Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Two firms join Next Consortium

INNOVATION Chunghwa Telecom and Productivity Architect have joined the consortium, which aims to help firms shift away from contract manufacturing

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Creativity Lab (創意中心), a division under the quasi-official Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院), announced yesterday that it had added two new members to its Next Consortium (新世代創意聯盟).

The two new companies are Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation's largest telecom operator, and Taichung-based Productivity Architect Co (生產力建設).

The Next Consortium was launched in December 2004, to encourage Taiwanese companies to make the shift from a contract-manufacturing mindset to embrace innovation.

It serves as a platform for collaboration across disciplines and industries, aiming to develop methodologies for team creativity and create an environment for innovative thinking and the realization of new ideas.

"Chunghwa Telecom has been bringing in stable revenues over the years, but we haven't seen any huge jumps in the figures. In the competitive telecom industry, we need unconventional ideas to introduce more innovative services, which will help us create higher sales growth," Hsieh Chun-ming (謝俊明), president of Chunghwa Telecom's central Taiwan business group, told reporters.

The participation of Chunghwa Telecom and Productivity Architect brings the total number of consortium members to eight.

Other members include automaker Sanyang Industry Co (三陽工業), chipset designer VIA Technologies Inc (威盛電子), glass artwork company Liuligongfang (琉璃工房), precision transmission component maker Hiwin Technologies Corp (上銀科技), projector and rear-projection TV producer Chi Lin Optronics Inc (奇菱光電) and sanitary-ware manufacturer Hocheng Corp (和成欣業).

"The diverse disciplines of member companies will allow us to exchange ideas to pave the way for innovation," Hsieh said.

According to Chang Chung-hung (張忠弘), chairman of Productivity Architect, architecture should integrate the beauty of technology, the arts and the humanities into buildings, and the company hopes to borrow ideas implemented by Sanyang Industry or Liuligongfang and apply them to architecture.

To join the consortium, members need to pay an annual fee ranging from NT$1 million (US$30,390) to NT$6.8 million.

The department of industrial technology under the Ministry of Economic Affairs will subsidize 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost.

"This year, we hope to create more examples of success from cooperation among members. This will help us expand membership in the future, as innovation is still an abstract concept and involves a lot of uncertainties," the lab's general director Hsueh Wen-jean (薛文珍) said.

Creativity Lab was formed in March 2004 with the aim of emulating the success of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, established in 1985 and known worldwide for facilitating creativity, which pioneered collaboration between academia and industry.

With a partnership with Media Lab, Creativity Lab aims to promote innovation among Taiwanese enterprises and encourage cross-sector cooperation.

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