Innovation is vital in today's world, be it in corporations, universities, through government agencies or tech startups. Innovation seeks to study gaps that lead to breakthroughs, which in turn improve businesses and our lives. The following highlights 3 notable cases in Southeast Asia.
Infocorp Technologies FARMTREK (Singapore)
Winner of 2019’s Fintech Award (Asean SME) by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Infocorp Technologies’s blockchain-based platform FarmTrek, combines fintech and agritech to bring inclusive financial services to the livestock industry in emerging markets.
FarmTrek is the world’s first solution for livestock-backed insurance and financing with private, permission-based blockchain to tag and track livestock ownership. It solves the unbanked farmers’ asset ownership problem, providing the possibility of accepting livestock as collateral for loans.
FarmTrek was successfully piloted in 2019 with two Myanmar government agencies. Following the success, partnered with the Rwandan government to launch a project, joined the Smart Africa Alliance and was showcased at the Afro-Asia Fintech Festival jointly organised by Central Bank of Kenya. Infocorp’s innovation has also been acknowledged as one of the ten winning business models for women entrepreneurs co-funded by the United Nations.
Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children INOVASI (Indonesia)
The Innovation for Indonesia’s School Children (INOVASI) Program is a partnership between the Australian and Indonesian government. INOVASI seeks to understand how student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy can be improved in diverse primary schools and districts across Indonesia.
Working directly with Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture, INOVASI works across a range of locations in Indonesia and uses a distinctive locally-focused universal approach to develop pilot activities and find out what does and does not work to improve student learning outcomes.
Data shows that Indonesia has achieved near-perfect participation in elementary school and that female students have a slightly higher participation than male students. Similar to international findings, the Indonesian context also observed that female students perform better than male students in literacy and numeracy in almost every situation.
However, at high school, female students participation are at a significant risk due to gender stereotyping, poverty and child marriage, leading to males being prioritised over females in education.
Hence, in 2019, the 1974 Marriage law was revised to bring the marriage age for girls in line with that for boys, i.e. 19. It is hoped that this policy will enable female students more chances to pursue education throughout high school and beyond.
AI and Robotics Ventures (Thailand)
AI and Robotics Ventures (ARV) is a spinoff company from PTTEP, the exploration and production corporation in Thailand. PTTEP had been working on AI and robotics, especially in drones and other unmanned vehicles, for several years before setting up ARV. They had determined that the AI and robotics focus area is a clear direction the company wants to commit to, so they set up ARV as a spinoff with the expectation that ARV can operate in ways that are not limited to being inside a large corporation.
ARV has independent initial funding that they can use to pursue their objectives to become more agile in their way of working. PTTEP initially relied on internal R&D to develop their technologies, but after realizing that they can have better access to technology & know-how regarding AI and robotics, and also move faster by working with startups, they shifted their approach. This shift in direction supported by company leadership led to the creation of ARV.
In summary, the three aforementioned cases showcase innovation to assist unbanked farmers, female students, and AI spin-off company from large corporates. These innovations bring about positive outcomes for businesses as well as having real impacts on society.