Project Storm: An Innovation Journey
2019 Finalist

Project Storm: An Innovation Journey

Singapore Press Holdings

Singapore, Singapore

Category Culture and People

Overview of this campaign

SPH is a 35-year-old media conglomerate and a print monopoly in Singapore, with some newspaper titles in its stable as old as 180 years. Project Storm was aimed at spurring a more entrepreneurial culture within the company and to transform the print-centered, monopoly-inspired ways of working that have taken root.

The project, undertaken in partnership with Australian innovation consultancy Venturetec, had several deliverables. The first was to give employees a taste of innovation techniques such as working in cross-functional teams, conducting customer discovery, testing product assumptions and building business cases before developing a new product.

The second was to allow a smaller group of employees to experience the full product development process, going all the way to pitch a robust product idea to senior management.

A third objective was to identify an internal process that could be improved using innovation techniques. A separate team worked on this, choosing to change travel policy - a highly visible policy whose rigid and confusing rules were a source of frustration for many colleagues. This exercise was completed within a month and approved by senior management, with positive feedback from employees.

There were also broader corporate objectives for Project Storm. As part of the project, Venturetec conducted an innovation audit of SPH and found several areas for improvement, from the need for more customer centricity to the lack of a comprehensive data strategy. The company's senior leadership was involved in the process to assess their commitment to and facility for innovation, and to evaluate whether a new set of company values was needed to foster more collaborative and customer-centric ways of working.

Results for this campaign

About 400 employees across all SPH divisions, from newsrooms and ad sales to tech and human resources, received foundational training in innovation techniques such as customer discovery and agile ways of working. 

About a fifth of those employees went on to more advanced training including business model design and prototyping. They participated in more than 40 hours of training plus more than 25 hours of coaching throughout the programme. The teams conducted customer discovery interviews with more than 200 people and ran 22 rapid experiments.

These employees formed cross-functional teams to pitch new product ideas to senior management in the company's first-ever Innovation Day, which was attended by nearly 1,000 staff. The event also showcased the company's other innovative ideas and products, including start-ups and spin-off companies.

Separately, another group of about 50 employees from ad sales were trained in new ways of working, including customer centricity and rapid experimentation, in a manner that made it directly relevant to their jobs. This training involved the employees co-designing solutions with clients that resulted in better outcomes for both parties, and also led to the employees creating tighter relationships with their clients. Using digital enablement tools as part of the training allowed the employees to increase team collaboration and productivity.



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