WOU-MACS partnership to benefit graduates and profession

WOU is forging a closer partnership with the Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries (MACS) for the benefit of its graduates and the organisation.

MACS Council members with WOU top management and academics from the school of business & administration.

MACS Council members with WOU top management and academics from the school of business & administration.

The partnership was cemented with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the University and MACS by WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and MACS President Tang Chan Ming at the main campus today. The witnesses were WOU Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong and MACS Honorary Secretary Tey Ping Cheng.

signing by tang (2nd from left) and prof zoraini (2nd from right).

signing by tang (2nd from left) and prof zoraini (2nd from right).

On hand to witness the exchange of documents between the signatories were WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and MACS Past President Tan Sri Tan Khoon Hai.

Earlier in her speech, Prof Zoraini highlighted that MACS provides credit exemptions for WOU’s business degree programmes in Corporate Administration and Accounting. This enables the graduates “to earn professional recognition from MACS and eventually become members of the company secretarial profession”. 

exchange of documents witnessed by dr koh (3rd from left) and Tan sri Tan (3rd from right). with them is wou chief operating officer yeong sik kheong (right) and Macs’ tey ping cheng.

exchange of documents witnessed by dr koh (3rd from left) and Tan sri Tan (3rd from right). with them is wou chief operating officer yeong sik kheong (right) and Macs’ tey ping cheng.

She stated that the signing facilitates WOU and MACS to undertake various collaboration initiatives to increase the nation’s skilled human capital, particularly in company secretarial practices.

Among the initiatives are joint projects and workshops/conferences, sharing of expertise, exchange of ideas and facilities, industrial study visits of WOU students, internship placement at MACS members’ offices, and applications of MACS candidates into WOU programmes.

Tang believed the collaboration “will further enhance the company secretarial profession in this country and offer a route to a professional qualification in addition to an academic degree for the WOU students”.

tang, in his speech, lauds the collaboration with wou.

tang, in his speech, lauds the collaboration with wou.

“Under the MOU, we are looking forward for WOU to promote and assist its undergraduates to join MACS for a challenging career in the Company Secretary Profession. In return, MACS will work closely with the University to have more activities for the benefit of the students in the future,” he added.

He said WOU students can qualify as professional company secretaries through the accelerated arrangement with MACS in which credit exemptions are granted.

h’ng elaborates on macs and the company secretary profession.

h’ng elaborates on macs and the company secretary profession.

There was also a brief presentation on the role and benefits of a Company Secretary by MACS council member H’ng Swee Yeng. Also present at the event were other MACS council members and WOU senior management staff.

WOU sets up GIOAS to promote openness and change

WOU has launched the George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS) in January 2019 for the advancement of openness to forge a more knowledgeable and harmonious society.

GIOAS aims to attract leaders and thinkers from diverse fields and backgrounds to come together to deliberate over ideas for such advancement, starting off with its inaugural public forum on the “Role of the University in a Digitally Disrupted Age”.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Tan Sri Andrew Sheng flanked by WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap (right) and WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Tan Sri Andrew Sheng flanked by WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap (right) and WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

Speaking at the press conference in the main campus today to explain the setting up of GIOAS, Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon stated, “"Like all universities around the world, there are many challenges on how to upgrade the university as an institution that evolves with the times. Education is shifting from teaching students to follow instructions to preparing them to think and solve problems not just for themselves, but for society as a whole. With new tools that technology offers, WOU is revamping its own preparedness to deliver good education for all at affordable prices."

He said that in the face of new challenges, particularly from Industry 4.0, WOU is in the midst of transforming to ensure it continues to deliver flexible, affordable and accessible education and becomes a top university.

Dr Koh (left) addresses the press conference as Tan Sri Andrew Sheng looks on.

Dr Koh (left) addresses the press conference as Tan Sri Andrew Sheng looks on.

GIOAS’ International Advisory Board (IAB) Chairman Tan Sri Andrew Sheng, who is a Distinguished Fellow of Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong, and former Chairman of Khazanah Research Institute, shared about the Board members who are highly respected academicians and thought leaders from across the globe.

