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PolyU Staff Member Wins Global Intrapreneurial Award, Boosting Hong Kong's Innovation Profile

Rennie Kan_4

This year, our Senior Marketing Manager from the The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) School of Design, Ms Rennie Kan, received the Intrapreneurial Lifetime Achievement Award of the 2023 Outstanding Intrapreneur Awards organised by the Global Intrapreneurs Institute, an educational institution and community committed to supporting and advancing the work of intrapreneurs in all sectors and from all corners around the world. As the first winner of this award from Hong Kong, Rennie is a shining example of effective intrapreneurship and the innovative spirits that are cultivated within PolyU and showcases Hong Kong as an innovation front-runner. She is truly an inspiration to all professional and non-academic staff who would like to make a difference in academia.

Intrapreneurship allows continuous innovation within companies, and designers have an edge as intrapreneurs due to the ability to visualise complex solutions.

Ms Rennie Kan, Senior Marketing Manager of PolyU School of Design

Rennie has dedicated her career to fostering creativity, innovation, and good design, both locally and globally. She has spent 18 years in her present role as the leader of the marketing and brand development team of the School of Design, elevating the perception of design beyond aesthetics and emphasising its role in addressing complex commercial and societal challenges. Throughout her time in the PolyU School of Design, Rennie has demonstrated her perseverance - leading her team to ideate and organise an average of 80 events per year, taking care of over 1,000 guests on average every week for 18 years. All that effort has helped the School of Design to reach the top rankings in Asia and to lift its QS World University Ranking by Subject from 24th in 2015 to 15th place in 2020. In her team-leader role, she has spearheaded the development of the PolyU Design Show, transforming it from a modest event of 800 visitors to one of the largest annual design events in Hong Kong. She also played a crucial role in bringing Maker Faire to Hong Kong and extending collaborations through identifying and amplifying the diverse faculty expertise in the School. The event attracted over 30,000 visitors over two days in its first year, and a substantial seven-figure donation in the second.
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Rennie’s mantra is “If you enjoy what you do, keep trying no matter what,” and this mentality has helped her overcome setbacks and persevere in her mission. Despite the complexity and challenges that come with her role in academia as a marketer, she has consistently shown her dedication to her higher purpose, which is to use design to solve the complex challenges that our world is facing. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Rennie enthusiastically embraced her team’s suggestion to transition the Design Show online using VR technology. Their innovative approach allowed the event to reach an audience of 68,000, both physically and online in 2019, despite the lockdown restrictions. These moves demonstrate her ability to leverage technology in innovative ways, transcending geographical boundaries and making cultural and creative content accessible to a wider audience.
“Thank you, Global Intrapreneurial Institute for this great honour. I’m humbled by this recognition that transcends borders, acknowledging the silent forces of design and intrapreneurship that shape the world. Just as a logo can stir emotions, a well-designed seat can transform a long flight and a well-planned city can feel like home. These are not accidents but the result of hours of hard work refining and perfecting something or daring to be misunderstood,” said Rennie. “I would like to thank the management team, my family and my colleagues for their support. We work for just one common goal, that is to nurture excellent design through design education and benefit mankind,” The Award was conferred at the Global Intrapreneurs Summit held in November 2023 online. Apart from Rennie, who was the only winner for the 2023 Intrapreneurial Lifetime Achievement Award, other award recipients came from all around the world including from Australia, Fiji, France, India, Italy, Ireland, Jordan, Thailand, Trinidad Tobago, the United States, UK, and some Asia Pacific regions.

Congratulations Rennie on being the 2023 Intrapreneurial Lifetime Achievement Award recipient! Thank you for showing how all of us can foster a culture of innovation, creativity, and productivity from within the institution, for playing an instrumental role in helping to put the School of Design at the forefront in a global network of design expertise and for helping shape the design landscape and solve complex challenges in the environment, society and governance in Hong Kong and beyond.

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