Exercising his engineering skills in a socially productive way, Veerappan Swaminathan co-founded social enterprise Sustainable Living Lab to make a difference. A pioneer of the Maker Movement in Singapore, he’s working to steer the movement in Asia towards enabling a sustainable future.
Rooted from a student club that embarked on using technology for good, Sustainable Living Lab has grown into a consulting firm that develops social impact solutions for countries, companies and communities. For its project with the Housing Development Board, Swaminathan and his team worked to come up with tech-powered solutions to enhance the safety and vibrancy of the HDB estate. One of the biggest risks he’s taken in his career included a million-dollar government contract that saw him running a prototyping lab in 2014 for three years.
“At that time, it felt like I was taking a huge risk which, if did not go well, would probably ruin my career chances in Singapore forever,” he recalls.
Although he’s succeeded in establishing the ecosystem around the maker movement in Singapore and Southeast Asia, there’s still lots to do. Sustainable Living Lab is starting operations in India, beginning with a national level AI literacy project. Additionally, there’s another boundary he’d like to break.
“Being able to have significant amounts of family time and yet bring home the bacon,” Swaminathan shares.