The IAB members are:

·         Dr Douglass Carmichael, physicist, humanist, psychoanalyst, entrepreneur and economic advisor to the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET); former Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz.

·         Dr Stephen Oppenheimer, British geneticist and author; honorary fellow, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; trained in medicine at University of Oxford and University of London.

·         Dr Yaga Venugopal Reddy, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics; and Honorary Professor, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.

·         Dr Shiu Man Fai, former Consultant Cardiologist, Royal Free Hospital, London.

·         Ms Wang Yuan, former Chief Economist, China Development Bank, Beijing, the largest development bank in the world.

·         Mr Jan Wouter Vasbinder, Founding President, Institute Para Limes, Europe; former Director, Para Limes, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. 

IAB members with Dr Koh, Prof Zoraini (front, centre) and Chief operating officer of WOU, Mr Yeong Sik Kheong (right, 3rd row).

IAB members with Dr Koh, Prof Zoraini (front, centre) and Chief operating officer of WOU, Mr Yeong Sik Kheong (right, 3rd row).

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng remarked that GIOAS plans “to bring in international perspectives to the dialogue going on in Penang and elsewhere in Malaysia on the future role of education, learning, work and life

He added, “We are facing so many challenges brought by technology, geopolitics and climate change that we need to think about 21st century challenges using new lenses. This is why the Institute is OPEN, and draws in people who are advanced or who are working at the cutting edge of thinking or working on these issues."

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng converses with Dr Shiu (left) and Ms Wang.

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng converses with Dr Shiu (left) and Ms Wang.

He stressed that GIOAS offers an exciting platform for dialogue and discussion to open up opportunities for change.

Adopting changes for success

WOU is focused on moving forward in 2019 with mindset and attitude shifts, innovation, re-branding and revised action plans to distinguish the University as a leading open distance learning (ODL) and full-time study institution in the country and region.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas highlighted this approach to grow the student population during the townhall session at the main campus today, attended by over 120 staff and streamed live to all regional centres.


Prof Zoraini highlights the happenings of 2018 and plans for the year ahead.

Prof Zoraini highlights the happenings of 2018 and plans for the year ahead.

She challenged staff to work as a team to improve student enrolment, re-enrolment, graduation rate, revenue, student engagement and to deliver prompt, accurate and respectful service in line with its Client Service Charter.

“We must innovate to improve and re-brand ourselves. We have to more than a typical ODL university, offering very good quality programmes and learning experience,” Prof Zoraini remarked. She also mentioned the need to revised policies to align with transformation plans, adding that all these changes are geared toward success.

Briefing staff about the re-organisation of the University.

Briefing staff about the re-organisation of the University.

She highlighted that WOU is moving towards becoming a data-driven organisation by focusing on data analytics. She also presented the revised WOU organisational chart, notably the renamed QA & Government Relations Directorate under Dr Andy Liew, which will act as secretariat for Institute for Research and Innovation (IRI), Centre for Dialogue (C4D), Centre for Fine Arts (C4A) and the George Town Institute for Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS).  

Corporate Communications will now come under the renamed Publishing & Public Relations (PPR) Department under Grace Lau, with the Educational Technology & Publishing Unit (ETP) being divided into PPR and IDeX (Instructional Design for Engaging Experiences).


Festive greetings and apprising staff of the new programmes for Year 2019.

Festive greetings and apprising staff of the new programmes for Year 2019.

Prof Zoraini mentioned the 6 new academic programmes that are expected to be offered in 2019. They are the ODL programmes of Doctor of Business Administration, Commonwealth Executive MBA (HR), CeMBA (Finance) and Bachelor of Communications (Hons) along with the full-time programmes of Bachelor of Business (Hons) in HR Management and Diploma in Business Management.

University appreciation for long-serving staff

Twenty-eight staff of Wawasan Open University were honoured with long service awards during a simple ceremony held at the main campus today.

On hand to present the 10-year service award was WOU Board of Governors member Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng while doing the honours for the 5-year service award was Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

Prof Zoraini welcoming staff to the event.

Prof Zoraini welcoming staff to the event.

