Singapore's government is challenging local companies to develop brand and design capabilities to differentiate themselves in competitive global markets.
International Enterprise Singapore, a state-owned trade promotion agency, has launched the Iconic Design Initiative to encourage companies to create innovative products. The agency, popularly known as IE Singapore, is piloting the initiative with several local companies, including Enzer Corp., Meiban Group, Qool Labs and Genometri.
``World-class design firms will be engaged to develop a collection of iconic designs'' targeted for launch at major trade shows such as the International Consumer Electronics Show in the United States and Cebit in Germany early next year, according to Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Second Minister for Trade and Industry. He announced the initiative at the opening of the International Design Forum, held Oct. 26-27 in Singapore.
Balakrishnan told delegates that design is much more than adding form and color to products, and that it no longer is a luxury or an afterthought in product development.
``Shaped by the ever-increasing sophistication and rapidly evolving needs of today's consumers, good design has become a necessary ingredient to market success,'' he stressed.
He also observed that some Asian companies, stereotypically known for their cost-competitive manufacturing, are seeking to enhance their competitiveness by realizing the value of good design. Balakrishnan pointed out that the 2005 Industrial Designers Society of America's IDEA awards contest saw more Asian winners than ever before.