AImaginarium is a community run by like-minded innovators in DBS. A network that provides inspiration and support. The speaker this month is chef Enoch Teo of E & I Food Concepts which was awarded a grant in 2015 by the DBS Foundation as part of its Social Enterprise Grant Programme.
Imaginariums are internal events usually opened for the DBS staff but they happened to extend the invite to the external community this time round and I'm so glad to receive the invitation for this seminar.
Greeted with a hearty breakfast curated by Chef Enoch Teo himself. Having a good breakfast is a good start to the day! E&I Food Concepts is the Company that runs Garcons which sells affordable French Cuisines.
A little background about Chef Enoch Teo. Being a graduate of the Sunrice Global Chef Academy, Enoch discovered his passion in cooking at the young age of 15 when he was working at a zi-char stall. He decided to pursue his interest in French cuisine and has worked at several top restaurants such as Restaurant Andre, Absinthe, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, The Cliff, and Bistro du Vin (by Les Amis Group) before. He was one of the winners of Concours Cuisine at the age of 19. Today, at age 27, he has set up and co-run this social enterprise, E & I Food Concepts with a partner that give a second chance by providing employment, mentorship and training programmes for ex-offenders.
However, before he became who he is now, there's actually a not so glamourous past of him that he shared with us too. Mixed with the wrong company, he dropped out of school at age 14, get involved in gangs and drugs, went into rehabilitation and lost his best friend to drug when they both agreed to turn over a new leaf. He considered himself lucky as his passion in cooking has saved his life.
Now, he feels that his everyday life is like going to the library, not on the knowledge from books kind of learning but more on the practical kind of study in life. By hiring ex-offenders, they provide them a chance to redeem themselves and that hope they need in order not to give up on themselves.
Beside having a social cause in his business, he has also implemented a self-ordering system for menu at the Timbre+ outlet. This is quite an essential innovative move to prevent orders from being taken wrongly due to the loud music playing in the background at that outlet.
A great sharing for the day. It goes to show that no matter what kind of past a person had, if there's a will to change and with some stroke of luck, good timing and meeting the right people, one's life can be changed too.
Shortly after the seminar, we had a short tour of the DBS Asia X (DAX), 1 Fusionopolis View. It's a rather new, modern and open-concept office. How I envy the staff working here. It seems like they are always in a group doing brainstorming together.
The first innovative thing that we were introduced to is this smart fridge from CryoWerx. It's locked and to use this, one have to scan a QR code to unlock the door, once you've grab the food you want, you close the door and payment is automatically deducted when the door close. Was told that many staff were intrigued by this and tried to break the system but failed.
The special corner for those on special projects and only this area has a doors that keeps outsiders away.
Next, we were introduced to the POSB Smart Buddy which is a wearable watch for kids to make payments at school. This allows the parents to manage and monitor their kids spending and savings. This technology is the first in Singapore and is currently on pilot at Anchor Green Primary and St. Joseph Junior.
Another innovation from DBS is this Virtual Assistant called KAI. KAI is a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform that allows consumers to bank "conversationally" with them on Facebook Messenger. The days of conventional logging in to banking mobile app might soon be replace with a simple chats on FB.
This POSB Video Teller Machine (VTM) operates 24/7 and will be launched at multiple locations this April. Customers can perform transactions such as getting a new debit card or internet banking token instantly. Real-time support from a customer service officer via live video-streaming is provided should customers require assistance. Another good initiative to give customers access beyond the banking hours.
Moving on, is this huge, interactive big screen known as the DBS Location Analytics. This simple interface allows users to understand the micro and macro transaction patterns in different areas of Singapore.
After touring and understanding more about these different initiatives that DBS will be rolling out, I felt really amazed that beside banking, they are constantly improving and innovating themselves. This is indeed in-line with the Smart Nation that Singapore is transiting into. My next post would be on another great DBS innovation called the DBS FasTrack, using mobile app to order and pay for food and receive notification to collect your food. Sounds interesting? Check out my next post.