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Second Generation Leader: Hilary Tjoe

Second Generation Leader: Hilary Tjoe 2121 1413 Design Business Chamber Singapore
  1. Tell us more about you and how MM Galleri has evolved since you took over the baton?

    I’m Hillary Tjioe, the second-generation leader of our family’s natural stone business. Raised in Surabaya, Indonesia, I began working with my parents during school breaks, gaining early industry exposure. I pursued a Biotechnology Diploma at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore and later a Bachelor of Management at the University of British Columbia in Canada. I also earned a Diploma in Diamond Grading from HRD Antwerp.

    In 2018, I joined MM Galleri and now serve as the Director, leading our Singapore HQ. My primary goal is to strengthen MM Galleri’s identity as a premium natural stone supplier in Southeast Asia. We prioritise top-quality stones that stand the test of time, retaining their exquisite veins and colors. We’ve also developed innovative bended marble technology to tackle intricate, creative projects.

  2. Can you give an example of MM Galleri’s win-win-win philosophy that has led to exceptional outcomes?

    Nurturing resilience and innovation is paramount in my company’s ethos. In our
    industry, challenges abound – winning new clients, handling complex projects, and managing expectations. We foster a drama-free, supportive atmosphere where each individual contributes positively. The absence of office politics promotes unity, enabling everyone to thrive and uplift one another.

  3. What upcoming trends do you see in the material and marble industries?

    Grey-colored stones are especially sought-after, dominating our orders. We have received a lot of orders for neutral color tone stones that are in tune with the current interior design trend of minimalism. In addition, custom marble creations, like furniture and statement pieces, are on the rise. Architects and designers seek uniqueness, turning to adaptable marble suppliers for customisation, like our bended marbles and expansive dining table options.

  4. Share a project you worked on that particularly stood out to you.

    The MUME Bar stands out as one of my most memorable projects. It’s unique because it was one of the first projects we completed in Russia. I had the opportunity to work with a variety of bended marbles for large countertops and also cut from blocks. We bent a few stunning onyx slabs to shape the countertop into intriguing curves that are truly eye-catching. I was genuinely pleased with the outcome and appreciated how lovely the MM Galleri stones looked in the MUME Bar in Moscow. It’s a project I’ll always share with my clients and friends.

  5. What do you enjoy and value most about your career?

    Connection and experience stand out as my most rewarding achievements. My industry exposes me to diverse individuals, from the influential to the ultra-rich. Assessing character authenticity intrigues me—first impressions versus true personalities. This actually trains me to understand and talk to different people. Some of my clients have actually become some of my closest friends today.

  6. What motivates you to work hard?

    My parents are the cornerstone of my drive and the very reason I am where I am today. Witnessing their unwavering dedication since my early days has left an indelible mark. Their relentless sacrifices, both for our family and to build this enterprise, have shaped my perspective. I’m determined to lighten their load, to repay their sacrifices in whatever small way I can. It’s this profound motivation that fuels my tireless efforts and propels me forward in my mission to elevate MM Galleri to even greater heights.

  7. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

    Escaping to Bali for a weekend tops my list. Amidst the bustling industry, a serene retreat allows me to unwind and recharge. With daily emails and messages, a peaceful getaway would be a welcome respite.
Hilary Tjoe, Director, MM Galleri

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Levande – The design behind appliance subscription services

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Introducing “People Parking Lots” with Park Yourself

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Design Leadership: Navigating the Uncharted Course

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Design Crawl 2023: SG Mark Winners’ Sharing

Design Crawl 2023: SG Mark Winners’ Sharing 1080 1080 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Witness the highlights of our Design Crawl event as part of Singapore Design Week (SDW), held on September 21st at the National Design Centre. It was an evening filled with inspiration and insights. Thank you to our partner DesignSingapore Council and panelists for the engaging sharing, discussions, and delicious food.

DBCS Circle Connects 2: Creating an Accessible & Barrier-free Society through Inclusive Design!

DBCS Circle Connects 2: Creating an Accessible & Barrier-free Society through Inclusive Design! 4500 5625 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Join us for Circles Connect 2, where we bring together a revered panel of industry experts who are bridging the gap between technology, society, and extraordinary people.

