Cool Innovations Sharpen Company’s Competitive Edge

CapitaLand ICE ideas add value while reducing waste for the Group

Issue: Apr 2013

Embracing innovation and change is part of ICE, an excellent way of getting CapitaLand employees to add value in all that they do
Embracing innovation and change is part of ICE, an excellent way of getting CapitaLand employees to add value in all that they do

Central to the beliefs and practices of one of Asia’s largest real estate companies, CapitaLand, is a set of guiding principles that define its very DNA. The Group’s six core values – people as its strength, a commitment to integrity, courage to do the right thing, determination to add value, fair and reasonable in dealings, and the desire to contribute to the well-being of the community - underpin its culture and the way it operates.

To get its staff to draw deep from their resources and make adding value, one of the company’s core values, CapitaLand launched the ICE (Innovation, Creativity, Entrepreneurship) programme in 2007. It was the Group’s effort to get its employees to embrace change as a means of getting and staying ahead.

Since then, the company has developed several platforms to promote the ICE philosophy. At ICE Camp, employees are equipped with the tools and techniques needed to generate ideas. 40 ICE Camps in 12 cities involving over 1,200 participants have so far been organised.

(Left) An ICE Camp in Singapore in December 2012 and (Right) an ICE Camp in Shanghai in July the same year – CapitaLand seeks to bring ICE to wherever its employees are
(Left) An ICE Camp in Singapore in December 2012 and (Right) an ICE Camp in Shanghai in July the same year – CapitaLand seeks to bring ICE to wherever its employees are

In Singapore, ICE Share provides for successful business leaders and corporations to share with the staff their expertise and experiences in being innovative, creative and entrepreneurial. Through 17 of such talks and visits, more than 850 employees have benefitted. ICE Share has become so successful, it is being introduced in China.

Through ICEberg, employees can contribute their ideas online. Coupled with a direct award system, this has resulted in numerous ideas generated. These are the stories of the men and women who took ICE to heart and have added value to CapitaLand through their innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Recycling to Add Value

(Left) Staff like Lew Yen Ping (second from left) take the ICE philosophy to heart and constantly come up with ideas that add value to the company; (Right) Lew (centre) at the herb garden at Ascott Makati, a project that seeks to introduce greenery to the serviced residence
(Left) Staff like Lew Yen Ping (second from left) take the ICE philosophy to heart and constantly come up with ideas that add value to the company; (Right) Lew (centre) at the herb garden at Ascott Makati, a project that seeks to introduce greenery to the serviced residence

Lew Yen Ping, Area Manager, Hanoi, The Ascott Limited is no stranger to innovation. She spearheaded a number of green ideas, such as the Green Meeting package in Ascott Makati when she was previously working in the Philippines. Complete with, among other things, the use of recycled paper, personalised water goblets that replace disposable cups and an eco-menu that uses less cooking and less energy, the package lets eco-minded executives conduct meetings that are sensitive to the environment.

So, it comes as no surprise that two of the ideas she submitted to the ICE programme were selected and implemented with great success – Make the Room Lite and Shoe Box Drive.

Make the Room Lite allows guests to opt out of daily housekeeping services to save on water, electricity and chemicals needed to clean the rooms
Make the Room Lite allows guests to opt out of daily housekeeping services to save on water, electricity and chemicals needed to clean the rooms

Make the Room Lite lets guests opt out of daily housekeeping services. By reducing the number of days in which housekeeping services are provided, water, electricity and chemicals used to clean the rooms can be saved.

“The hospitality industry uses a lot of energy in its laundry and housekeeping services so much so that there has been increasing criticism of that we are contributing to pollution,” said Lew.

“Because Ascott is a market leader, we want to become number one in implementing change as well. Exacting environmental change is part of our social responsibility as a leader. That’s why I have been so keen to initiate green practices.”

Those who choose to skip the housekeeping for the day are given F& B vouchers which make for a win-win situation for all.

“The residents are given F&B credit of Php100,000 per day. The reward is not only to thank the residents for a good cause, but also helps to boost up the F&B business.”

Shoe Box Drive, which encourages residents and staff to donate their unwanted shoe boxes and carton boxes to be sold, turns trash into cash
Shoe Box Drive, which encourages residents and staff to donate their unwanted shoe boxes and carton boxes to be sold, turns trash into cash

50 residents have since signed up to be part of the programme which works out to a whole year’s worth of no housekeeping services. This is estimated to save Ascott Makati Php 50,000,000 a year. The idea has since been introduced in Ascott serviced residences throughout the world.

Shoe Box Drive, which encourages staff and residents to donate their shoe boxes, cartons and other boxes, was born out of the search for more things to recycle.

“Carton boxes and shoe boxes are good recyclable materials and can sell for good money. We use the money gained from the recycling programmes to fund our other green initiatives,” said Lew.

“As for the employees, we set up a big box at the staff area to collect shoe boxes from the staff. To lead by example, I was the first one who donated my shoe boxes.”

The idea has since been implemented at the three other Somerset properties in Makati.


Going Paper-less to Add Value

Senior Executive, Human Resource Shared Services, Cecilia Chow came up with a paper-less, hassle-free way of keeping track of the distribution of medical insurance cards.

“We check, sort and distribute dental and health insurance cards to employees annually. To make sure that no card is lost, we enclose a list with the cards for them to acknowledge their receipt of it. That hard copy then goes back to us for our tracking and filing purposes,” explained Chow.

Cecilia Chow’s (right) e-acknowledgement idea means that receipt of medical insurance cards can be easily traced and tracked
Cecilia Chow’s (right) e-acknowledgement idea means that receipt of medical insurance cards can be easily traced and tracked

But the process was tedious and not always fool proof since there can be as many as 1,000 cards that have to be given out and tracked each year.

“So, I thought of using e-acknowledgements instead because it would make it easier for people to respond and for us to track the responses,” said Chow.

These electronic acknowledgements are linked to the person’s e-mails which also send out reminders when they forget to reply when they had received the cards. The system enables HR to detect those who really did not receive their cards much earlier and to react promptly.

“We didn’t even need to write a computer programme to do this,” said Chow.

Although the cost savings may not be quantifiable, the greater efficiency and ease the ICE idea has afforded are beyond measure.

In ways big and small, the staff of CapitaLand are imbuing the spirit of ICE – to innovate, create and be entrepreneurial and, thereby, to add value to their work every day.

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