Behind the Making of True’s “Innovation Organization” with the Belief that “Everyone Can Be an Innovator”

09 January 2024

The management consulting firm  McKinsey & Company revealed from its innovation survey that 85% of senior executives say that fear often or always hinders their organization’s innovation efforts. This is because employees often fear failure and criticism. However, one factor that helps employees overcome these fears is providing confidence and value in fostering innovation.

With the firm belief that “everyone can be an innovator,” the True Innovation Center team is a significant driving force behind the emergence of True’s innovators who create innovations beneficial to the organization, customers, society, and the environment consistently.


In 2023, True Corporation received the National Innovation Award for the third time, a prestigious recognition in the category of “Outstanding Innovative Organization” for large-sized organizations. In this opportunity, True Blog has invited the True Innovation Center team and True’s innovators discussed the background of creating the “Innovation Organization,” including proud achievements and future goals in sustaining innovation. They are taking steps towards becoming a Telecom-Tech Company.

Innovation arises from recognizing problems

High-speed internet users of True Online may not be aware that the True GIGATEX Intelligent Fiber Router is an innovation within the organization. This innovation stems from the expertise of True’s innovators, driven by the need to enhance the quality of the network and services. It also addresses the challenges associated with device constraints from manufacturers.


Sasikarn Tangchutawesub, an Engineering Specialist and one of the innovators and project managers involved in the development of the Intelligent Fiber Router at True, explained that the original high-speed internet service network of True was characterized by being tied to equipment from specific manufacturers. This meant that both the network equipment (transmitter) and the customer-installed devices at homes (receiver) had to come from the same manufacturer in order to provide service to customers. This situation had an impact on True as a service provider, particularly in terms of cost management, as there were high costs associated with improving the quality of the network and services. Additionally, there were high expenses due to the diverse range of manufacturers within True’s network, totaling up to 6 different manufacturers.

To address the mentioned issue, the True engineering team studied ways to reduce costs while improving service quality. They implemented an engineering technique known as “Inter Operability ONT-OLT” (IOP). This approach involves designing and developing a common language, enabling signal transmission compatibility between network equipment (transmitter) and customer-installed devices (receiver) from different manufacturers, allowing them to work together seamlessly.


The True engineering team visited and studied operations with China Mobile, a service provider in China, and applied their findings to further develop their capabilities. Within two years, they successfully enabled customer-installed devices from one manufacturer to work in conjunction with network equipment from six different manufacturers at True. This involved an overall network adjustment to accommodate the Inter Operability ONT-OLT (IOP) technique.

“When we apply the IOP technique with the Any to One concept, it allows customers to use high-quality products and receive improved services. True, as an organization, can also manage costs more effectively. Manufacturers need to strive to develop equipment that meets the high standards of our network. With the successful implementation of this new technique, the organization has reduced costs by up to 5,460 million baht and generated additional monthly revenue of 40 million baht due to an increase in customers by 50,000 per month. It is evident that innovation has resulted in significant cost savings.” Sasikan summarized.

Provide opportunities for every employee to give it a try

In the past, True’s innovators have generated more than 680 innovations, resulting in revenue and cost savings of over 4,000 million baht. The continuous innovation within the organization stems from the leadership’s vision that sees innovation as a driving force for the company’s progress. This philosophy has led to the active involvement of every employee in the collaborative creation of impactful innovations.


“Looking back over a decade ago, Suphachai Chearavanont had a broad vision that innovation could come from creating something entirely new or improving existing elements. Efficiency is key because we want to provide opportunities for employees to try, experiment, and learn—whether it leads to success or failure.” Veerasak Pongtanyavichai, Head of Innovation Center Department stated.

The promotion of innovation within True is well-founded, with a dedicated team specifically focused on innovation—the True Innovation Center. This team firmly believes that “people” are the most crucial mechanism in creating something new within the organization. They play a vital role in igniting innovation, serving as consultants and creating opportunities for every employee to become innovators. This is achieved through various methods and approaches.

Innovation Advocacy: Creating an environment that encourages innovation to flourish within the organization through knowledge sharing, workshops, and inspirational events. Instilling inspiration in True employees across all departments nationwide.


Empowerment: Supporting employees to try and experiment, encouraging them to initiate and develop their own projects. The team serves as mentors, providing advice and guidance through the Innovation Clinic.


Feedback Mechanism: Creating tools such as the Innovation Matrix or I-Score to measure the innovation level of projects and identify ways to develop them into practical innovations for the future.


Contest: Launching the True Innovation Award platform to give employees the opportunity to compete with their works. The competition spans from initial ideas, known as IDEA SEED, focusing on topics close to everyday life, to the development of practical innovations referred to as INNO TREE, representing the pinnacle of innovation.


System and Platforms: Developing an intranet platform called Innovation Tank to allow employees within the organization to explore previous works, build upon existing innovations, and submit their own projects for consideration.