:microphone: Guiding us through this insightful journey is Immanuel Goh, the compass of inclusivity from GovTech, steering us towards a more accessible future.

:books: Joining the discussion is KC Yong, our human-centric maverick and President of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society of Singapore (HFESS). With a deep understanding of human needs and behaviours, KC brings a wealth of knowledge to the table, emphasising the importance of designing for people.

:rocket: Next, we have Ivan Chin, the visionary CEO of Extraordinary People, who consistently turns potential into prowess.

:stew: Lastly, Ang Kian Peng, the soulful creator of Samsui Kitchen/the Social Kitchen. His commitment to stirring up social change one meal at a time showcases the power of combining culinary expertise with a purpose-driven mission.Ready to connect? Don’t miss out on this exceptional event to connect with these inspiring individuals and learn from their experiences!

Together, we can shape a better future through design thinking and inclusive practices.

Details

Date: 18 May 2023, Thursday
Time: 5pm – 6pm
Venue: National Design Center, Level 2 Auditorium

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/626678190337

Generate room designs with Roomable and AI

Generate room designs with Roomable and AI 1536 1024 Design Business Chamber Singapore

1. Hello Jeffrey! Tell us more about you and how Roomable came about.

Matthew and I came up with the idea for Roomable in December 2022 after taking a look at the rise in popularity of generative AI technology and evaluating the interior design industry as an area where it could be applied to great effect.

We met up over the phone and decided that it was something we wanted to pursue together. We launched our first version of the website in May 2023 and joined Iterative Venture Capital’s accelerator program for their Summer 2023 cohort the same month.

Currently, we are building out features that our users have asked for!

2. Roomable seems to be a valuable tool. How do you envision the platform being used by different target audiences, and what benefits can they expect?

Roomable serves as the connection between homeowners and interior designers. For homeowners, they can easily visualise their space by taking photos and uploading them. Rooamble.ai will produce three variations in 15s or less.

For interior designers, Roomable is a tool where they can qualify client demands and generate variations of interior design concepts quickly, enabling them to get client buy-in and win more contracts!

3. As the co-founder and CEO, what are some of the key challenges you’ve faced in establishing Roomable, and how have you overcome them?

Building a startup means constantly putting out fires while simultaneously trying to grow your business. It’s a lot to balance. We are also a fully remote team, so it has been an adjustment to work in a way that is clear and productive for people working across different time zones.

Of course, the hardest thing that any business will face is just converting users to paying customers!

4. Looking ahead, what exciting updates or new features can users expect from Roomable in the near future, and how do you plan to continue innovating and improving the platform?

We’ve just released an upscaling feature which enables you to export Roomable images in high resolution! In the near future, we are focused on creating an AI Editing suite, enabling users to make micro-adjustments to their designs.

We are also hoping to kickstart a lead-generation platform that connects high-intent homeowners with design services. To improve the platform, we continuously reach out to and interview our customer base. Understanding their needs is critical when building a sustainable, revenue-generating platform at scale.

5. Do you have any role models that you look up to?

My role model is Roger Federer. He is an all-time, world-renowned tennis player, but also a successful businessman, family man and a true gentleman.

6. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

I would like to be an interior designer for fine dining restaurants. I’m a huge fan of storytelling and a restaurant’s environment is always finely woven into the dining experience to make patrons comfortable. It’s also an extension of the restaurant’s personality and identity.

Jeffrey Chen, co-founder of Roomable.ai

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Levande – The design behind appliance subscription services

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DBCS Gala Dinner & SG Mark Awards Ceremony 2023

DBCS Gala Dinner & SG Mark Awards Ceremony 2023 1000 1162 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Join us in celebrating Better Business by Design at the DBCS Gala Dinner & Singapore Good Design (SG Mark) Awards Ceremony 2023

Design Business Chamber Singapore (DBCS) is excited to announce our prestigious annual Gala Dinner & Singapore Good Design (SG Mark) Awards Ceremony 2023. The event will be graced by Guest of Honour, Minister Indranee Rajah and patron, Senior Minister of State, Sim Ann.

