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【Cubic Zine Issue 12】Prof Benny Zee’s three-pronged strategy to a dare-to-innovate culture

Where Ideas Root and Flourish

“To get out of the box, turns out you need painstaking efforts within it.” When grappling with your many real-life challenges, Prof Andy Wong recommends the philosophy of the book Inside the Box – to start with the limitations of your surroundings, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike. As the virus continues to wreak havoc, this reminder should come by handy to all industries, including students industriously adapting to the new normal of learning.

In this issue: #CUHKEntrepreneurDay #InsideTheBox #KaifongTour #JapanesePublicWashrooms #ClinicalTrials #DareToInnovate

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New boss on board! Prof Benny Zee’s three-pronged strategy to a dare-to-innovate culture

Prof Benny Zee, Director of Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services

“There’re loads of varying voices or noises (when you start a business); some throws a wet blanket on you, some deceives, some coaxes, some tells you off, some oppresses.”

Biostatistics expert Prof Benny Zee returned from Canada to teach at CUHK two decades ago, meanwhile establishing two medical technology start-ups. Benny reckons that entrepreneurs need a sturdy mind and belief, “but one that’s grounded.”

With his ample experience in teaching, administration and entrepreneurship, he embraced another challenge this April as Director of Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services (ORKTS), driving the strategic transfer of CUHK’s fruitful research to the community. How is he planning to nurture the University’s innovative culture in his new position? Let’s begin with his merry childhood.

Read the full interview

【Scholarly keyword】Multi-centre clinical trials

(Photo: National Cancer Institute / Unsplash)

“Clinical trial” is no doubt a keyword in Benny’s career, not to mention a recent hot topic. Just last month, Russia was the first to announce mass production for a Covid vaccine, inviting questions from the international community. One of the reasons was that the vaccine has yet been tested by the necessary phase 3 trials.

Besides categorisation by stage, clinical trials can be “single-centre” or “multi-centre”, the latter being Benny’s strength. This means the trials are “scattered” and done at different locations – complexity is higher, but a greater diversity (e.g. race, living environment) of participants is possible, avoiding homogeneous sampling.



Restyling the loo|Japan

The "transparent washroom" at Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park (Photo: Satoshi Nagare)

The sanitary public bathrooms in Japan are role models for all, still, locals have found ways to take them to the next level. The Japanese charity Nippon Foundation initiated the Tokyo Toilet Project, inviting several famed architects (including Tadao Ando) to transform 17 public restrooms in the capital into “toilets for everyone”.

The first one unveiled in August is an intriguing transparent construction, which walls turn opaque once the door is locked. This allows monitoring of its hygiene and usage from the outside. The architect even envisions the structure as a “lantern” for the park at night, breaking the stereotypical image that public restrooms are dirty and dark. How would you revamp Hong Kong’s WCs?

Kaifong Tour|Hong Kong

Social worker from the Christian Concern for the Homeless Association taking participants on a "live tour" of Sham Shui Po. (Photo: Kaifong Tour)

Our city may be a tiny speck on the world map, yet each of its districts owns its character and culture. Open your eyes and ears, and you’d uncover a lot of interesting details, even receiving a “culture shock”. Social enterprise Kaifong Tour rekindles Hongkongers’ imagination towards our communities through tours, guide training and route design.

How have they remodelled their projects amid the epidemic? Doing live tours! In an exploratory workshop last month, a host and experienced social worker wandered around Sham Shui Po with a camera – under bridges, into cubicle apartments, and through modular social housing. All the while participants sit comfortably at home without breaking a sweat!


Scholar-readers → FOOD FOR THOUGHT

By Prof Andy Wong | Minor Programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Breaking through from within the box

The mention of “creativity” may conjure up terms as “beyond one’s imagination” and “ground-breaking”. While being creative is often equated with being “outside the box”, my personal experience says otherwise – there are patterns to follow. Thinking systematically may in fact boost one’s creative power gradually.

Titled Inside the Box, the book encourages readers to start from their immediate surroundings and constraints (the box), and create novel solutions through easy-to-grasp techniques (such as subtraction, multiplication and division). Inspirations are not blessed by the Muses; to get out of the box, turns out you need painstaking efforts within it.



70 virtual booths & 10 thrilling talks|CUHK Entrepreneur Day

Join us at CUHK Entrepreneur Day 2020 – regardless of where you are! Organised by the CUHK Alumni Torch Fund, the event this year is themed “Dare to Innovate・Open to Opportunities”, encouraging CUHK members to seek breakthroughs with creative solutions amid the epidemic.

Aside from interactive online booths showcasing the fruits of CUHK innovation and start-ups, enjoy live broadcasts of Entrepreneur Competition Finals and inspiring talks, and meet fellow innovators and entrepreneurs at the networking corner!

25-26 Sept (Fri & Sat)
Details & registration

Thrilling topics:
#TheStartUpWayOfLiving #IndustrialisationOfDNATesting #OverseasEntrepreneurs #ManMadeMeat #GreenStartUps #SocialInnovation


CUHK's support to scholar-social innovators

CUHK runs two funding schemes that support researchers to get down to social innovation – KPF and S-KPF. Selected projects may receive up to HK$400,000 for KPF projects or HK$600,000 for S-KPF companies. Over 200 teams have already benefited from the schemes, working on physical and mental well-being, social cohesion, cultural and heritage conservation, and so on.

Can’t wait to seize your chance? Prepare for the next round by learning the details here. Or share with us your ideas to get ready in advance!



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