On November 16, the Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI) announced plans to explore partnerships with Malaysian companies as part of its global expansion plans. TDRI’s president Chang Chi-Yi (pic) shared that TDRI is actively reaching out to local Malaysian organizations and businesses to forge partnerships by introducing Taiwanese design abilities.
Established in 2020 with the aim of capitalizing on Taiwan’s strengths in design and to drive industrial development and overall economic growth, the TDRI provides policy design, industrial innovation, public service design, and social innovation design.
Investing in Malaysia
TDRI is a national design promotion agency supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), and its budget for the promotion of design in new southbound countries has grown over the years.
“Starting in the 1990s, with government aids, many Taiwanese businesses relocated to the southbound markets. The implementation of the New Southbound Policy in 2015 further illustrated the government’s faith in the southbound markets and their prospects,” explained Chang.
Chang mentioned that as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Malaysian businesses badly, TDRI is looking to partner with Malaysian businesses to provide design support in recovering from the negative impact of the pandemic.
Benefits for Malaysian Businesses in Incorporating Taiwanese Designs
“Taiwan and Malaysia have similar industrial structures. In recent years, the design transition of Taiwanese enterprises has been extremely successful, and we hope to share this experience with our Southeast Asian friends, helping Southeast Asian industries to also generate high value-added services and products, while creating market differentiation to further the growth and development,” said Chang.
In 2019, TDRI brought designers directly to Malaysia for collaborative projects with local enterprises. With the pandemic this year, TDRI continues to execute the projects through virtual methods, and have inadvertently enabled more designers and companies to participate and get to know each other.
“Having previously conducted online Business Matching sessions with 17 selected Malaysian companies in July, we continue to explore partnerships with Malaysian businesses so that we can share our knowledge of design to help them increase their competitiveness. This project will definitely continue to be implemented next year,” Chang remarked.
Using Design as a Competitive Strategy
TDRI observes that most businesses do not invest enough in design as they do not realize its importance. It believes in using design as a strategy to drive industrial design and innovation to give rise to high value-added design knowledge and applications.
“In this digital era, businesses can utilize the power of design to unleash their maximum potential. We believe that TDRI can professionally provide design solutions to help companies by improving their packaging design, corporate identify, service design, branding and strategy, and product design,” Chang said.
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Taiwan has been one of the most successful places in the world in dealing with the pandemic. So far, it has had only 724 confirmed cases and seven deaths and has never had to go into lockdown. The country’s impressive success battling COVID-19 has been largely attributed to early and strict border controls, proactive usage of face masks, a ban on foreign visitors and mandatory quarantine for all Taiwanese returning home.
“We’re proud that Taiwan has successfully controlled the spread of COVID-19. So, based on that, this year, TDRI turns to healthcare and public design,” said Chang.
TDRI had the opportunity to build the smart epidemic prevention wards with Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital (one of Taiwan leading educational hospital) and MiniWiz Corporation (one of Taiwan prestigious design company) together, which is called MAC WARD.
“The prevention wards are adaptable, convertible, and quick-assembly based. Within just 48 hours, the wards can be assembled according to ambient conditions in any kind of emergency moment,” explained Chang.
To be well-equipped in facing the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the future, Chang mentioned that TDRI would like to share this model with the world to redevelop different types of equipment required in hospitals and share its successful experiences with the global market.