Learn more about the Process


A Day in the Life of a UNI.CORN

June 22, 2016

So what exactly are UNI.CORNs and what do we do?
It’s not all fun and games I can assure you that, but it is a rewarding experience



Before I go on, I’d like to add a qualifier, this program is not for those who wish to undergo a comfortable and easy internship experience. Instead, If you are fond of boss-level challenges and working to make a positive change in our society, then read ahead to understand the fundamentals of being a magical, mythical and fabulous creature.


These insights and lessons are a result of the teachings and guidance of the many mentors who have sacrificed their time as part of this programme, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them involved in the first ever DBS UNI.CORN Internship Program.



Choosing a "side" - bank, customer, you.

Which side are you on?

During the programme, us Unicorns meet with various stakeholders and people from different backgrounds - business mentors, innovation mentors, customers, team mates etc. Everyone provides a different perspective to the problem at hand, and this allows us Unicorns to have a feel of what the different stakeholders are concerned about. Which is awesome, right?


Not so fast. The difficult part here is knowing how to make decisions and what to believe when all these opinions and advice comes your way.  Especially when most of them contradict each other. It's like being the friend that has to pick a side when two of your besties get in a fight.


Which is why it is immensely important that us Unicorns have a strong stance and opinion on our own. We must believe and resonate with our own philosophies in the midst of the rage and vortex of endless advice and instructions. And with our own guiding principles as the core, we tweak and modify our decisions with the input from our stakeholders to best address the problem.


Of course, don't just be stubborn. Listen and rationalise when there are conflicting ideas. We're not mules. We're Unicorns.


Dig deep. Understand everything.


Another fundamental habit Unicorns must have is to be inherently curious. I'm not talking about the spirit to learn, I'm talking about straight up K-Po. We have to DIG (pun intended) deep and understand the nitty gritty details of our customers and stakeholders. We have to understand the journey, feelings, emotions, pains, pleasures etc. that the customers experience, because one of these sneaky, unnoticeable and minute details may hold the answer to everything. It's pretty hard to believe, but it's actually an essential principle in Human Centred Design. In our lives there exist "undiscovered" pain-points that we have become so used to, we don't see them as problems anymore. But not Unicorns. Unicorns love pain points.


Be a thought surgeon.


You may think that Unicorns poop fabulous ideas on the go. But a true magical beast must be able to dissolve a thought, idea, concept or opinion into its most fundamental and basic components. In every thought that is ever made, lies the ingredients. Let me explain.


Every idea we have is driven by a reason. It's probably because you think this idea brings value to people, in one way or another. In which case, there is at least one value proposition. This value proposition itself can be anything - it makes a process easier, it provides convenience, it connects people, it provides entertainment, it's funny, the value proposition itself could even be novelty, or prestige. Anything and everything can have value. But not all value propositions are valuable.


Which is why us Unicorns must be able to dissect every idea and opinion that we come across and identify all the value that it provides. An idea that sounds super fun and wonderful may have a surprisingly weak and "useless" value proposition if it doesn't solve any customer problems.


But more importantly, us Unicorns must be able to not only identify ALL the value an idea provides, but which is the main one. Apps and websites are especially fitting as an example:


Facebook has many features. It has a social online community, games, a chat function, news feeds, media feeds, advertisement etc. These are all the mini value propositions that Facebook brings us. But what's the true value that Facebook brings? Notice that almost everything Facebook provides has a social sharing function in it. The entire platform and features are built around connectivity and sharing, there's a public and interconnected "feel" to Facebook that keeps us all going back.


Now, if you have an idea for an app that you think might solve a customer problem(s), ask yourself if that value proposition is the MAIN value proposition, or is it just an add-on feature? If it's just a feature-creep, it's probably a bad idea. And this is how we Unicorns kill and murder substandard ideas and dreams.

Or smaller.

Love (hate) the problem. Everything else are "just friends".


In the first week of the internship, my innovation mentor told us a quote from a famous person whose name I forget: "love the problem, not the solution". If you resonate with a problem and you are absolutely driven to solve it, good ideas are just a matter of time because you will do all you can to solve that problem. Don't bother about thinking of big ideas, because your ideas would only work if you're lucky, and it fits into the mass customer's problems as well. Loving your solutions also make it harder to let go, even when it's not the one. Love hurts doesn't it?


While there are many more factors that make a perfect Unicorn, these are just some of the fundamentals that I believe in most. If any of you believe that you have these qualities and are proud of them, then congratulations! There is a magical fabulous creature inside you that's waiting to burst free in the form of rainbows, marshmallows, candies, and CHANGE.


Yes, change. Cos that's just how we do it. We change the world, one step at a time.


One day, the world will be filled with Unicorns. Before that, the few that exist will change the world, one magical step at a time.




As a DBS consumer banking UNI.CORN intern, Badai has proven that his creativity and innovativeness is above and beyond the typical person. He has consistently held leadership positions in multiple Sport CCAs and actively volunteered in community service projects. Above all else, Badai is hyper-curious and willing to learn anything under the sun that will add value to his life in the present and the future.


Want to be the next UNI.CORN?

Have the passion to create and desire to solve real business problems? Then this internship is for you.

Apply now




© 2017 DBS Bank Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 196800306E