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A Blue Ocean Every Day

Gareth Tang
Gareth Tang

Head of Innosparks, an ST Engineering Open Lab, and Senior Vice President, Tech Innovation

Innosparks, an ST Engineering Open Lab, is also a worldwide innovation exchange for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. As Singapore's first engineering-based incubator, Innosparks goes beyond offering funds to start-ups in its contribution towards building the innovation ecosystem. Its through-train incubation programme ensures start-ups collaborate with resident engineers, and access multi disciplinary engineering capabilities as well as global business networks and distribution channels that help them fast-fail-fast-iterate from idea to market in 18 months or less. Innosparks' focus is on addressing urban needs and challenges in the domains of mobility, healthcare, energy & environment, and security & emergency management.

Q: Tell us about yourself and your work at Innosparks.
I’m the General Manager of Innosparks, but more importantly, I’m a passionate ideator and creative engineer at heart. At Innosparks, we are all about accelerating breakthrough innovations that can touch and transform lives. Home to a diverse team of multi-disciplinary engineers centred on radical innovation, we take on demand-driven challenges and accelerate breakthrough solutions that work in the real world.

Q: What motivates you at work?
At Innosparks, we are driven by a desire to create engineering solutions that can impact lives. That gives us a wide mandate to take on vastly different problems that challenge us to put on our engineering hats in creative ways. Each day is a blue ocean for us to dive deep, explore, experiment, fail and think different.

 

“Each day is a blue ocean for us to dive deep, explore, experiment, fail and think different.”
Gareth Tang, Head of Innosparks, an ST Engineering Open Lab, and Senior Vice President, Tech Innovation

Q: What is the most interesting project you have worked on?
The AIR+ Smart Mask is one such project that is hallmark of the nature of innovation here at Innosparks. Its genesis was borne out of a desire to bring respiratory protection to children and the vulnerable elderly here in Singapore during the seasons of hazardous haze.

The smaller faces of children did not fit the adult-sized N95 masks while the elderly, with comparatively weaker respiratory systems, found it highly uncomfortable and suffocating to breathe through a certified protective mask. Wearing a protective mask also meant that they were exposed to the dangers of rebreathing trapped carbon dioxide within the mask, as well as the discomfort caused by trapped heat and humidity.

The team at Innosparks, took a radically different approach and created the world’s first certified protective mask in three sizes, with an attachable micro-ventilator designed to extract heat, humidity and carbon dioxide, for cool, breathable protection. We made a difference.

Q: What types of unique skills are needed to excel as an engineer at Innosparks?
A willingness to step out of their field of expertise, an open flexible mind that constantly seeks new ideas, the ability to think on their feet, the resilience to accept and catalyse failure as part of the success journey. A suite of soft skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, and leadership to champion projects will help an engineer transcend the boundaries of their discipline to become bold innovators.

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