Leading the charge for 10 years of faithful, dedicated service from the Operations units were Human Resource Manager Sharizal Inche Mohamed and ITS Infrastructure Support Manager Khor Kok Yeow.

On the academic front were School of Business & Administration (SBA) Senior Lecturers Yap Li Lian and Chong Fook Suan. The others from the academic side were outgoing School of Humanities & Social Sciences Lecturer Kevin Tan Pooi Soo and SBA Administrative Executive Goh Pei Ling.

From academic support, there were Senior Assistant Registrar Gomathi Chandrasekaran, Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Senior Graphic Designer Valerie Ooi Lay Keat together with Senior Executives Koh Kah Ling and Yeap Hock Aun, Registry Officer Suraya Hashim and Assistant Library Supervisor Puvaneswary Raju.

Dr Chin (back row, centre, with glasses) with the 10-year service award recipients.

Dr Chin (back row, centre, with glasses) with the 10-year service award recipients.

The other 10-year recipients were Corporate Communications Assistant Manager Selvarani Suppiah, ITS Senior Application Support Analysts Ong Zie Ling and David Lim Tze Yoong, Senior Secretary (Chancellery) Cindy Tan Yin Tee, along with General Services & Administration (GSA)’s Technical Supervisor Balachandran Ponniah and Driver Kumara Maruthu.

Topping the 5-year service awards list were SBA Associate Professor Dr Balakrishnan Muniappan and Lecturer Lim Peng Keat, Finance Assistant Manager Kheng Bee Nar and Johor Bahru Regional Centre (JBRC) Assistant Manager Esther Grace.

Dr Chin and Prof Zoraini (5th and 4th from right) pose with the 5-year award recipients.

Dr Chin and Prof Zoraini (5th and 4th from right) pose with the 5-year award recipients.

Adding to this list from the main campus were ITS Senior Infrastructure Support Analyst Tang Jinq Hung, School of Education, Languages & Communications Senior Administrative Executive Milly Lim Siew Gaik, Marcom Customer Service Officer Marion Beatrice Pereira and GSA Technical Supervisor Hirwan Rimi.

At the Regional Centres, those honoured for five years of service were Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Lim Lei Hung (Kuala Lumpur) and Marketing & Admissions Executive Valentina Tan Kim Eng (Johor Bahru).

Enjoying a delightful luncheon.

Enjoying a delightful luncheon.

All staff were feted to a sumptuous lunch of rice with chicken, mutton, egg, cucumber-pineapple dishes complemented with laksa, apam balik, ais kacang and juices following the award presentation.

Among those present were BoG members Dr Chin and Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng, Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Chief Financial Officer Hew Thin Chay, Deans and Heads of Department.

Christmas, WOU-style!

The Christmas festive cheer was all around from the decorations, cookies and carols to the red, gold, green and white outfits worn by many staff attending the WOU Christmas Hi-Tea today.

Every staff receives a packet of colourful marshmallows as door gift.

Every staff receives a packet of colourful marshmallows as door gift.

The event kicked off with the playing of ukulele and singing by full-time student Ooi Jie Wen, who entertained with ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. She was joined by School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) lecturer Kevin Tan Pooi Soo.

Ooi (left) plays the ukulele and duets with Kevin Tan.

Ooi (left) plays the ukulele and duets with Kevin Tan.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, in her informal address, drew everyone into the Christmas mood by asking them to imagine white snow outside and a burning fireplace inside the cafeteria. Acknowledging that Christmas in the tropics is a significant occasion for Christians, she shared her love of window-shopping during this time to admire the beautiful Christmas decorations.

She thanked event organising committee chairperson Jasmine Emmanuel for this festive celebration, adding, “Christmas is a season of joy and giving. Next year, perhaps all of us can bring a gift under RM10 and then exchange for fun.”

Prof Zoraini conjures up image of white snow outside.

Prof Zoraini conjures up image of white snow outside.

She said unlike Western countries with their turkey and cranberry sauce, Malaysians have customised the foods served for Christmas. 