Innovative Culture: Promoting a co-creation organizational culture that encourages collaborative ideation and teamwork among various departments. This involves fostering an environment that is open to diverse perspectives and actively listens to a variety of ideas.

“When it comes to innovation, we want everyone in the organization to feel excited first. We want the perception that innovation is not just about technology and is not something distant. Every idea that employees think of and propose has value. We won’t dictate what can or cannot be done. By being open to even the smallest ideas, they might eventually evolve into innovations in the future.” Sankaworn Sattayamongkol, Innovation Specialist at True Innovation Center, emphasizes this point.

True Innovation Center

"Close innovation" to "Open innovation"

Apart from cultivating an innovative culture within the organization, the True Innovation Center team has also coordinated collaboration with external entities. They have established True LAB to collaborate with leading universities, a total of 9, to conduct research and development in innovation. This includes the development of students’ potential through research funding and knowledge transfer. This approach contributes to Open Innovation, acting as a catalyst for innovation within the organization and facilitating the transformation of innovations into market-ready solutions.



“In the past, there have been more than 100 collaborative innovations. As an example of the ongoing collaboration, we are developing a smart piglet box in conjunction with the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, leveraging IoT technology from the True Digital Group. The aim is to reduce piglet mortality rates in various farms and ultimately elevate the standards of animal husbandry in Thailand.” Sankaworn stated.


In addition, True LAB also serves as an incubator for students and new talents to step into the startup world, supporting more than 1,000 teams. Currently, it has established collaborations with various units within True to develop practical innovations for business use. The goal is to be a part of creating a startup ecosystem in Thailand.

Never ceasing to develop innovations that bring value to society and the environment

Adhering to the principle of “innovating for a better life,” True not only creates innovations in products and services that cater to the lifestyles of its customers but also actively engages in the creation of sustainable innovations with value for society and the environment.


In the social aspect, there is an innovation that helps improve the quality of life for certain vulnerable groups. The development of the Autistic application utilizes digital technology to enhance the developmental progress of autistic children. This includes specific muscle development through guided line tracing that requires concentration, communication skills for daily life, self-care, and ultimately leads to vocational training and sustainable income.

“Before, parents of autistic children had to spend time teaching their kids to do repetitive tasks until they memorized them. With this application, children can learn daily routines such as brushing their teeth, and even life skills like going to the convenience store to make purchases. What’s heartening is that there are kids who used to require constant care, but with the help of the app, they have shown significant developmental improvement. Some have even become baristas at True Coffee, which is truly something to be proud of.”  Veerasak said.


In the environmental aspect, there is a significant innovation that utilizes communication technology to address issues directly. This is the Elephant Smart Early Warning solution, which helps mitigate conflicts between humans and wild elephants in the Kui Buri National Park, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. The success of this solution is achieved by integrating the capabilities of communication technology and IoT systems into the surveillance activities of the park rangers from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, in collaboration with the personnel from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Rommuk Piachan, Senior Leader Project Development from True Plookpunya, the unit responsible for this project, explained that the solution consists of automatic cameras equipped with True SIM cards. These cameras send real-time location alerts when elephants are detected to the Cloud system. Staff at the monitoring center then review the images and coordinates, and coordinate with field operations through the Smart Adventure application installed on Trunked Mobile. The application is connected to the Cloud system to analyze frequency data and statistics gathered from wild elephants.


“After the initial installation within the first year, we found that the damage was less than 1%. Currently, we continue to develop the system in collaboration with Ramkhamhaeng University, incorporating AI to enhance the accuracy of inspection and detection significantly,” Rommuk stated.

True Innovation Center

An organization of innovation can indeed come to fruition

In the past, True’s diverse innovations have consistently received national and international awards. Most recently, in 2023, True Corporation was honored with the National Innovation Award in the category of ‘Outstanding Innovative Organization’ for large organizations. This recognition reflects the dedication to building an innovative organization continuously and sincerely.


“This award involves a comprehensive evaluation covering various aspects, including the leadership’s vision, achievements of the organization’s employees, innovation management systems, as well as recognition and accolades from both national and international stages. Looking back over the past three years, True has successfully encompassed all components, including intellectual property management. It can be said that True has achieved a complete and genuine innovation management cycle.” Veerasak emphasizes this point.


With the internal goal set for the year 2573 to create 5,000 True Innovators, allocating 3% of the budget for research and development, and progressing in creating innovative products and services to contribute 15% to the company’s total revenue, including registering 200 intellectual property works. Ultimately, ‘people’ are the most critical factor in propelling the organization towards its goals, culminating in the transition to becoming a truly Telecom Tech Company.


“If we have all the cutting-edge tools, but our people don’t use them or use them ineffectively, we cannot innovate. That’s why we prioritize ‘people’ as the first and foremost factor. We aim to cultivate individuals into innovators, inspire creativity, and then real innovation can truly happen.” Veerasak, in conclusion.

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