By @SimonCockingInformative interview with Dr Lily Chan who leads NUS Enterprise at the National University of Singapore (NUS) with the vision to inject an enterprise dimension to NUS teaching and research. As CEO, Lily is responsible for architecting a holistic innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem for the university’s support of NUS staff, students and alumni, inclusive of entrepreneurial education, venture development, technology commercialisation, and industry partnership initiatives. 

When was it established? What inspired you to co-found this festival?

InnovFest unBound 2016 is a two-day innovation festival and digital conference held in Singapore on 17-18 May 2016. This event aims to showcase Asian innovation and present the latest in disruptive technologies that have the potential to change the world. InnovFest unBound 2016 is organised by NUS Enterprise and unBound Media in partnership with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. It is one of the anchor events of Singapore’s Smart Nation Innovations Week.

InnovFest has its beginnings in 2005, when it was originally known as the Technology Commercialisation Forum. This was organised by NUS Enterprise with the intent of showcasing the university’s technology and research to encourage new commercialisation opportunities. Over the years, InnovFest grew in scale and reach, incorporating innovations from start-ups and business pitching and partnering sessions.

unBound conferences are well known for bringing together disruptive start-ups and global corporates. They have successfully organised a series of interactive innovation events in New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, London and Singapore, enabling brands to engage with disruptive technology to fuel innovation and growth. Last year was the first time we partnered together to jointly organise this event. Both NUS Enterprise and unBound Media were looking for ways to create a more meaningful event with better content and reach to international audiences. We have leveraged upon each other’s strengths to build InnovFest unBound into Asia’s most exciting innovation festival.

How has the event evolved from last year?

We have not changed the main essence of InnovFest unBound too much from last year, though obviously speakers and the topics have changed to offer new valuable content to the participants. The underlying theme remains the same – Asian innovation meeting the world.

This year, as InnovFest unBound is serving as one of the anchor events within Smart Nation Innovations Week, we have focused on what is required to build a smart nation. We have also created a Future Now stage, which looks at the various technologies necessary for building a Smart Nation. Sessions will be held on the Future of Healthcare, Future of Manufacturing, Future of Cities and Future of Finance.

What types of disruptive innovation is planned to be showcased?

There will be some 300 innovations on showcase during InnovFest unBound 2016, across various areas in the ICT, Environment, Biomedical and Analytics sectors. These include a video analytical technology for people counting, demographic measurement and face tagging; lens technology for wider angle images and 5X optical zoom that can fit in mobile phones; a desalination technique that uses low-grade waste heat (55-85°C) and a biometric check-in technology.

What are you hoping to come out of it? What would be your ideal outcomes from this year’s InnovFest unBound event?

InnovFest unBound is the place where people and brands connect with disruptive innovation, in order to explore new opportunities in Asia. These connections could lead to a number of achievements, including new investments into start-ups, licensing deals for innovative technologies and research/ business collaborative partnerships. We hope that InnovFest unBound 2016 will result in such outcomes. In addition, all participants of InnovFest unBound will gain a wealth of knowledge and information, interesting perspectives and new networks.

Dr Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise and co-host InnovFest unBound 2016. A background on Lily can be found here

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