Good Design Research - Challenge Statements

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Keen to work on an impactful project through the Good Design Research initiative, but do not have an existing problem statement in mind? Take on these real-world challenges from potential clients below, or get inspired by one of our open challenge statements to help get your creative juices running!

Challenge Statements from our partners

Challenge Statement What are we looking out for?

How might we design sustainable and cost effective packaging for food delivery in Singapore, or even Southeast Asia?

 

As more consumers are turning to takeaways or food deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic, Grab hopes to find sustainable alternatives to manage the volume and/or types of packaging waste generated, when working with F&B merchants across Southeast Asia. While the types of food packaging used are determined by F&B merchants, Grab encourages them to switch to sustainable packaging alternatives (e.g. reusable, compostable). To encourage the take-up rate of these alternatives, some key issues will have to be addressed:

 

  1. Suitability for the local and regional cuisines (e.g. to cater to food items that come with sauce, gravy or soup);

  2. Cost effectiveness for it to be financially feasible for F&B merchants.

Designs for lightweight packaging solutions with a lower environmental impact cost compared to existing single-use plastic food packaging.

 

They should be suitable for a variety of local and regional cuisines (e.g. hot and wet food), adhere to hygiene and food safety standards.

 

Ideally, the proof of concept must receive positive feedback from F&B merchants on product usage, as an indicator for potential widespread adoption at scale.

 

For enquiries, please contact Pek Hai Lin: ftt.hailin.pek@grab.com

 

*Lower environmental impact (e.g. carbon footprint of resource input and production processes, waste pollution risks) is in reference to commonly used single-use plastic packaging, and has to take into account the local context in which they are used. For example, in Singapore, compostable/biodegradable materials currently available on the market requires more resource input in their production but does not add value in terms of end-of-life treatment given that Singapore incinerates its general wastes. Whereas, in Southeast Asia, plastic waste pollution is a common issue that needs to be addressed. Grab takes interest in packaging that meets these needs as Grab also operates in these environments.

Challenge Statement

What are we looking out for?

How might we design infrastructure and playscapes that promote sustainability in childcare and engage children to care for our environment?

 

Climate change is an issue close to Busybees’ heart and we desire to instil sustainability virtues in our children from their early years.  This can be through environmental features/playscapes in our preschools, where sustainability is continuously promoted through our curriculum; activities and facilities in the form of renewable energy, conserving energy and water, reducing food waste, recycling, rainwater harvesting, composting; and letting our children embrace and interact with nature. By educating children, we can influence their parents, families and their larger communities for a more inclusive, sustainable Singapore.

  1. Designs for new experiences and educational materials that that could acquaint children with sustainable living practices. For example, through new technologies, attractive and interactive sculptures/ installations and even online and/or outdoor sustainability-themed games/ activities.

  2. Designs for renewable energy sources to integrate well with the existing preschool landscape.

For enquiries, please contact Kevin Ang: KevinAng@busybeesasia.com

Challenge Statement What are we looking out for?

How might we design for an age-friendly environment in Whampoa, that can enable older persons to continue to lead independent, healthy, engaged, and purposeful lives even as Covid-19 becomes endemic? The age-friendly environment should enable the mobility of older persons by increasing confidence in navigating infrastructure, planning journeys, and accessing routes across the neighbourhood, organising local transport options, etc. 

How might we use technology to offer hybrid online-offline experiences that can better engage seniors, build resilience, and strengthen their sense of community? 

Covid-19 has put a strain on the wellbeing of seniors and their caregivers, as they are reliant on community participation and the built environment for a sense of place, identity, and purpose. As Singapore transitions into endemic living, it will be critical to improve both opportunities for participation and built-environment design in our age-friendly community to ensure that seniors can continue to safely engage in community life.

  1. Modifications to infrastructure that enable safer interactions for small groups of older persons, especially in response to experiences of social isolation 

  2. Ways to modify the age-friendly built environment in Whampoa to minimise risks of COVID-19 transmission and improve way-finding, especially for older persons with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and/or caregiving responsibilities   

  3. Novel online-offline hybrid experiences to engage seniors in the community (e.g. interactive walls) and safely increase their social participation (such as through volunteering, work opportunities and programmes) 

For enquiries, please contact Aw Su: awsu@tsaofoundation.org


 

Open Challenges

1. THE FUTURE OF LIFESTYLE

Challenge Statement What are we looking out for?

How might we, learning from the experiences of Covid-19, all live healthier, more sustainable and less anxious lives? How might we strengthen our connections to culture and heritage and social bonding through activities that we love?

