Generating Innovative Energy

April 17, 2019

Humanity's fascination and observation of electricity have long been documented since Ancient Egypt dating back from 2750 BCE with their awe and shock of the 'electric fish', aptly referred to as "Thunderer of the Nile". Fast forward to the late 19th century, prominent figures such as Alexander Graham Bell, Ott� Bl�thy, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, to name a few, turned electricity from a scientific wonder into an indispensable instrument of our modern life. Even so, there is a growing need for continuous innovation within energy organisations as most governments and consumers around the world are prioritising clean energy. To rise up for it, a group of representatives from Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) flew in for the Innovation Week and Design Jam 2019 held at MaGIC Cyberjaya.At the end of the Innovation Week and Design Jam 2019 (as well as the week after), we spoke with Ernie Zainie and her colleagues on what they have learnt from the two events and their innovation plans for SESB in the coming future.All the Way from Land Below the WindOn the first day of the Innovation Week, an excited group of four individuals with their luggage led by a lead-apparent smiling lady with a selfie stick, Ernie Zainie, entered the MaGIC building. Followed closely behind Ernie were her equally jovial colleagues: Hafiz Alfiansyah Polus Abdullah (a SESB technician), Oilyn @ Dayang Junainah binti Uddin (SESB Strategy Executive) and Siti Noraisah binti Musneh (SESB Strategy Executive).Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) is an electrical government-linked company (GLC) that generates, transmits and distributes electricity mainly in Sabah and Federal Territory of Labuan. It supplies electrical power to 413,983 customers distributed over a wide area of 74,000 km2. 82.8% of the customers are domestic customers consuming only 28.8% of the power generated. SESB employs more than 2,300 employees and the main stakeholders of this company are Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Sabah State Government.Throughout Innovation Week & Design JamInnovation Week was an expanded initiative by MaGIC to advocate design and its elements as an innovation enabler. It was more challenging and meaningful this year as it consisted of representatives from different government agencies, community builders and startups. With more than 800 registered participants, Innovation Week's talks and sessions have impacted more than 7,000 individuals - Ernie and her team were among those individuals.If you have had the opportunity to meet Ernie Zainie - a Senior Manager of Strategy and Lead Coordinator for the Corporate Innovation Programme, the one thing you will notice would be her signature blue-white selfie stick which, she told us, always becomes an ice breaker topic for networking and making friends. The close-knitted aura this group emitted has us reminisced of those nostalgic bitter-sweet high school friendships everyone used to have. The second thing one would notice is the group's punctuality and infectious motivation, "We always feel that if we're late to a session, it's gonna be a waste to miss out," Siti Noraisah explained, "the line up of sessions were great and we couldn't bear to miss a single one." At the end of each talk session of the Innovation Week, you could see Ernie leading the audience with her signature call, "Okay, last one: group selfie!"On the 13th to 14th March, the Design Jam 2019 was coordinated during Innovation Week. Originally, Design Jam was an internal hackathon to empower MaGIC employees to be even more creative and innovative in their day-to-day work and elevate further to better represent MaGIC's brand. When it was done last year, MaGICians shared their experiences on social media and it stimulated the curiosity of partners, government agencies and startups - they asked if they could be included in future Design Jam, if available. On that account, MaGIC decided to make public and scale up the internal hackathon with relevant talks and activities which named as Innovation Week including an invite-only Design Jam session. The Design Jam 2019 was joined by 84 participants from MaGIC's partners, government agencies' representatives and individuals from startup communities.When asked about her experience during Design Jam, Ernie began with an enthusiastic smile, "It was satisfying and challenging. We were separated into different groups which were based on themes set by the organising committee. The facilitators, who are MaGIC employees, did their best in educating the participants on resources and learning materials on Design Thinking and Design Sprint. The biggest challenge was doing a Design Sprint in a span of two days than the usual five days but it was a challenge that everyone performed amazingly. It was great to be able to get to know different people from different backgrounds and work towards a common goal. I do, however, wished that we had more time."We also asked which talk session was the best in the week, the group joked and agreed, "All of them!" and a trail of laughter followed. Oilyn added, "We couldn't play favourites for the talk sessions, everyone would disagree which was the best! Each talk was amazing and the line-up of talk sessions was consistent in quality. The examples of kids doing business as part of their curriculum in Anne Tham's session or the storytelling session by Raymond Miranda, those were just the ones that I remembered fondly and it has inspired and motivated me during the week!" As Oilyn ended her sentence, Ernie continued, "I particularly love the last session with Alsu Kashapova. She talked about a what-if scenario of non-physical schools and a daily practice of mindfulness. She also did the breathing exercise which is extremely helpful and relaxing. It felt amazing to practice being in the present and it was a great way (and session) to end the week."Design Jam, The Week AfterWhen Ernie and the team went back to Sabah, the first thing that they did back at work was knowledge sharing. Seeing that Ernie is currently the Senior Manager of Strategy (focusing on strategic management and performance delivery) and Lead Coordinator for the Corporate Innovation Programme, it is easy to begin internal executions of Design Thinking and Design Sprint in her team's day-to-day work. "While it makes executions easier (being in a leadership position), the challenge here," she explained, "is to get everyone on board and be excited about Design Thinking. We are glad that the experience from the two-day Design Jam is helping us in making the process smoother and easier. The digital resources and learning materials we used during the Design Jam are still available to access which makes things even better."During the two-day Design Jam, participants were provided with a box of necessities and an instruction paper with a link to a compilation of online resources and learning materials for Design Thinking and Design Sprint.When we asked how are they using Design Thinking in SESB, Hafiz shared with child-like excitement, "SESB is producing a lot of electricity that is way above the demand of the people of Sabah. However, if we look at the numbers, the demand is increasing but supply production is stagnating but is still above the demand's threshold. Looking ahead, we are bound to face a shortage soon. So how might we address our current excess supply of electricity so we could use them in the future? Design Thinking is helping us in coming up with potential solutions for that challenge. Maybe an electrical storage unit or portable power bank, who knows? We'll see, the possibilities are endless."