Jovan Tan, Founder of Restorative Innovation

Jovan will be delivering the closing address at the inaugural World Restorative Innovation Forum on 17th September.

What’s your story?
Together with Professor Virginia Cha of INSEAD & NUS, we discovered a distinct pattern of growth for innovative solutions that are designed to do good across our health, humanity, and the environment. With that discovery, we decided to encapsulate our work and create an innovation model which we termed, Restorative Innovation, to illustrate the possibility of introducing innovative solutions that can generate profits, scale, and do good, all at the same time.

Taking it further, I founded both the RIGHT Foundation and the World Restorative Innovation Forum, a knowledge sharing platform to spark conversations and ignite actions in this subject, to proliferate this newfound knowledge globally and to change the narrative of innovation for the good, all while pursuing my graduate studies full time at the National University of Singapore at the age of 24.

What excites you most about your industry?
The nonprofit sector is full of passionate and purposeful individuals. It is very inspiring and exciting to see individuals who are so committed for a greater cause, beyond earning their regular paychecks, as they truly believe in their work to solve real problems in our society today and to deliver a real, practical impact in making the world a better place tomorrow.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m born and bred in Singapore. Though it’s just a little red dot, it’s a great country to be in with plentiful food choices, amazing cultural diversity, low crime rates and political stability. However, this comfortable lifestyle we enjoy in Singapore has adversely affected the national culture too. The younger generation did not grow up in hardships and are always taking things for granted which is not ideal.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
For now, it will still be Singapore as I’ve not done much businesses outside of this beautiful country other than travelling occasionally for work trips in my previous jobs. Nonetheless, I believe my opinion may change if I work overseas.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Be genuine, authentic and sincere in everything you do”. This quote was given by my life mentor, co-creator of Restorative Innovation & the honorary Chairwoman of my non-profit foundation, Prof Virginia Cha, about a year ago. It has stuck with me ever since and has radically changed how I deal with all my personal and professional relationships.

Who inspires you?
The Musk brothers are my role models. I’m inspired by Elon Musk for his bold vision and action to save the world and his brother, Kimbal Musk as a global social entrepreneur to ensure everyone has access to real food. I would really love to meet them both someday.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I shared my work with global leaders from notable organisations like the UNDP, WWF etc and throughout this journey, I learnt about a greater global issue that demands all our immediate attention. At our current rate of consumption on earth’s resources, we’re at an inflection point where if we do not start changing our habits of consumption, our human race can possibly be faced with extinction within the next century and when that happens, no matter how much material wealth we or our future generation have, it’s useless. That discovery blew me away and it starts to fear me every single day. As a result, I started a non-profit foundation and make it a lifelong commitment to improve the world through Restorative Innovation.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I had time again, I doubt I would do anything much differently as I believe everything in life happens for a reason. The only thing I would probably do differently is to learn how to be productive at a much younger age as the effects of learning and applying this skillset will compound greatly over the years.

How do you unwind?
It may seem like a joke but the best way for me to unwind is to simply not do or think about anything and allowing my body & mind to relax & rejuvenate. When I can afford longer breaks, I love to travel to various countries to learn about their culture & pick up new skills whenever I can. Honorable mention – Tibet was an eye opener for me. It’s a place that’s so culturally & history rich and it’s a whole different experience compared to city tours.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Strangely enough… I don’t have a favourite Asian destination for relaxation. I think the venue doesn’t matter, rather the activities I do to relax matters.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. It’s a great book for everyone and the best part, you do not need to be a business people to enjoy the learnings from this book.

Shameless plug for your business:
RIGHT Foundation is a non-profit non-partisan organization dedicated to advance the body of knowledge and to improve the world through Restorative Innovation. We’re actively seeking collaborators & partnerships with research institutions, like-minded communities and corporates to jointly advance our work so hit me up if you’re interested.

More importantly, I would like to invite you to attend the inaugural World Restorative Innovation Forum where I will be delivering the closing address. I founded this forum with the mission to change the narrative on innovation for the good by exchanging knowledge, stories, and possibilities around Restorative Innovation. I want you to join me in supporting this worthwhile effort, by attending the conference, and to join the conversation on how to innovate around doing good for the humanity, health, and the environment, along with 15 world-renowned speakers and over 300 international delegates. This forum is chaired by Prof Virginia Cha of NUS & INSEAD and it will be held on 17th September 2018 from 9.30am to 4.30pm at INSEAD Asia Campus. See you there!

How can people connect with you?

Twitter handle?
@jovantanjw (I tend to use Facebook & Instagram more and it’s the same handle too)

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

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