Designing Asia 2.0

Qi Global, October 12, 2011

Innovation Summit held in Singapore on October 12–14th, 2011


An international innovation network, Qi GLOBAL, recently hosted an event at the Goodman Arts Centre in Singapore. Designing Asia 2.0 attracted more than 300 participants who heard notable figures including Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and President of Timor-Leste. He gave the keynote address.


He was followed by speakers such as Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Chairwoman of Alola Foundation, Sanjeev Sanyal, Founder of Sustainable Planet Institute, and Singapore’s top chef Andre Chiang.


The presenters shared information on ten topics on the first day ranging from Impact Investment, Leadership and Innovation, Energy to Youth Ambition and Education and Women Empowerment. On Day 2 the participants were divided into ten pods based on the topics that interested them. This gave them the opportunity to share projects, explore collaborations and discuss trends.


Qi 2011’s revolutionary conference format was well-received. On the first day, Qi contributors shared their projects on ten topics ranging from Impact Investment, Leadership & Innovation, Energy and Technology to Youth. Ambition and Education and Women Empowerment. On the second day, participants were divided into ten pods
based on their topics of interest. The pods provided participants an intimate setting to share projects, explore collaborations and discuss top trends in each topic.

“The theme this year is Designing Asia 2.0. We believe an active and thriving innovation culture is essential for Singapore and Asia to reach the next level of development. We define innovation culture as an upgraded industrial culture, where we take the best from the west and the best from the east."



Qi connects some of the leading innovators across different countries and industries. In any context, innovators and early adaptors make up maximum 15% of people. But at Qi 2011, innovators make up 100% of the audience! Today many are questioning the real value of a single minded pursuit of prosperity and wealth. Our goal is to combine economic growth and human progress with creativity, passion, inspiration and innovation. The amount of good energy (Chinese character Qi) at this meeting will lead to overall prosperity for all of us, including Nature.


Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste, delivered the keynote address on the opening night. He talked about how to use the right business models to lift people out of extreme poverty and desperation. 


Timor-Leste: An opportunity for creatives and entrepreneurs by Jose Ramos-Horta from MAMAKAN on Vimeo


(L-R) President Dr. Ramos-Horta; Mamakan, Co-founder of Qi GLOBAL; Dr. Cathy Henkel, film director and producer.

(L-R) President Dr. Ramos-Horta; Mamakan, co-founder of Qi GLOBAL; Dr. Cathy Henkel, film director and producer


President Ramos-Horta receives a sculpture by local artist Seok Tin as a token of appreciation.

President Ramos-Horta receives a sculpture by local artist Seok Tin as a token of appreciation


President Jose Ramos-Horta shares his thoughts on how new business models can have a positive impact on developing nations.

President Jose Ramos-Horta shares his thoughts on how new business models can have a positive impact on developing nations


Film producer Eiji Han Shimizu brought the first HAPPY movie screening to Singapore. Happiness is our most valued emotion, but what truly make us happy? To find the answer, Eiji decided to embark on a global happiness expedition with the academy-nominated film director, Roko Belic. From Namibian desert villages to Brazilian beaches, they listened to real-life stories of people and interviewed the leading scientists in happiness research.

John Roberts, Founder of Heal the World, launched online Open University of West Africa, an initiative that brings free world class education to African youths. He also invited Singapore university students to be online mentors for their African peers. 


Grace Sai, Founder of Books for Hope, is bringing the Hub to Singapore in 2012. The Hub is a 3,000+ sq. ft. co-working space for change makers. It gathers the region's social and environmental entrepreneurs, innovators and investors into a community of synergy. There are already 28 hubs around the world for over 4000 change makers.

Sudarshan Khanna, Founder of Toys for Tomorrow, stated that schools should bring in local story tellers, gardeners and farmers to talk to kids, ensuring that they grow up knowing about local culture and traditions. Sudarshan talked about his vision for school and demonstrated educational toys he designed.


Reese Fernandez, Founder of Rags2Riches, forecasts 'recycled' as the new fashion. Her team gets scraps from slums or some fashion brands factories and recycles those scraps into beautiful high value bags through working with top Philippine designers. Rags2Riches employs 300 women who used to live in Manila waste dumps and shares 40 per cent of the retail price for each item with those women. Rags2Riches also empowers those women through training in personal finance, health insurance and nutrition. 

Pasha Bakhtiar, Managing Partner of WillowTree Impact Investors, urged impact investing in SMEs across social sectors from clean energy to community housing. Smaller amount of money, bigger impact. Qi 2011 was sponsored by Aviva, BMW Asia, Diageo, Novozymes and WillowTree Impact Investors.





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