Make connections with top design and business practitioners, as we get to know their journeys. Seize the opportunity to network and forge lasting bonds with fellow visionaries, seasoned professionals, and emerging talents.

Details

Date: 31 August 2023, Thursday
Time: 6.30 pm – 9.30 pm
Venue: Singapore Chinese Culture Center

Pricing for tickets are as follows:

Individual Seats:

  • Regular: $400
  • Corporate: $350 (exclusive rate for DBCS corporate members)

Table Reservations:

  • Regular Table (10 Tickets): $3,600
  • Corporate Table (10 Tickets): $3,150 (exclusive rate for DBCS corporate members)

For any enquiries, please email info@dbcsingapore.org or reach us at (+65) 8829 2990

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/dbcs-gala-dinner-singapore-good-design-sg-mark-awards-ceremony-2023-tickets-657423480327

beatrice june spotlight

Let’s Talk About Design with Beatrice!

Let’s Talk About Design with Beatrice! 1280 755 Design Business Chamber Singapore

1. Hello Beatrice! Tell us more about yourself and what you do as a Business & Design Strategist.

Hey there, I’m Beatrice, a Business & Design Strategist at DesignZ at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). DesignZ is a design centre housed within SUTD that aims to bring a transformative impact to our clients through strategic and human-centric Design Innovation. 

My day-to-day work includes facilitating design innovation workshops with schools and corporates, building minimum viable products and preparing proposals for clients.

As a business management graduate from Singapore Management University (SMU) that majored in marketing and communications, I’ve always had an interest in consumer psychology and delivering value to users. Yet, it wasn’t until my final semester in school that I stumbled upon a module called interaction design communications (it’s very similar to UI/UX) — it was the first thing I came across that I could imagine myself doing.

For a year after graduating, I explored innovation, UI/UX traineeships/internships in the DBS innovation team and working with a start-up to see if that path was for me. I discovered that I really enjoyed interacting with users and exploring varied subject matters. On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy the “pixel-perfect” nature of UI/UX as much.

When I was at the crossroads of deciding how to move forward, a colleague from DBS who moved to DesignZ shared that they were hiring. As they say, the rest is history. I love that I get to explore different job scopes in this role and make design accessible to clients of different portfolios and ages — secondary schools, members of the public, defence corporations etc. Design is also something that requires the support of senior management to flourish. That is why I am currently striving to grow in my ability to communicate the business value of design, whether it be through pitching to clients, regular sprint check-ins or the final project handover. 

2. Could you share more about a project you are particularly proud of?

One of the projects I am proud of and am currently working on is co-creating TEE-Up with the Prudential innovation team. TEE-Up is a companion for Gen Zs as they reach their potential and ‘adult’ confidently through curated career resources and opportunities. Through interaction with TEE Up, we hope for Gen Zs to understand themselves better, connect with like-minded peers and mentors, and feel reassured that they are not alone in this journey.

Being a Gen Z designer myself, I find it meaningful to be involved in building something that would benefit other Gen Zs in Singapore and the region. There always seems to be pressure surrounding one’s career — fitting in, knowing what you want, getting there fast and I knew I really didn’t like that. From our focus groups, we also found that demographic-driven curation methods leave much to be desired amongst other Gen Zs. Some even labelled the first iteration as “the CNY aunty who always asks you the same question every year”. Since then, we’ve been obsessed with building towards being a companion and seeing the users’ feedback improve with each iteration has been really satisfying.

On a personal level, working on this project helped me to be more intentional in thinking about how to grow my career and put into practice the recommendations we give other Gen Zs as well. 

3. What are some common challenges you face as a business and design strategist, and how do you overcome them to deliver effective solutions?

As a business graduate, I had little exposure to Design Innovation before graduating. It was challenging to not only pick up design but to teach and convince clients of its value.

As for being familiar with the methodology and facilitating, I think the most helpful thing was to practice! For every workshop, I would think about one thing I wanted to focus on for that day and seek improvement. For example, time management is crucial when we only have 3 days to impart Design Innovation to clients. Hence, I would try to go faster on the easier bits to give the participants more time to grasp more difficult design methods. Another thing that helped was to note down when I felt stuck facilitating and ask experienced colleagues how to tackle those situations.