Prof Zoraini then cut the huge Christmas cake with the wordings ‘Blessed Christmas WOU’. Next was the presentation of a gift – a hanging ceramic frame inscribed with the words ‘God Bless Our Home’ – to Kevin Tan, who leaves WOU on December 21st.

WOU staff sing carols accompanied by guest Michael Gregory (right) on guitar.

WOU staff sing carols accompanied by guest Michael Gregory (right) on guitar.

The Christmas carolling segment saw a group of WOU staff singing ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Feliz Navidad’ and ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. They were accompanied by guest, Michael Gregory, on guitar.

Santa Claus, in the person of Nick Nichols from a local church, made a bubbly entry to the happy amazement of everyone and went around distributing sweets to the staff.

Nichols makes a surprise appearance as Santa Claus and distributes sweets.

Nichols makes a surprise appearance as Santa Claus and distributes sweets.

The crowd feasted on spaghetti, cream cuffs, cup cakes, fried popiah, sausage rolls, and lots of cookies and a variety of cakes, along with Bru Coffee and tea.

Among those who attended were Deans Prof Santhiram Raman, Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei and Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan, Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam and the heads of departments.

Feasting on sphagetti, cup cakes and other delights.

Feasting on sphagetti, cup cakes and other delights.

Universities must transform to align with Industry 4.0

Universities are called to engage industry more in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and today’s graduates are urged to practise lifelong learning.   

This was the appeal made by Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah in his address at Wawasan Open University’s (WOU) 9th Convocation ceremony held in Hotel Equatorial Penang today.

The graduation ceremony in progress.

The graduation ceremony in progress.

He said that Industry 4.0, with breakthroughs like artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing, autonomous vehicles and smart factories, is impacting the workplace and society. “Universities must therefore transform what they teach and how students learn”, he declared, adding that 21st century knowledge and skills in data analytics, big data, cloud computing, AI and automation are critical for producing employable, future-proof graduates.

Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon mentioned that policies are being formulated to mitigate any negative impacts from Industry 4.0, and harness the benefits of the new technologies, like the National Policy on Industry 4.0 recently launched by the government.

Tun Dzaiddin wants universities to transform in the face on Industry 4.0

Tun Dzaiddin wants universities to transform in the face on Industry 4.0

He stated that education is also disrupted by the new technologies, and so WOU has embarked on a major transformation initiative from mid-2017 to ensure it stays relevant.   “Building on the foundation and   achievements so far, WOU should forge ahead to be the university of the future. We shall also reach out beyond our shores to other ASEAN countries.”

He also highlighted that WOU will launch the George Town Institute for Open and Advanced Studies (GIOAS) to gather advanced ideas and initiatives in January 2019.

Prof Zoraini highlights on the achievements and developments of WOU.

Prof Zoraini highlights on the achievements and developments of WOU.

In her report, Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas shared that this Convocation produced 658 graduates, with 166 at the postgraduate-level and 492 at the undergraduate-level.  There were two inaugural PhD graduates in Arts & Humanities as well as the first batches of graduates from the open distance learning (ODL) programmes of mechatronics and human resource management.

Sixty four out of the 492 graduates at the undergraduate-level were from full-time study, including the first batches from the logistics & supply chain management, sales & marketing, and computer systems & networks programmes.

Prof Zoraini and Dr Koh congratulate top students Poonam Devi (left) and Paul Goh (right).

Prof Zoraini and Dr Koh congratulate top students Poonam Devi (left) and Paul Goh (right).

Prof Zoraini also congratulated the three top students. The Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize for best ODL graduate at the postgraduate-level was won by Datin Poonam Devi Talissiram from the Commonwealth Executive MBA (CeMBA) programme.  The Chancellor’s Gold Medal for topping the ODL undergraduate class was presented to Paul Goh Yeng Weeh from the Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Construction Management programme.

Poonam is a director of an employment screening agency in Petaling Jaya, while Goh juggles work as a senior manager for project and quality at a construction company in Puchong and his current studying of an MBA in Construction Management at WOU.

Top graduate from the full-time undergraduate programmes, Lau Sheue Wen.

Top graduate from the full-time undergraduate programmes, Lau Sheue Wen.

The Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for the most outstanding student from the full-time undergraduate programmes was awarded to Lau Sheue Wen, from the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programme. She is a management trainee at a manufacturing company in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

Four entrepreneurs receive WOU Honorary Degrees

Four consummate experts and leaders from business and industry were conferred Honorary Degrees by WOU to salute their spirit of entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

Honorary Graduates Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar (right) and Dato’ Gooi Hoe Soon (2nd from right).

Honorary Graduates Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar (right) and Dato’ Gooi Hoe Soon (2nd from right).

Former managing director of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, and Group Chairman of Hong Kong-based Li & Fung Ltd, Dr William Fung Kwok Lun, received the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree.  A director of Bank Negara Malaysia, Dato’ Gooi Hoe Soon, and an avid promoter of small and medium-sized industries (SMIs), Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong, were awarded the Honorary Doctor of Business degree.

In his acceptance speech at the 9th Convocation Ceremony in Hotel Equatorial Penang today, Tan Sri Azman lauded WOU for its lifelong learning opportunities. He shared his own journey of lifelong learning from secondary schooling at Malay College Kuala Kangsar to his Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at the prestigious Cambridge University, UK.

Tan Sri Azman delivers his Acceptance Speech.

Tan Sri Azman delivers his Acceptance Speech.

In his convocation address, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah lauded Tan Sri Azman for his leadership of Khazanah, for pioneering the Khazanah Megatrend Forum series that gathers experts and thought leaders to discuss current issues, and for establishing Think City. He highlighted that Dr Fung transformed a small, start-up trading company into the world’s leading supply chain solutions partner for global consumer brands and retailers.

He stated that Dato’ Gooi was involved in the corporate restructuring of institutions like Pos Malaysia and  that Tan Sri Soong has not let age – he is 93 - damper his tenacity.

Tun Dzaiddin (centre) and Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi enter the convocation hall.

Tun Dzaiddin (centre) and Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi enter the convocation hall.

WOU Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon commended the spirit of entrepreneurship and philanthropy of the four recipients.  “We believe their success stories will inspire our WOU students and graduates.  Moreover, it also signifies WOU’s commitment to further enhance the nexus between education and enterprise, so that our curriculum and research can be even more relevant to economic and social needs of Malaysia, and beyond.”

He spoke of their mindset and values that have empowered them to succeed, namely  innovative, visionary, taking calculated risks, tenacious, perseverant, and trustworthy. He also praised their magnanimity in serving and giving back to society. 

Dr Koh highlights 5 helpful pointers for living as exemplified by the Honorary Degree recipients.

Dr Koh highlights 5 helpful pointers for living as exemplified by the Honorary Degree recipients.

Dr Koh also shared the 5 Hs that have guided him. “First, stay Healthy,” he said, pointing out that Dr Fung still runs marathons.  “Second, be Humble.  Here, my role model is Tan Sri Soong, who is so very simple and down to earth.  Being humble also enables us to learn a lot from others.” 

“Third, be Honourable.  Uphold the principles of integrity, honesty and sincerity, like Tan Sri Azman.  Entrusted with billions in public funds, he was fully committed to ‘building true value’ for the people and resisted tremendous pressures to deviate from such principles, especially in his final four years in leading Khazanah.

Dr Koh (centre) flanked by Dr Fung (2nd from right) and Tan Sri Soong.

Dr Koh (centre) flanked by Dr Fung (2nd from right) and Tan Sri Soong.

“Fourth, foster Harmony, as practised by Dato’ Gooi, who has always endeavoured to seek and attain pragmatic ‘win-win’ solutions, even in the most complex of corporate restructuring exercises.  Fifth, stay happy, be optimistic and positive, come what may.  In fact, we can be happier if we are healthy, humble, honourable and harmonious with others.”

Learning soft skills through Public Speaking course at WOU

Twenty-year-old Nur Batrisyia Kamal Mohd from WOU’s full-time Psychology degree (BAPS) programme outshone the five other finalists to win the in-house ‘YouthQuake 2018’ public speaking competition.

the finalists with their peers and the judges.

the finalists with their peers and the judges.

