Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Innovative and Enterprising Ideas at StarHub Business Challenge 2013

From left: Winning team members Calab Jianhui, Ryan Lim, Hansel Ng and Leow Hui Yu
Cast your net across StarHub’s outlets in a few years’ time and you may well catch a couple of fish. In case you were wondering, StarHub is not planning to renounce its business for a fishery. This is just one of the many fascinating concepts that the winning team of the StarHub Business Challenge 2013, Team Redux, presented during the final phase of the business competition, which was held at the School of Business Management (SBM) on 19 July 2013.

The inaugural event is a joint partnership between NYP’s Marketing Services Centre (MSC) and StarHub. The initiative aims to engage youths by providing them with a platform to create ideas to enhance sales in StarHub outlets.  The winning team will stand a chance to walk away with a grand prize of $3,000, and have its ideas realised in a StarHub corner in MSC Studio, or even StarHub shops around Singapore! Of the 30 teams that signed up for the competition, five were selected for the finals.

The judging panel consisted of distinguished guests, Mr Tan Tong Hai, CEO of StarHub and Chairman of NYP’s Board of Governors, Ms Jeannie Ong, StarHub’s Head of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, Mr Henry Heng, NYP’s Deputy Principal (Organisational Excellence) and Senior Director (SBM), and Mr Lee Tong Nge, NYP Director (SBM). Mr Chan Lee Mun, President and CEO of NYP, was also present at the finals of the event, which was held at a seminar room in SBM.

Teams were judged on factors such as the feasibility and differentiation of their ideas. Each group was given 20 minutes to present its concepts. As part of the competition rules, no other team could be present while one team was presenting.

It was a highly intriguing afternoon as teams pitched their concepts. For their presentations, some chose the classic Powerpoint slides, while others had a physical prototype of their products.

The first presentation saw Team Redux announcing its main goal of “Bringing back a different future”. Team Redux gave an interesting overview of the telecomms industry in Singapore and showcased a three-dimensional computerised walkthrough of their proposed StarHub outlet. They also proposed having an interactive wall (powered by a smart projector) that can sense and response to customers’ touch, and a fish tank that contains and displays waterproof phones. I can definitely say that the group was indeed tech-savvy!

The second team, Team Synergy, focused on how StarHub could more effectively target the youth market. The team explained that the youth of today were creative and always connected. With a heavy focus on gaming, Team Synergy went on to discuss how a youth-centric StarHub outlet could include a “Demo play area” whereby customers can “play online games to check connection speeds”.

It also suggested a business partnership with Valve, a major game developing company responsible for hit video games such as the Half-Life and Left 4 Dead franchises. They also proposed that StarHub could sponsor game events where the youth can play video games for free while simultaneously testing StarHub’s Internet speed.  There were definitely some avid gamers in this group.

The third team, Team Unique, started off with a captivating video introduction of its name complete with soothing background music. From the start, it was clear that this group had a unique presentation. Team Unique proposed having a smart lounge equipped with USB charging stations for mobile phones, and partnering up with popular bubble tea chain Gong Cha to create a StarHub café. Similar to Team Redux,
Team Unique developed a model aimed at improving StarHub’s advertising. They dubbed the idea “3D Augmented Advertising”. However, things did not seem to go as planned as the team struggled to scan the QR code it had printed out in order to launch their data. Nevertheless, it managed to salvage the situation by explaining how the model works.
Team Unique explaining their idea of 3D Augmented Advertising
The fourth team was a surprise. Team FABT (For A Better Tomorrow) comprised only two members, whereas the other teams had at least four group members each. FABT advocated the return of StarHub’s Sparky the Dog (a cute, frisky dog used in StarHub’s earlier commercials) and the “return of freedom of choice” for consumers, which includes allowing youths to customise their own mobile plans.  Just because there were only two of them did not mean that the quality of their presentation was any lesser than the other teams.
The dynamic duo of Team FABT with Ms Jeannie Ong, StarHub’s Head of Corporate Communications & Investor Relations 
The Challenge’s final presentation saw Team EDC’s version of a future StarHub store. In its proposal, the team suggested three main areas for StarHub’s stores – BoxIt (where mobile accessories are displayed in clear boxes), AppIt (where customers can test mobile apps) and PickIt (an online service that allows customers to apply for mobile plans through the Internet). They also suggested that StarHub’s employees could get a thinking break of an hour each week to encourage employees to come up with ideas for the company.

Each team’s proposal was equally strong, and it was certainly a difficult decision for the judges to make. As Mr Tan Tong Hai put it aptly, “they are all winners today.”

Soon, it was time for the results!  Participants gathered at the end of the room and huddled together in anticipation.
Team Redux, receiving the 1st prize from Mr Tan Tong Hai, CEO of StarHub
In the end, Team Redux secured the first place and a grand prize of $3,000! It was followed by Team EDC and Team Synergy, who were awarded the second and third prizes of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.

Said Hansel Ng Eng Sheng, third year Information Technology student and leader of Redux, “Basically our final pitch was almost completely different from the proposal we submitted. We just gave all that we could think of. We also looked into the visual aspects and created our 3D walkthrough of the store from the popular game Sims3. It was a huge risk, because nobody had seen these ideas before. But turning our ideas for the shop into a reality is what we truly want.”

Team EDC receiving the 2nd prize
As for Team EDC’s members, they were pleasantly surprised that they finished in the top two. The team of four is part of the recently formed Entrepreneurship Development Club, and has a passion for formulating business ideas.

Said Christina Chua, third year Marketing student and EDC team member, “This was another platform for us to step out of our comfort zone provided by our club, to try out our ideas, brainstorm, and generate our own solutions to problems. We are very happy to have won the second place.”

Indeed, everyone left a winner that afternoon. The event showed students how a real-life business presentation was like and how much potential NYP students had. It was certainly a mind-blowing experience as participants strove hard to bring forth their ideas, setting the bar at a new height. As fellow business students, it was a fantastic learning experience for the both of us.

Team Synergy receiving the 3rd prize

By Chua Khai Woon (Year 3, Diploma in Banking and Financial Services) and Shawn Dabi (Year 1, Diploma in Accounting and Finance)

Khai Woon is a Year 2 student pursuing a diploma in Banking and Financial Services. Watching movies and reading are among some of her hobbies. Above all, she enjoys listening to music and likes writing.  She is also a member of the NYP Symphony Orchestra. She believes life should be unpredictable; because that is the only way it will be exciting.

Shawn composes various sorts of literature, from short stories to this article that you have just read. His spare time is spent on whatever novel he gets his hands on, gymming, listening to symphonic rock, playing video games, and of course, writing. He aspires to be a best-selling novelist and a successful accountant one day.

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