When meeting with prospective clients, I found myself sharing a lot about what we do and ‘selling’ our services (something I’m used to when product live streaming). It was only later that I realised that it is much more valuable to spend the first few encounters digging into the client’s needs. Just like we hold back on developing products or services before understanding users’ needs, it’s worth holding back on presenting until we really understand what a client is looking for.

I learnt that listening well and asking the right questions will help with developing a more effective strategy and costing more accurately. I see the importance of needs-finding, yet still don’t have the experience to come up with these key questions on the spot. As such, I’m currently prototyping a needs-finding checklist that will help me and other members of the team enter that conversation with the client more confidently!

4. How do you stay updated with the latest design trends?

As I am interested in merging Design Innovation with new technology developments and areas of content, I stay up to date by listening in on lunchtime talks or attending events that interest me.

The wonderful thing about being in a university is that I have access to library resources such as research papers and journals. Many professors and PhD students present their findings at the university.

As for design-specific trends, I try to attend a design-related event every month or two. I find events run by the Singapore Product Design community enjoyable and a good way for me to understand what other designers think and share.

I am also currently trying to increase my exposure to design and it has been applied in different contexts. I try to actively share my interests with the people around me so that they can connect me with other like-minded people.

I find sliding into others’ Linkedin DMs and networking events not my preferred way of connecting, so I do the things that bring me genuine joy. Find what works for you!

5. What is the biggest learning experience you’ve had?

The biggest learning experience I’ve had as a strategist is embracing uncertainty and striving to deliver even when I’ve had no prior experience or familiarity with the subject matter. The team also emphasises autonomy, and I felt like I had to overcome a lot of internal doubt while still producing the project deliverables.

Confiding in my colleagues and career coach has helped me to see that the pressure I put on myself to always deliver despite my internal struggles is not necessary. I do have room to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Also, having too high a cognitive load can prevent me from accurately seeing what’s on my plate, hindering accurate decision-making. When I struggle to prioritise, it helps to clarify and ask for help reduces the cognitive load significantly. Sometimes what I think is urgent is actually not that urgent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

6. What is a perfect weekend for you?

A perfect weekend for me would start with a hike around a reservoir in the morning, followed by a cosy brunch with my friends over a solid piccolo latte and sandos.

I’d then retreat into my air-conditioned sheets for a siesta before waking up fresh for some nano-block-building time!

Finally, I’d get ready to head out for a hawker dinner with the fam, followed by a theatre show and then…bedtime at 12.

Beatrice, Business & Design Strategist at DesignZ at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

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AI summit Arvind

Rethinking AI: From “Human vs Machine” to “Human + Machine”

Rethinking AI: From “Human vs Machine” to “Human + Machine” 2560 1707 Design Business Chamber Singapore
  1. Tell us more about you — what inspired you to focus your business in AI?
    My professional background revolves around helping businesses use data, analytics and technology to gain a competitive advantage. The evolution of cloud technologies has helped lay the foundation for efficient data management in scores of engagements I have been involved in.
    Yet, I see that people are still working overtime to turn data into insights for action. Hence, I believe that AI has the potential to address this challenge by quickly turning ‘big data’ into ‘smart actionable data’ and shift the focus from ‘lag’ to ‘lead’ indicators of future-focused success.

  2. How did The AI Living Lab – TALL come about?
    Back in 2016, I had the opportunity to set up Dentsu’s first Global Data Innovation Centre to harness the potential of AI, where I got to experience first-hand the challenges of scaling AI solutions beyond the prototype. The human element is essential – both in the build and during the adoption phases. Personally, I believe that both these areas are not receiving sufficient attention.
    To address this gap, I set up TALL (The AI Living Lab) in 2020 as a Think Tank and Advisory to propagate the development of impactful and responsible AI solutions. TALL intends to shift the rhetoric from “human vs machine” to “human + machine”, with the belief that humans must stand tall in the face of powerful AI solutions. Such solutions are rapidly emerging, like ChatGPT and generative AI solutions such as DALL-E2, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney. I have been actively promoting this unique form of thinking in conferences and customer engagement sessions with start-ups, academia and businesses around the world.  