The finals held at the WOU main campus today was organised by the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS). The competition was open to the full-time students pursuing the “Public Speaking” soft skills course offered by the School.

Nur Batrisyia, formerly of Penang Free School, spoke on the topic of ‘Bullying”. She ingeniously started off her elocution with a fitting prop, a note stuck to her back with words intended to taunt and hurt.

Nur Batrisyia eloquently highlights the problem of bullying.

Nur Batrisyia eloquently highlights the problem of bullying.

She highlighted incidences of bullying in Malaysia, including in higher learning institutions, such as sodomy, ganging up on fellow students, severe beatings leading to victims succumbing to injuries, cyber bullying, and other physical, emotional and physical forms of abuses. She defined bullying as aggressive behaviour towards another person, adding that it is an endless cycle with many victims turning to become bullies themselves later in life.

She also displayed her singing prowess with her rendition of the song, “Mean” by Taylor Swift that speaks of bullying, before finally ending with a clarion call to the audience to “Say ‘No!’ to bullying.

‘Beautiful’ friends will add fragrance to our lives, just like the rose, says Previnan.

‘Beautiful’ friends will add fragrance to our lives, just like the rose, says Previnan.

Previnan Ravindran, 20, from the Management degree (BBMG) programme, did a splendid job with his inspiring message, “You can do it!” He shared how we can lift up another person’s spirit and build their confidence in the journey of life with timely, motivational words. He held a red rose in his hand as he declared that like the flower, beautiful friends add fragrance to our lives with their presence and encouraging words.

The other finalists were Vishaal Manoj Kumar from Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Sales and Marketing (BBSM) who spoke on “Destiny”; Nurul Sifati Abdullah from Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology (BMPS) on “Friendship”; Si Chia Yin from Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Banking & Finance on “Being an Introvert”; and Haida Baharuddin (BMPS) on “Strength”.

Staff and students listening to Si Chia Yin’s presentation.

Staff and students listening to Si Chia Yin’s presentation.

About 20 full-time students attended the finals to listen and show their support. Also present was the Public Speaking course coordinator Dr Ooi Chia-Yi. The four judges of the competition were Senior Lecturer Yap Li Lian from the School of Business & Administration, and lecturers Rabikha Suparman, Irmadura Ramli and Kevin Tan Pooi Soo from SHSS.

 

Dr Nagarajan congratulates Nur Batrisyia on her win.

Dr Nagarajan congratulates Nur Batrisyia on her win.

Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan, the Dean of SHSS, gave closing remarks and presented certificates to the finalists and to the winner, Nur Batrisyia.

Potential start-ups as students show their innovative talent

Forty aspiring young entrepreneurs from among the full-time students of WOU displayed their creativity and innovative spirit as they teamed up to develop practical consumer products, with the potential for start-ups.


Explaining how the biometric palm reader works to a fellow student.

Explaining how the biometric palm reader works to a fellow student.

The students from the Entrepreneurship Development course - divided into 10 teams of 4 members each - participated in the half-day “Entrepreneurship Product Idea Pitching Event” organised by the School of Business & Administration (SBA) at the main campus today. The students were given the opportunity to present and pitch their innovative product ideas, together with product samples and/or prototypes to the staff and students of WOU.

Among the innovative products displayed were: smart multifunctional wardrobe; door latches for home security; beespoon made from 100% honey for consumption; Tupperware holders; Deafute, a vision-based telephone relay system; Blindeyes, a light, battery-operated walking stick; PalmInGo, a biometric palm reader; and  smart traffic lights with AI technology.


WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini admiring the smart wardrobe.

WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini admiring the smart wardrobe.

The pitching event kicked off with a simple ribbon-cutting ceremony by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, after which she, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling and SBA Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam visited the booths to view the products and listen to the pitching.


Prakash (left) and Lalitha ramasamy learn more about the innovative walking stick.

Prakash (left) and Lalitha ramasamy learn more about the innovative walking stick.

Each team had set up a booth to display their products along with details of their proposal, including product description, costing, benefits, potential competitors and target market, and their marketing/promotion strategies. As the students undertook research on the costing and market competition for their products, this enabled the budding young entrepreneurs to gauge the viability of their product and the feasibility of their entrepreneurial idea in the real world.


