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What innovation means for the workforce as we all move into a greener economy

What innovation means for the workforce as we all move into a greener economy

Employees need the necessary skillsets to reinvent traditional practices before they develop smart technologies, say Eva Wong and Johnson Luu, Head of HR APAC, and Marketing Director APAC, respectively at CHINT.

The topic of climate change has been in the news for over a hundred years. One of the oldest articles in a New Zealand newspaper, dated back to 1912, foresaw that burning coal might result in future global warming. True enough, climate change has today topped headlines, driving increasing concerns that there is a 50% chance of the average global temperature reaching 1.5°C above pre-industry levels in the next five years. In our world today, governments, businesses, and communities are urgently formulating and refining policies and solutions to help tackle climate change.

The urgency of the matter is universal – the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entity was formed to support the global response to the threat of climate change. At the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference COP27, UNFCCC leveraged the Global Innovation Hub, a digital platform that facilitates collaboration between innovators and investors to ideate and develop climate and sustainability solutions, to speak on transformative climate solutions. One of the focuses of the hub is to continually explore new ways to generate clean energy and drive climate action.

Per the UNFCCC: "Innovation in the field of climate action is crucial to support both behavioural and system changes necessary to shift the needle when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to climate change."

Undoubtedly, innovation is pivotal to promoting transformative climate solutions. But what does it look like at an organisational or business level? Importantly, what kind of innovation is needed to change mindsets and sufficiently “shift the needle”?

Nurturing a mindset for innovation

In an attempt to address the questions above, let’s zoom into Singapore as a case in point. The Singapore Green Plan 2030 was launched in 2021 to galvanise a movement and advance the national agenda on sustainable development. It charts ambitious yet concrete targets for the country over the next 10 years, involving businesses, communities, and individuals to make sustainable living a reality. Interestingly, we can perceive this movement as a necessary system change that encourages new consumption patterns, to convince the nation to take a step closer to sustainability and be creative in reducing its carbon footprint.

More than just a sustainable mindset, nurturing our people with the right skills to impact structure changes is also pivotal. Echoing this is Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, Low Yen Ling. At Youth@SIEW 2022 – a key outreach platform held during the annual Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) to engage tertiary educators, she shared: "A well-equipped workforce is needed to support our energy transition and to achieve our green goals. With a vibrant pool of skills and talents, we can capture the growth potential of the emerging green economy here and in the region."

MOS Low Yen Ling highlighted that with sufficient knowledge and skillsets, our youth can act on the green goals to achieve a more sustainable tomorrow.

eva wong chint

Planting the seeds of innovation through education

While technological innovation is important to improve our means of developing and harnessing alternative energy sources, navigating the energy transition also involves nurturing top-tier talent, and best if done so early. 

We must equip the leaders of tomorrow and empower them with knowledge, skillsets, and courage to shape a more sustainable tomorrow. We must plant the seeds of innovation among youth to ignite the spark in them to create needle-moving solutions for the sector and make positive impacts on communities.

They need the necessary skillsets to first think strategically and reinvent traditional practices before they design renewable systems or develop smart technologies for energy infrastructure. At CHINT, with talent as the backbone of our innovation capabilities, we believe in investing in talent to accelerate next-generation innovations. They need to be equipped with the right soft and hard skills in order to fully leverage technology to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable energy industry.

When we speak about education, it is a continuous process to ensure current and future talent are well-trained to meet the ever-changing needs of the energy sector. This is seen in our partnership with Singapore Polytechnic (SP), a local tertiary school, to launch the SP-CHINT Smart Electrical Power Training Lab. The lab helps students experience how energy is deployed and how to reduce carbon emissions in a safe and realistic environment using the latest smart energy technology. Students can interact with features from CHINT Sunlight’s switchboards not typically found in traditional panels, such as smart temperature sensors for 24/7 fault and wear monitoring, smart meters for improving electrical efficiency, and smart Human Machine Interface (HMI) for condition monitoring.

As we know, education is more than providing a short-term solution – it involves passing on key knowledge. In this collaboration, our outreach does not stop at providing the technology, we couple it with internship and technical training opportunities as part of a mentorship programme.

johnson luu chint

Our educational outreach goes beyond students. At CHINT, our employees are empowered to reimagine innovations to push the boundaries of smart energy. In 2019, we established the CHINT College to inspire our employees on the power of infinite possibilities. What’s special about the training that we offer our employees is that we have intentionally designed our pedagogies to include the use of creative games and discussion sessions that are meant for the collision of ideas. The objective is to continuously empower our top-notch scientists and engineers to develop future-proof solutions.

Our efforts have been paying off through the results that our people bring from research and development. In the same year that we established our CHINT college, we were also awarded the Excellence Award by the National Intellectual Property Administration for our software solutions used in innovative metering. Over decades of working closely with energy utilities, CHINT has invested in in-depth research to develop electronic metering products based on digital signal processing and robust communications for very demanding applications. We have been able to apply our extensive industry experience to produce feature-rich, best-of-breed meters and metering solutions that meet and exceed today’s smart metering requirements.

From an industry level, at our new CHINT Innovation Lab and Asia Pacific Headquarters, we invite businesses, organisations, and communities to come together, explore, and be inspired by a myriad of leading-edge solutions. The Asia Pacific Headquarters is also a nurturing environment that invites aspiring youth to join the emerging smart energy industry.

The transition to renewable energy is a complex process that will undoubtedly take several stages and the involvement of multiple stakeholders. Nevertheless, upskilling the talent pipeline and empowering human innovation are part of the primary, necessary stages. As we move into a greener economy, let us drive innovation in the form of talent development, not forgetting that nurturing the next generation is pivotal to building a more intelligent and more sustainable future.

Lead image / Shutterstock
In-line authors' images / Provided

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