  3. What impact does AI bring to design & businesses?
    The impact that AI brings to design and business, in general, can be twofold. Firstly, efficiency is improved, in terms of time and cost savings. Secondly, growth in terms of new customer acquisition and retention.  The Mckinsey State of AI report for 2022 found that 50% of businesses globally have adopted AI in at least one business unit, a very encouraging sign that AI has positively impacted businesses worldwide. I see a significant opportunity to embed Design Thinking principles in AI solutions, as responsible AI is continually being architected to ensure that it does not go rogue through bias. 

  4. What’s the biggest learning experience you’ve had?
    Human centricity needs to be at the core of innovation efforts, intrinsic to the development and implementation of digital solutions. This is crucial to incorporate within AI solutions for it to have a direct impact on the human experience of both employees and customers. Digital technologies should augment human creativity and take it to new heights by creating a subconscious, always-on layer of intelligence capability. This I believe will ensure people have more time to do the things we love – spend time with family, sports, arts, writing etc.

  5. Are there any books or podcasts that impacted your life deeply that you would recommend?
    A few books which have fascinated me – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter, Addiction by Design by Natasha Dow Schull and AI Superpowers by Kai Fu Lee.

  6. How do you recharge after work? Do you prefer a social gathering or a quiet retreat?
    I am an outdoor person who enjoys long rides on my bike or a run to recharge. I also have a preference for a quiet retreat, listening to my vinyl records with a single malt!

  7. What made you join DBCS Circle?
    I found out about DBCS during one of my visits to the National Design Centre. The first event I attended gave me a view into the spectrum of multidisciplinary design bodies. I was attracted by the DBCS charter, ‘Better Business by Design’, and decided to become a member. 
Arvind, Founder of The AI Living Lab (TALL)

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TISDC 2019 Preliminary Selection

TISDC 2019 Preliminary Selection 2048 1365 Design Business Chamber Singapore

The TISDC 2019 Preliminary Selection was held in Singapore on 24 August 2019 at PIXEL Studios (venue sponsored by IMDA). 15 professional designers from Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Thailand were invited to form the panel of jurors for the Preliminary Selection. After a full day of screening, 69 entries from Australia and New Zealand, and 11 entries from Southeast Asia and South Asia entered the final selection. 

Design Crawl 2019

Design Crawl 2019 1616 1080 Design Business Chamber Singapore

A big thank you to our three wonderful hosts (Grab Singapore, IBM and Brandcourage) as well as our amazing participants for making Design Crawl 2019 a success!! We started our journey from Grab Singapore office where Mr Randy Hunt (Head of Design, Grab Singapore) shared about the role of design in Grab and its scaled design research programme. We then headed to IBM Studios on the 42th (!!) floor for an office tour and an interesting sharing session on Design Thinking led by Mr Faiz Mulla (Creative Director, IBM Studio Singapore and DBCS EXCO member). Our last stop was at Brandcourage where the team (Mr Colin Anderson, Mr Chew Kok Hsiung and Mr Florian Luthi) introduced us to the design approach and methodology they used for their projects. It was an insightful session held at Shake-Farm (beside Brandcourage’s office), together with delicious healthy shakes! You can tell from our faces that it was a day well-spent! 

DBCS Gala Dinner 2019

DBCS Gala Dinner 2019 1024 769 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Same same but different: We employed a new approach to this year’s SG Mark Awards Ceremony and DBCS by holding one after the other on 22 May at Gardens by the Bay.

The Guest of Honour for the Awards Ceremony was Deputy Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office Strategy Group – Ms Jacqueline Poh. 81 projects were accorded the SG Mark for their good design and quality.

The top award winners were announced at the Gala Dinner held in the dazzling Flower Field Hall and guests were treated to a delectable dining experience by our partner – Peach Garden. The Gala Dinner was graced by Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications and Information & the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth – Ms Sim Ann. She is also DBCS’ patron (since 2018) and newly appointed Chairman of the DBCS Presidential Advisory Commission.