeking new technologies to accelerate their business growth. As such it is important that we have a keen understanding of the latest technology trends and USP of the technologies that comes into our marketplace.
b. In addition, having the knowledge and experience to explore industries that are of the right fit for potential applications, as well aslook for relevant industry partners that can adopt or co-develop the technology for commercialisation.
5) IPI is an innovation catalyst that creates opportunities for enterprises to grow beyond boundaries, how has the digital manufacturing transformed this sector?
The emergence of technologies like IoT, AI, analytics and digital twin and its applications has the potential to transform the manufacturing sector. These technologies enable the setup of new manufacturing facilities, drive operational efficiency and provide resiliency in the manufacturing value chain. For example, https://www.ipi-singapore.org/tech-offers/174087/unified-iiot-cloud-platform-for-smart-factory-2.html
6) Through IPI multidisciplinary expertise and global network, what are the new trends that we can look forward soon?
a. Powering a sustainable future – electric transportation, clean energy, zero carbon and zero waste.
b. Sustainable food and nutrition – alternative proteins, intensification of farming, waste upcycling.
c. Healthcare in the new norm – More self-test diagnostics and ownership of healthcare condition.
7) How does IPI facilitate and support enterprises' innovation processes, including commercialisation and go-to-market strategies?
To translate a technology into marketor commercialisation, there are many considerations that company should be aware of or to address, e.g., IP protection and rights, regulatory compliance, prototyping, scaling up among others. IPI has a multidisciplinary team with the knowledge and network to accelerate this go-to-market strategies.
a. IPI assists companies to find the relevant technology provider(s) to support their product or service development. This match could lead to collaborations in the form of technology transfer/licensing or R&D partnership.
An example of such a collaboration is the match between market leader in health and wellness products OSIM International and US biometric company NeuroSky toco-develop a stress-sensing feature in the world’s five-senses well-being massage chair. More details: https://www.ipi-singapore.org/success-stories/revolutionising-massage-technologies-with-ai.html
b. In another example from IPI’s Innovation Advisors who are able to guide companies in achieving growth. Dr Rebecca Lian lent her expertise in food science to convert the First Gourmet’s frozen sauces into shelf-stable products—paving the way for the company’s international expansion. More details: https://www.ipi-singapore.org/success-stories/cooking-up-shelf-stable-sauces-for-international-markets.html
8) What are some challenges that you foresee when it comes to sustainability for new technologies and innovation in the future?
As the world drives towards a sustainable future, consumers must play their part to support the introduction of new technologies to address sustainability and be willing to pay more in the short-run so as to invest forward until these innovations are more widely accepted. By doing so, we can encourage the creation of sustainable products and services for the better of our planet instead of expecting to pay the same amount as the existing solutions which are not sustainable.
9) In the modern business world, staying a head of the curve means making sure your technology is efficient and up-to-date, what one litmus test should all business owners perform before investing in a new technology?
A company should ensure there is a paying customer for the new or enhanced product that uses the new technology and not a perceived one. It has to critically review and ensure that the technology that it is adopting supports its overall strategy to create a defensible product. It is important that the technology is not easily replicable and protected by patents.