The first thing I reached out for in the cabin was the champagne and even though it wasn’t real, it felt like the thing to do when one is flying in a space that’s decked out to look more like a Japanese onsen with soft steam billowing all around than the kind of prosaic cabin I am more used to.
I am at KrisLab, the Singapore Airlines’ “playroom” (my term), where I am trying out the Virtual Reality (VR) experience in which designers get to experiment and create the next big thing in product.
I guess this is as close as I will ever get to this first class cabin of the future. With my VR headset on – when will these sets stop being so clunky – I can touch the wood of the bar and the fabric of the seats.
KrisLab was set up by Singapore Airlines earlier this year as a collaborative workplace to encourage its employees to innovate as well as for the airline to work with startups, accelerators and other industry partners. Located within the Changi Sports Club, it’s open and easily accessible (without having to go through the stringent security checks in other buildings in this vicinity) and clearly it must be working because the space is being expanded as I write this.
Jerome Thil: “Other than credit, staff do not get monetary incentives for contributing ideas …”
So far, staff have contributed up to 500 ideas, out of which 60 have been developed into working prototypes and 11 are in production, said Jerome Thil, vice president, digital innovation. About half of the ideas are customer-facing while the other half are related to operations.
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