A model of the smart traffic lights with AI technology.

A model of the smart traffic lights with AI technology.

A panel of judges comprising individuals in the business, banking and academic sectors visited the booth for review and assessment. They were WOU’s School of Science & Technology Lecturer Azrina P Jamal Mydin, Ripples of Joy Enterprise Director Khor Chiew Chi, and Bank Negara Malaysia’s northern region liaison officer for Economics, Panimalar Kalidass.

 

The judges hear how the door latches help with improved home security.

The judges hear how the door latches help with improved home security.

According to SBA Senior Lecturer Lalitha Ramasamy, “This assignment under the Entrepreneurship Development course is designed to harness the students’ entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and innovative product ideas, all of which are crucial for anyone embarking on start-ups.”

Focus on accelerated innovation of familiar commodities, SMEs told

Small and medium-sized industries (SMEs) should focus on accelerated innovation to sustain competition and growth, and to move up the value chain to become a high-tech industry and world player.

Registering for the talk.

Registering for the talk.

This was expressed by Prof Tan Kim Hua, Professor of Operations and Innovation Management in the UK Nottingham University Business School, during his public lecture on “Accelerating Product Innovation in a Big Data Environment” at the WOU main campus today. About 70 people attended the talk organised by the School of Science & Technology.

He said SMEs should not just do R&D for product innovation but also have a business model to capture and sustain the market into the future, like IP protection and launching fast to prevent sabotage from big companies.

A section of the crowd attending the lecture on product innovation.

A section of the crowd attending the lecture on product innovation.

He stated that new products have a remarkably high failure rate of 50% or more, and advised SMEs to make their innovation more structured, accelerated, efficient, low cost, low risk and less uncertainty.

Prof Tan shared two case studies of successful accelerated innovation by SMEs, i.e. the levelling tool and smart luggage lock, utilising existing technology to add value to the products.

Prof Tan advised on two innovative products developed by an SME.

Prof Tan advised on two innovative products developed by an SME.

In the first, he transformed the age-old bubble sensor conventional levelling instrument into a waterproof digital levelling tool, Digi-Pas, to capture markets including building construction, military organisations, Boeing, Rolex, Texas Instruments and NASA. “Through real-time comments in the big data ICT environment, we can enhance and launch upgraded versions to consumers.”

The second was eGeeTouch, world’s first smart luggage lock, which offers multiple access methods via NFC smart tag, NFC-enabled smartphone, NFC-enabled smartwatch, and so forth, with patents in the US, EU, Japan and China. He is currently looking at other end-of-life products, like hammer and items in the house.

With value creation, innovative products can command a higher price.

With value creation, innovative products can command a higher price.

He said innovation must lead to high value creation, with the Amazon retail price of Digi-Pas approximately 4-30 times that of traditional bubble sensor levelling tool, while that of smart luggage lock approximately 7 times more than conventional luggage lock.

His advice to SMEs: Choose a simple product aligned to your business direction and having well-known market size; use existing technology to radically differentiate it; assess the value creation; have IP protection by securing patent at strategic markets; and launch the new product fast.

Prof Tan with School of Science & Technology Deputy Dean Assoc Prof Dr Lee Chee Leong (left) during the Q&A.

Prof Tan with School of Science & Technology Deputy Dean Assoc Prof Dr Lee Chee Leong (left) during the Q&A.

Prof Tan highlighted that big retailers often refuse to carry the new products, but today there is the option of e-commerce to sell online through channels like eBay and Amazon.

During Q&A, he said consumers will not mind paying more if there is added value and it can benefit them. He replied that they target high-end users for their smart luggage lock, adding that the retrieved data of smartphone numbers and the airport/resort used can be captured, and they might switch to selling these data in the future.

WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (left) presents a token of appreciation to Prof Tan.

WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (left) presents a token of appreciation to Prof Tan.

As for service industry like education, he remarked that some features of accelerated innovation are still applicable like identifying what is of value to customers, and incorporating this to significantly transform the programmes or services offered to students.