Making Innovation
Happen in the City
- From the Ground Up

Karen Lau

Written by Karen Lau

Unleashing a digital transformation journey through a collaborative project between Sunway Innovation Labs, Sunway University and Sunway Lagoon.

Everyone knows that corporate innovation is essential to keeping an organisation alive, yet, corporate innovation is notoriously difficult, as most companies still focus on protecting the core business that drives most of the revenues. An open innovation approach is required to stay abreast of the latest technologies and innovations that could potentially disrupt the market, which involves collaborations with startups and other new entrants. However, it is also important to have a platform that allows internally generated ideas to be incubated and commercialised. And yes, it usually it starts with one idea…


The Eureka Moment – Back in 2018, Sunway Lagoon was invited by Sunway Innovation Labs to attend the final pitch of their flagship program, the iLabs Make-it Challenge. During one of the student presentations, Mr. Ramesh Singaram, Assistant General Manager, Ideation and Park Development of Sunway Theme Parks was intrigued by management software solution that was presented by a student team of Sunway University. His question to the students was whether the software could be moulded into a centralised zoo management system, as replacement to the current processes that are being done manually, which is laborious and prone to making mistakes


Innovation Isn’t a Linear Process – Multiple rounds of meetings and idea pivots happened right after the Make-It Challenge between Sunway Innovation Labs, Sunway Lagoon, and the team leader of the A Team, Sat Maikel (an Information Technology undergraduate of Sunway University). The discussion slowed down when the team hit one of the stumbling blocks of corporate innovation – all parties realised that this zoo management system would not be an immediate profit generating project, although it will enhance the overall efficiency of the zoo operations that could potentially could reduce the morbidity and mortality of the animals.


Innovation Can Happen Through Collaboration between Different Business Units – Despite the stumbling block, Sunway Lagoon’s leadership team, including Mr. Calvin Ho, Senior General Manager of Sunway Theme Parks proactively aligned the business strategy with innovation goals, which put the project back on the rails again. Sunway Innovation Labs continued to mentor the Sunway University student, who later formed a software consultancy startup, MakeShift Enterprise (now with clients from different large corporates, such as Aeon Big). The project scope and cost were finalised and are now being implemented. We look forward to launching the first zoo management system in Malaysia soon!

Beginning of a Journey -For corporate innovation to happen, it requires leadership, strategy, and an environment that embraces an innovation, or “growth” mindset. At Sunway Innovation Labs, we believe innovation happens when people feel enabled and supported. We look forward to working with other business units to nurture inspiring ideas and innovations here in Sunway City!

Click here to go back to Sunway Idea Dropbox Page.

Sunway iLabs and Sunway Lagoon