An Interview with a Grab Inventor: Chang Sun

 

At Grab, our deep understanding of the Southeast Asia landscape has helped us evolve into the region’s leading superapp, designed to empower everyday entrepreneurs while continuously innovating to provide our users with delightful experiences. In our series ‘An Interview with a Grab Inventor’, we shine a light on our Grabbers pursuing innovations driven by their passion. To foster the culture of innovation, inventors at Grab are rewarded for their creations and efforts contributing to our growth and expanding patent portfolio.

 

In the third chapter, meet Sun Chang, Lead Data Scientist in Grab’s Dispatch DS Team within the Fulfilment Tech family. His recent surge in patent submissions — three in H1 2023 — stems from collaborative efforts beginning in late 2022, resulting in innovations like the allocation probability model for Just In-Time Allocation (JITA) and dynamic online sharding from a Hackathon project.

While you have a history of filing patents, your innovation efforts have notably increased in 2023 with the submission and approval of three separate inventions for patent filing. What sparked this surge in your innovative activity?

The groundwork for these patents began in H2 2022, with the decision to submit the patent applications in H1 2023. The team’s dedication to crafting the allocation probability model in Just In-Time Allocation (JITA) led to two related patent applications. The dynamic online sharding patent stemmed from resolving a persistent issue in the allocation system during the Hackathon project. And also thanks to the Grab Patent Office (GPO) project, which allowed for a highly simplified process of submitting patent applications.

Can you share any of your past inventions that you remember particularly well and that have greatly contributed to Grab’s business?

The invention of the allocation probability model will greatly improve the prediction of allocation for GrabFood and GrabMart. This will improve our JITA product by activating more orders and reducing driver waiting times significantly. The ongoing implementation of dynamic online sharding aims to simplify the Global Batch Capacity (GBC) enabling process, easing the load on booking services and optimising city-wide allocation solutions.

What are some challenges you’ve encountered during the invention process, and how did you overcome them?

Developing the dynamic online sharding proof of concept (POC) within a day was challenging. Our team collaborated efficiently — I devised the algorithm while my team assisted with simulation data preparation, validation, and analysis, leading to our successful presentation of the POC at the Hackathon and subsequent patent submission.

Can you share an instance where collaboration played a key role in your invention process?

Collaboration is definitely key in the invention process. The JITA patent application involved quite a number of cross-department colleagues including product managers (PM), engineers, product analysts (PA), data scientists (DS) and also inter-tech family collaboration. Without any of them, this could not have happened.

How has being an inventor at Grab contributed to your personal and professional growth?

Inventing imparts a sense of accomplishment, inspiring creative problem-solving. I found it fun to work as a data scientist by doing research and putting those new ideas into practice.

How has Grab supported you in innovating and inventing?

Big thanks to the team and my manager who encouraged me to explore more technology applications. I think I am lucky to work in such an open and inspiring environment. 

Why is innovation so important in the tech world now?

Intellectual property is a cornerstone of tech companies. The tech world is changing every day and we should update our systems regularly to catch up with the state of technology. 

Do you have any closing thoughts or messages you’d like to share with the readers?

Work hard and play harder. I think inventions are only possible in an open environment like ours and it is really fun to work with my lovely fellow colleagues. Let’s drive Southeast Asia forward together.

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