Media Releases

Rotman School Partners with Singapore Polytechnic to launch DesignWorks Singapore

September 28, 2010

Singapore/Toronto – The birth of DesignWorks Singapore at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) has opened up a new avenue for business enterprises, sector associations, and government institutions in Singapore to identify opportunities for growth and innovation. Partnering with Rotman DesignWorks, which is part of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, SP aims to be the leader and champion in encouraging business enterprises in Singapore to integrate the discipline of Business Design into planning as a platform for innovation and growth.

For over five years, leaders at the Rotman School such as Dean Roger Martin and Heather Fraser, Director of Rotman DesignWorks, have been instrumental in helping drive Business Design into business, marketing and corporate culture of major corporations and entrepreneurs in North America.

Business Design is a disciplined methodology and a leading edge way of thinking that takes the best principles and practices from the world of design, and applies them to business strategy. Invited to contribute to the development of new skills that can help Singapore achieve its high ambitions for innovation and competitiveness, the Rotman School is poised to import their approach to Business Design into the Singapore market.

SP Principal Mr. Tan Hang Cheong revealed that for a start, SP staff are being equipped with Business Design capabilities and competency through Rotman’s Business Design Certification program. Together, SP and the Rotman School will offer a range of products and services designed to meet the needs of enterprises via DesignWorks Singapore. Mr. Tan added, “We share the belief that creativity and innovation is the next leap for enterprises and we have taken the first step to engage Business Design. Singapore Polytechnic, being the country’s first polytechnic, has the added advantage of deep knowledge in design, business, engineering and the sciences, plus broad experience gained from industry partnerships and translational research opportunities that have turned ideas into money-making products and services. SP is proud to partner with Rotman who is a world leader in Business Design.”

“Singapore has demonstrated one of the most ambitious commitments to design in the world – a true reflection on the forward-thinking stance Singapore is admired for around the world. The discipline of Business Design can bring an important new competency in identifying new opportunities, and shaping new strategies for accelerated growth and competitiveness in Singapore. Singapore Polytechnic has the depth of talent and conviction to take on an important leadership role in building a local competency in this discipline,” said Heather Fraser, Director, Rotman DesignWorks, who is also an adjunct professor at the Rotman School.

“SPRING Singapore has been encouraging our enterprises to innovate, and DesignWorks Singapore will introduce a new dimension of business thinking to benefit local companies. Through DesignWorks new business design program, enterprises can build up design capabilities and integrate their strategic thinking to achieve innovative growth for their businesses,” said Mr. Philip Yeo, Chairman, SPRING Singapore.

To date, twelve Singapore-based enterprises have participated in the Business Design Program conducted by Rotman DesignWorks and have identified opportunities by embedding Business Design into existing enterprise development practices.

One such enterprise is recently listed Jason Marine Group, a leading integrated marine equipment solutions provider established in 1976. Keen to grow and differentiate itself from its competitors, Jason Marine embarked on the Business Design program to create new breakthroughs for its business.

Mr. Joseph Foo, Executive Chairman and Founder of Jason Marine Group said, “We are glad for the opportunity to go through this exercise. The program has equipped us with the methodology to incorporate key systems into our process flow to ensure enhanced performance for the Group. With a better understanding of ourselves, our customers will also know what we can do for them.”

About Singapore Polytechnic (

Established in 1954 to meet the manpower needs identified by the government, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is Singapore’s first educational institution of its kind. Its nine academic schools offer 49 full-time diploma courses for its 15,000 students and courses are kept relevant through close links with industry and government bodies, as well as with various overseas institutions.

SP offers broad-based, multi-disciplinary and flexible curriculum dedicated to hands-on experience and is committed to the development of its applied research and development capability to enhance the quality of teaching and commercialization efforts. Beyond the classroom, close to 90 student clubs covering areas like arts, culture, sports and community service make student life vibrant and fulfilling. The presence of foreign students from countries such as China, India and Indonesia also provides a variety of cultures and perspectives, nurturing a global mindset in Singapore Polytechnic students.

Among SP’s 150,000 graduates are successful entrepreneurs, top executives in multinational and public-listed corporations, and well-known professionals, many of whom are captains of industries, university professors and researchers, and leaders in government.

About the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Rotman DesignWorks is the Rotman School’s centre for design-based innovation and education, focusing on Strategy and Business Design. As an academic and commercial ‘learning lab’, they have built strong ties to industry and a growing network of local and international partners. They offer degree programs as well as executive education programs to enterprising organizations across all sectors.

The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is redesigning business education for the 21st century with a curriculum based on Integrative Thinking. Located in the world’s most diverse city, the Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables the design of creative business solutions.  The School is currently raising $200 million to ensure Canada has the world-class business school it deserves. For more information, visit


For Information, please contact:

Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
Follow on Twitter – @rotmanschool