Big Boss Energy: Christopher Chew, Founder, Avventura

by Portfolio Magazine
20 Feb 2024

What are the new rules of business that today’s generation of business leaders follow? In this month’s edition of PORTFOLIO, big bosses from various industries like technology, F&B, and hospitality dish leadership advise and reveal how they walk the talk.

What changes and trends are you anticipating in your industry for 2024? What kind of preparations are you making for it?
In 2024, you will see more Mixed Reality headsets (MR) being launched for users to enjoy total immersion. At the same time, developers and content creators are rushing in to provide businesses and consumers with more apps and content to cater to the rapidly growing population of MR headset users worldwide.

Having anticipated this flurry of activities in the Extended Reality (XR) space, Avventura is well equipped to actively market our Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality to more physical performances, events, and content creation services for the latest devices this year.

In the events and performing arts space, we expect increased deployment of MR technology in live and physical events to take advantage of the portability and more advanced features of the latest HMDs. All these will contribute to more innovative, interactive, and immersive experiences for audiences.

Based on personal experience, what makes a good leader in today’s context? What kind of skills are essential to be able to lead a team now?
There’s a saying, “Once a journalist, always a journalist.” I was professionally trained as a journalist and spent five years as one in mainstream media. While I am no longer in the profession, it is almost impossible to shake off the mentality and practices often associated with being a journalist. A journalist must be several steps ahead of the audience. Similarly, a good leader, or a good employee for that matter, must stay abreast of the latest news and trends – not just within the company’s immediate industry, but also outside. Breadth of knowledge provides an excellent overview, but depth of knowledge helps develop expertise in specific areas. It sounds simple, but the truth is, with the large number of news channels available, it can be challenging for young people to discern between fake and real news, especially if they do not have the time to conduct thorough fact-checking.

We should be well informed to take advantage of information that will propel us or our company forward. Information has always been key, but more so now.

One development that has taken the world and humanity by storm is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is having a profound and game-changing impact on many areas of work and our lives. We should not undermine it so as not to get left behind. Everyone, from the receptionist to the CEO must understand how AI can enable you to do things faster and better, and how you can take advantage of it today. It is constantly evolving and the pace of change it brings is accelerating. A good leader must keep up with these changes.

As we stride into the future, our plan involves expanding these initiatives further as a leader in XR technology applications. More workshops are on the horizon, and we aspire to foster collaborative projects with performing arts groups not only in Singapore, but also across the region. This proactive approach aligns with the essence of effective leadership, urging individuals to stay abreast of technological changes, whether in the realm of AI or the immersive experiences offered by XR. We are happy to take the lead in providing opportunities for individuals and community groups in the performing arts to acquaint themselves with XR technologies.

(Related: Big Boss Energy - Dalip Singh, General Manager, Pan Pacific Orchard)

What are the rules of business that you abide by? As a leader, what kind of rules do you set for yourself and your team?
The bedrock in any relationship is trust, and this principle is magnified when it comes to interactions with business partners, staff, vendors, and, most significantly, clients or customers. Earn and uphold that trust, and you'll forge everlasting connections. In the realm of e-commerce, the personal touch might be less frequent, but being trustworthy remains as a rule of thumb for me, and it remains to be the single most important factor for long-term success.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what did you learn from them that has proven beneficial in your professional journey?
I don't identify with having a specific mentor because I believe that everyone, including great leaders, have strengths and weaknesses, both of which have learning values for me. Rather than singling out a mentor, I am happy to share that I draw inspiration from my sister, Sandra Billings, who continues to run a successful animatronics business in the United States.


As we move into the future and navigate constantly shifting trends and mindsets, what is the best way to keep up and stay informed?
Staying informed in today’s context can be extremely challenging, especially with the growth of social media and non-traditional media platforms. Consequently, fact checking has become increasingly important in recent years, helping to distinguish the genuine from the fake, and narrowing down on the useful. In such an environment, I believe discretion is important – knowing where to source the most relevant and trustworthy information for your business. In fact, AI tools are already at our disposal to streamline this process, even though we still have to fact check the information that AI churns out for us.

Additionally, being a part of leading industry networks and regularly participating in international forums, conferences, and trade shows continues to be instrumental in staying well-informed and connected.

At Avventura, we passionately believe in the transformative power of immersive media technologies for the arts. This conviction is embodied in Over The Rainbow, our latest production in February 2024 that goes beyond traditional theater boundaries, providing a personal journey for visitors to explore their emotions and actions through an immersive spatial VR experience.

Beyond our dedication to pushing artistic boundaries, we actively stay ahead of industry trends, ensuring our work not only reflects current technology trends, but also addresses diverse community issues.