Capgemini opens Singapore innovation centre

Technology consulting and outsourcing services provider Capgemini on Tuesday launched its Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) in Singapore.

The exchange, the company's 10th globally and the first in South-east Asia, will deliver a robust service catalogue, within an ecosystem of other AIEs, according to the company.

These will include a focus in areas such as data analytics, visualisation, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.

The AIE will strengthen Singapore's reputation as an innovation hub by expanding the region's innovation capacity and bolster the development of local talent, to co-create a technology-enabled future, Capgemini added.

Explaining the importance of the centre, Lanny Cohen, Capgemini's global chief technology officer and a member of the group executive Committee, said that businesses are now focused on how to embrace and apply innovation with speed and scale in a secure and sustainable way.

"This requires a new way of thinking and working, in which companies drive corporate innovation through collaboration with a broad innovation ecosystem, to reinvent themselves for tomorrow's business challenges."

Mr Cohen said that Singapore, "with its vibrant start-up scene and business friendly environment", is at the vanguard of Asia's rise as an innovation superpower.

"It is the perfect location for Capgemini to establish our first AIE in South-east Asia."

Capgemini Consulting's research shows that Singapore is already one of five Asian cities ranked among the top 10 locations for innovation centres worldwide.

Mr Cohen noted that the AIE enables local and regional organisations to future-proof themselves, by proactively planning for forthcoming transformations by responding in an agile way that breaks with the traditional silo-ed models of research and development (R&D).

The research shows that Asia now rivals Silicon Valley as the new home to global innovation centres.

The surge in the number of innovation centres in Asia between March and October 2016 makes Asia host to 29 per cent of all innovation centres in the world, overtaking Europe in terms of the number of centres, the Capgemini Consulting research noted.

Luc-François Salvador, executive chairman of Capgemini Asia Pacific and the Middle East, noted that Singapore's recent Committee for the Future Economy (CFE) report underscored the nation's need to further develop innovation by fostering entrepreneurial talent and collaborating with innovation hubs.

"To that end, we are committed to working closely with our key partners, the Economic Development Board (EDB), and the city's varied ecosystem of innovators and start-ups to create new solutions for companies to future-proof their businesses."

The Singapore AIE will be working with Capgemini's partners and academic institutions in Singapore to develop a databank of knowledge and expertise specifically for Singapore.

It will also work globally with existing AIEs in locations such as London, Munich, Mumbai, Paris and San Francisco, the company said.

In addition, Capgemini's InnovatorsRace50, a global competition for start-ups and entrepreneurs, is now open to applicants worldwide including from across Singapore and the Apac region, Mr Salvador said.

Launched in January with an entry deadline of March 6, the competition provides start-ups with an international platform to showcase the potential of their products, services or innovative uses of technology to disrupt businesses and industries.

"Through celebrating the spirit of innovative entrepreneurship, this special 50th Anniversary edition of Capgemini's Innovators Race series offers five winning start-ups the opportunity to secure equity free-funding of US$50,000, extensive networking opportunities, participation in international tech events, access to industry experts, and the opportunity to become a Capgemini partner," Mr Salvador said.

He added that Capgemini would continue to make the training of its employees its top priority. Among its mentorship and training programmes, Capgemini offers a 12-month graduate programme to train local talent in the technology sector.

Graduates have the opportunity to learn first-hand from industry specialists in the AIE to develop their skills and knowledge in business lines, such as cybersecurity, insights and data, digital customer experience, digital manufacturing and emerging technologies.

Capgemini has hired 35 graduates in Singapore over the past six months, and intends to hire another 50 more over the next 12 months, as part of its commitment to develop local talent in Singapore, Mr Salvador said.

Yeoh Keat Chuan, managing director of the Economic Development Board, said: "With talent development at the very core of our industry development strategy in the infocommunications and media sector, we are pleased to learn that Capgemini will allow our young graduates to work on real-life problems that centre on technological fields such as cybersecurity, software development and data analytics."

This article was first published on March 1, 2017.
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