The pandemic has accelerated trends and shifts in consumption patterns. In a neo-pandemic world, there will be increased demand for goods, services and experiences that have higher standards for safety, hygiene and quality; a greater focus on health and well-being; and products and solutions which produced ethically and sustainably.

Purpose-driven organisations, cultures and way of life will continue to take root with more consumers appreciating artisanal craft and techniques as well as the thought and research behind designs.

Finally, with borders cautiously reopening and we navigate going “from pandemic to endemic”, this prompts questions around how we can create the new norm of being safe yet open.

Against this backdrop, there is significant scope for design to shape the future of key lifestyle sectors like tourism, hospitality, F&B, heritage and culture, sports and MICE. We are looking for design ideas and practices in the following areas:

  • Designs for health, safety and well-being (physical, mental, emotional), that seek to inform the development of new regulatory codes while maintaining a positive experience. Examples could include service, material, environment or space designs that improve resilience, and/or innovate on space use, acoustics, air or human circulation.
  • New ways to travel safely.
  • Flexible, multi-functional and multi-modal spaces or products in homes, work spaces and public spaces, redefining traditional segmentation of space and product design by current definitions according to public, commercial and residential, and to re-examine current definitions of asset ownership.
  • New modes of lifestyle experiences, whether they be completely virtual or hybrid.

For enquiries contact us at:
research@designsingapore.org

2. REGENERATIVE SUSTAINABILITY

Challenge Statement What are we looking out for?

How might we expand and embed the principles of regenerative sustainability?

From “less bad” to “doing good”, regenerative sustainability goes beyond carbon emission reductions. A regenerative firm or solution seeks to increase its socio-ecological handprint by restoring the health of individuals, communities and the planet. In other words, it is more than just environmental issues as this looks into social, community and ecosystem contexts. Regenerative sustainability is not new – similar concepts have been discussed in the circular economy, cradle-to-cradle design. However, decades of sustainability efforts have still not succeeded in addressing climate change.

All these necessitate a systems-level rethinking, and the challenge is to ask ourselves – beyond experimenting with new materials, creating a new eco-friendly product – what will life look like, if we are truly plugged into the circular economy and regenerative systems?

We’re looking for designers to reimagine places, services and systems in a regenerative way. For example, what does a regenerative community space look like? How does it engage its users continually, thereby renewing its relevance to its community? How does it make accessibility and connectivity better for the places around it?

Opportunities are rife in other areas too. Besides designing places, services and systems for regenerative sustainability, designers can also redesign business models. The ESG economy is growing along with impact investments. More business will be keen to pivot their businesses, opening up possibilities for business and strategic design. How might regenerative principles be embedded in business models?

We’re looking for blueprints, masterplans (even if it’s of a community garden!), policy proposals, white papers, design concepts that are feasible, scalable, and reimagine our lives in regenerative systems, defining what “regenerative sustainability” could mean in Singapore.

For enquiries contact us at:
research@designsingapore.org

3. REIMAGINING LEARNING AND WORKING

Challenge Statement What are we looking out for?

How might we learn and work productively, healthily and purposefully?

Rethinking the current model of planning curriculum around anticipated jobs will be crucial. This model will no longer work, as it is not nimble enough to respond to the changes in lifestyle in the horizons. Digital nomadism will change what jobs and careers look like in Singapore. The educational landscape is democratising with the abundance of good quality, sometimes free online courses and materials. Yet we were so used to relying on a planning model where we first drive investments, create jobs, and then plan programmes and courses needed. The line between “learning” and “working” is blurring, as students increasingly embark on real-life projects and people live longer and stay in the workforce longer than ever.

There’s also a value shift at work. Studies suggest people are seeking meaningful work that contributes to a larger goal, such as positive social impact. Mental well-being, work-life balance, flat hierarchies, transparency and diversity are getting more important. This relates to the Passion Economy, in which people search for meaning and experiences over salary and things. These require comfort with uncertainty, a "prototyping"/ experimental mindset.

Other related questions: how might we reimagine jobs as skills? What would a “job” look like by 2035?

  • New learn-work curriculum and models that are driven by adaptability and nimbleness rather than content and fixed structures

  • Reimagined learning/ upskilling/ reskilling frameworks at work, that embeds learnings as part of work rather than how it’s sometimes currently seen – something tedious, mandatory, dreary, to be done on a separate “corporate learning portal”.

  • Tech that teaches: Tech-driven tools that help weave learning opportunities into the flow of daily work life; or nudges us to share knowledge; or help manage time and create space for learning, etc.

For enquiries contact us at:
research@designsingapore.org

Interested to apply for the Good Design Research Grant?

Download the Application Kit below to find out everything you need to know about the GDR Grant. Application closes on 3 January 2022!

Good Design Research Resources

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