We Want Change. When Do We Want It? Now!
PORTFOLIO Magazine|August 2020
We're offering this story for free to read so that you can stay updated on the COVID-19 outbreak
We Want Change. When Do We Want It? Now!
If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past few months, change — and changing quickly — is the only way forward. From producing facial masks beyond the disposable variety to harnessing the power of an existing online platform, these companies adapted at the right moment to benefit both the business and the people that rely on them.
Anton D. Javier
It has not been “business as usual” for most companies in the past few months. In fact, everything has been so unusual and uncertain for most that they failed to adapt in order to survive a world marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In times of such confusion and uncertainty, how does one shift the business to adapt to a new reality? Where do you invest? Who do you look out for? What needs have to be addressed? And ultimately, what changes should be implemented to tide you — and the people depending on the business — over?

FROM SNORKELING MASK TO PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

For some companies like Gill™ Lab — which was founded in Singapore by partners Jean-Luc Fringeli, Lim Eng Seng, Ken S.K. Chuang, Cheong Siah Chong, and Veronica Chew — a new point-of-view was a good place to start. What resulted was Gill™ Mask: The unexpected brainchild between engineering design firm Mdesign Solutions and industrial design firm TITO Associati.

In August 2019, both companies collaborated on a project to design snorkeling masks. Their familiarity with facial contour features, user comfort, and enhanced fit would lead to the innovative design of the Gill™ Mask.

Gill™ Lab Sales and Marketing Head Ms. Chew shares, “During the COVID-19 surgical mask shortage in mid-February 2020, medical suppliers were rushing to find or produce more surgical masks. The Gill™ team decided to tackle the problem from a different angle to reduce surgical mask consumption and offer a more protective seal. Inspired by snorkeling masks and the ability to breathe underwater, the team used their expertise in designing medical devices and user experience to develop a safe, comfortable, and sustainable respirator suitable for both professionals and the public.”

Some individuals’ experience in med tech and product design came in handy during the creation of Gill™ Mask. “Our team’s years of experience and expertise helped us to zoom into the most critical design considerations, setting the priority clearly and systematically,” says Mdesign Solutions Founder and Director Mr. Cheong. “Comfort and protection were identified on top of sustainability for as mask, and we were able to execute this for Gill™ Mask in an easy-to-manufacture and cost-effective manner, and most importantly, ensure that our product has a good user experience. All these has aided us tremendously in our market penetration efforts during the initial product launch period and to get product acceptance by early adopters.”

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August 2020