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Changi Airport Group’s Innovation Journey

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Changi Airport Group (CAG) aspires to become the most innovative corporation in Singapore, according to Chong Chan Meng, Vice President of Organisation Process Transformation & Digitalisation. To reach this goal, CAG created the CAG Accelerator, an innovative programme that encourages innovation and gives workers the tools they need to make changes within the organisation.

In 2021, CAG had already established several Centers of Excellence (CoEs), each specialising in critical areas like Digital Experimentation, Data Science, Robotics Process Automation, Low Code Development, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, despite these CoEs’ invaluable services, CAG recognised that not all of its 1,900 employees were fully aware of them or how they could leverage these resources.

The CAG Accelerator emerged as a one-stop internal consulting office, connecting employees with innovative ideas or problems to the appropriate CoEs. This initiative became particularly crucial during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic when financial resources were strained, making it imperative to maximise in-house capabilities.

Partnering with the CoEs, CAG’s Innovation Team, and People Development & Experience Team, the CAG Accelerator was brought to life, championed by Justina Tan, the former Managing Director of the People Team. The Accelerator’s team consisted of skilled Business Analysts with a deep interest in technology, capable of helping employees refine their problem statements and hypotheses.

One of the Accelerator’s remarkable achievements was normalising the act of seeking help or proposing innovative ideas. In an organisation where employees might feel compelled to have all the answers, the Accelerator introduced a “No Wrong Door” policy, ensuring that employees understood the next steps in their innovation journey.

When an idea surpassed the organisation’s readiness, the CAG Innovation team stepped in to connect the innovators with external networks, including startups and research institutes. This not only facilitated problem-solving but also expanded CAG’s collaborative reach.

The Accelerator’s primary role was to identify solution options, design approaches, and connect clients with the necessary resources. While they didn’t directly implement solutions, they provided ongoing support, ensuring progress, and removing obstacles.

Despite initial challenges in promoting the Accelerator’s services, they gradually gained traction by transforming existing Low Code clinics into Accelerator consultation sessions. These sessions expanded from low-code use cases to encompass a wide array of innovative ideas and problems from different divisions.

Chan Meng emphasised the importance of integrating the Accelerator with a CoE capable of implementing solutions. This dual-role approach allowed team members to build credibility, both for the Accelerator and the CoE, within the organisation.

The Accelerator measured its success through various indicators, including awareness among CAG members and the number of use cases consulted. Additionally, they assessed the impact of implemented ideas or solutions on revenue, cost savings, productivity, UX, accuracy, and compliance. Remarkably, the Accelerator consistently scored above 70 for its Net Promoter Score, indicating high satisfaction among its clients.

To further support innovation, the Accelerator introduced the “What iF? Day” programme, bringing together colleagues from different clusters to collaborate on developing and enhancing ideas. This initiative provided a safe space for ideators to pitch their ideas and build diverse teams to drive innovation forward.

Despite being a lean team, Chan Meng expressed gratitude for CAG Management’s support and the collaborative ecosystem cultivated within the organisation. He emphasised that digital transformation extended beyond technology adoption, focusing on customer obsession, experimentation, and progress.

Chan Meng remains confident that CAG will achieve its goal of becoming Singapore’s most innovative enterprise by seamlessly blending people, processes, and technology. The CAG Accelerator stands as a testament to its commitment to innovation and transformation, charting the path towards a brighter and more innovative future for Changi Airport Group and its customers.

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