The Brilliant Minds Maker Labs session was held on 8 December during the PETRONAS Group ICT Digital Day 2016. Conducted by the Digital Innovation, Strategy and Architecture (DISA) team, it featured speakers Devtar Singh and Mohamed M Elbadwihi, who was assisted by Azlee B Shahrim, Eskandar Hardy M Zaini, and Azrul Nizam Suliman.
The workshop aimed at introducing the culture of innovation to PETRONAS employees, providing hands-on opportunity for them to learn about the Brilliant Minds programme as well as how to use prototyping methods to conceptualise and bring their ideas to life. The participants were comprised of a diverse community of PETRONAS employees who came from other locations such as Kerteh in Terengganu, and as far as Bintulu in Sarawak.
Devtar started off the session with an overview of the Brilliant Minds programme. He shared how the programme began two years ago, and how it focuses on digital innovation and promotion of the innovation culture among Group ICT staff. Taking the participants on a Brilliant Minds journey, Devtar also shared some of the projects that have been initiated through the programme.
The next speaker, Mohamed M Elbadwihi, introduced participants to the concept of "Maker Culture" or what Mohamed also termed as a "Do-It-Yourself" culture, before letting them experience first-hand how they can be makers and DIY their own mobile application prototypes.
Using the "Marvel" mobile application for designing and prototyping apps, participants were asked to work in teams to brainstorm new ideas for apps that could potentially provide solutions to some problems that they came across in the course of their work at PETRONAS.
One of the teams, "Digital Minds", came up with an app called "Be SAFE" that could be helpful not on ly for the safety of employees, but also to Business Continuity Coordinators or Fire Marshalls to track and report on employee headcounts for departments throughout the organisation in the event of emergency or during any fire drill exercise. They gave very detailed features that could be incorporated into the app such as being able to report effective response time to call trees by having users click on a button to capture it, as well as being able to use the app to provide specific location of any employees who send out SOS signals through the app to seek help.
Another team, called "Green Line", proposed a project management application that functions like a personal assistant to help project managers effectively monitor pending tasks, highlight work progresses and percentage of work completed. They incorporated features that allow people to share ideas using voice or video chat/forum at all stages of the project, as well as easily share working documents through the app.
Meanwhile, team "Stan Lee" came up with the idea for a one-stop information centre for PETRONAS. The suggestion was that through the app, employees can easily type in any query they have into a search box and within seconds receive related information to help them, just like an internal search engine built into an app. From being able to find out how to obtain an access card to linking up with a direct contact point to provide further assistance on queries, the team feels that the app can provide useful suggestions for employees keen on quick answers on general PETRONAS-related queries at their fingertips.
Before uploading their ideas into the "Marvel" prototyping app, the participants drew illustrations for their mobile application prototypes – the teams worked well despite most of them being random strangers to each other.
Once the prototypes were ready, team representatives took turns to give presentations on their innovative solutions. The "Makers" pride at their new innovations were apparent on the faces of the representatives who presented, as well as their team members', when their ideas were well-received by the audience.
Overall, the participants were pleased with being able to come up with a mobile prototype in under an hour. The Brilliant Minds team from DISA were also delighted that the session was a success and received good feedback from its participants. The team hopes to conduct similar sessions for other groups within PETRONAS in the future to fuel the organisation's innovation culture.