In October 2021 Monash Food Innovation (MFI) in conjunction with Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association (SFMA), completed an 11-week, semester long, New Frontiers Innovation Program (NFIP).

Innovation immersions are all about sparking and colliding ideas and whilst we harboured ambitions to conduct this program in person, COVID-19 restrictions had other plans, and therefore we were back to delivering our content online. Fortunately, 2020’s New Frontiers Innovation Program had paved the way for online delivery, so we were confident our 2021 program would also be of the highest quality.

The New Frontiers Innovation Program 2021 was centred around ‘senior’ (over 65 years) Australians. The challenge was to provide better food and nutrition solutions for our rapidly ageing population by creating new products and services to extend and enhance their lifestyles. Driven by this ambition, we encouraged Singaporean Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) to introduce their food products or services into Australia by creating a more contemporary and sustainable offering, appropriate to Australian senior consumers. Five Singaporean SME’s were paired with five or six Monash University students from the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food and the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Faculty of Business and Economics.

Throughout the program, MFI taught the students a framework for innovation, which focuses on the initial (front end) steps of mastering the product development process. The students gained critical commercial and innovation knowledge in workshops led by MFI and our program partners, the Australian Institute of Packaging, the Global Centre for Modern Ageing, ideation specialist Susie White from Eat Drink Innovate, and retail specialist George Gekas from Badalya. The program culminated in a pitching night, where each group presented their outstanding ideas and received feedback from a panel of industry experts, Pierre Pienaar (Australian Institute of Packaging), Alexandra Brayshaw (Arthritis Australia), Susie White (innovation expert) and Debra Barrow (Commercial Manager Patties Foods).

A special thank you to Enterprise Singapore and SFMA for supporting this initiative in concert with Monash University, the ambitious SME’s, Monash Talent for recruiting such a high calibre of students, the industry partners, the judges, but most importantly the Monash University students who certainly embraced their ‘Ancora Imparo’ motto.

The New Frontiers Innovation Program is a bespoke program designed for industry partners to engage Monash University to solve current business challenges.