• Published Date: 19 Nov 2016

                Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, announced two enhancements to The Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living initiative today.  The enhancements seek to offer stronger support to help aspiring inventors turn their ideas into real solutions that would improve HDB living.  The two enhancements are :


    1. Enhanced Cool Ideas Fund – HDB will provide added financial support by fully funding the inventors’ efforts to develop their ideas into real solutions.  The inventors can apply for grants of up to $10,000.  There will no longer be a requirement for inventors to match dollar for dollar the amount disbursed.
    2. New “Cool Ideas Partners” – HDB will partner industry experts to help aspiring inventors maximise the full potential of their ideas.  Eight “Cool Ideas Partners”, who possess deep industry knowledge and expertise in various fields, will be brought on board to mentor the aspiring inventors.


    Enhanced Cool Ideas Fund – Full Funding by HDB, of up to $10,000 per Project


    2          The Cool Ideas Fund was first introduced in 2014 to help aspiring inventors turn their winning ideas into real solutions to improve HDB living.  Under this fund, a total of $600,000 was set aside to help winning participants of the “Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living” initiative, transform their mock prototypes into workable ones for actual test-bedding in HDB residential blocks, so that the prototypes can be commercialised if they choose to.


    3          To be eligible for the funding, the solutions proposed must be cost-effective, user-friendly, safe, durable and maintainable.  They must also be feasible for wider-scale implementation so that more can benefit from them.


    4          Capped at $10,000 for each feasible proposal, the funding helps to support the development cost, as well as the associated test-bedding costs of their prototype.  To ensure that awardees are committed to the process, they were required to match dollar for dollar, the grant received from HDB. 


    5          In a further boost to aspiring inventors, HDB will now fully fund the efforts to develop the ideas. While the grant will continue to be capped at $10,000 per proposal, inventors will no longer need to fork out money to match the funding dollar for dollar, making it easier for them to tap on the fund.


    New “Cool Ideas Partners” – Tapping on Industry Expertise to Mentor Aspiring Inventors


    6          To enable aspiring inventors to maximise the full potential of their ideas, HDB has brought on board eight “Cool Ideas Partners”, who possess deep industry knowledge and expertise in various fields.  These partners will mentor aspiring inventors who wish to develop their ideas for real-life application and commercialisation relevant to the partners’ specific industry. The list of “Cool Ideas Partners” is as follows :


    S/No Cool Ideas Partner Areas of Expertise
    1 Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) Furniture Design
    2 People’s Association Community
    3 3M Singapore Pte Ltd Product Innovations
    4 IBM Singapore Pte Ltd Applications, Information and Communications Technology
    5 Microsoft Singapore Applications, Information and Communications Technology
    6 Singtel Innov8 Information and Communications Technology
    7 City Developments Limited Sustainability
    8 SPRING Singapore Entrepreneurship


    7          Among the Cool Ideas Partners is 3M Singapore Pte Ltd.  Mr Arthur Fong, Director, Industrial Business Group, 3M China and 3M Hong Kong said, “At 3M, we apply our science and innovation to make a real impact in every person’s life. We are delighted that as a Cool Ideas Partner, we can help bring about more capabilities in turning the ideas from the community into practical solutions.”


    8          Annie Choy, the Managing Director of IBM Singapore, another Cool Ideas Partner said, “As an HDB Cool Ideas Partner, we look forward to collaborating with HDB to identify innovative ideas that can be used to improve the quality of life for citizens, especially in the areas of liveability and sustainability.”


     Contributing Ideas and Solutions


    9          Since the launch of the Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living initiative in 2011, HDB residents, as well as students and the community at large, have come together and generated more than 600 ideas aimed at improving the quality of life in HDB estates. The ideas include those that encourage eco-living, foster community bonding, and enhance the environment for the elderly. 


    10        HDB Chief Executive Officer, Dr Cheong Koon Hean said, “We are encouraged to see the enthusiasm of the community, who have shared more than 600 Cool Ideas to improve HDB living.  This shows that our HDB residents care deeply about their living environment, and desire to make lives better for everyone. By refining the funding approach and partnering with industry experts, we want to help more of them translate their Cool Ideas into real solutions that can improve the lives of our residents. Even if not all the solutions can be implemented, many of our participants have shared that they are happy to have participated and feel good that they have made a contribution. ” 


    11        One Cool Idea that has been developed into a commercial product is the gas hob with safety timer.  The product is the brain child of a group of students from Republic Polytechnic and Anglo Chinese Junior College.  Concerned by news reports of fires resulting from unattended cooking among the elderly, they hatched the Cool Idea of a gas hob fitted with a sensor and timer to pre-empt fires from unattended cooking.  City Gas has since worked with Aerogaz and the students to refine and commercialise this Cool Idea. They have developed a new line of gas hobs with features such as a digital timer that cuts off the gas supply at a set time, and a flame failure device that cuts off the gas supply when the flame goes out.  The gas hobs were launched in the market in 2015.


    Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living Exhibition


    12        The Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living Exhibition will be open from 19 to 21 November 2016, at the HDB Hub Atrium. A total of 20 innovative Cool Ideas and prototypes will be displayed.  Visitors will also have the chance to test out some of these inventions. Visit the HDB Facebook for more details.


    Background to the Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living Initiative and Cool Ideas Fund


    13          First mooted by then Minister for National Development, Khaw Boon Wan, the Cool Ideas initiative is part of an ongoing effort to co-create solutions for better living with HDB residents. Since the campaign's launch in 2011, HDB has engaged the public regularly through three different platforms under the Cool Ideas umbrella:


    1. Constituency Competitions (now known as Open Competitions) for residents;
    2. Design Competitions for students; and
    3. Calls for Ideas via Facebook for the online community at large.
    4. The new HDB Cool Ideas Hack is the latest platform, for those who are keen to develop ICT-based solutions for better HDB living.


    14        By involving the community and enabling residents to come up with ideas based on their own experiences, HDB hopes to encourage a greater sense of ownership among residents, over their homes and living environment.