Good Design Research - Challenge Statements


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 flowing!

Challenge Statements from our partners


Challenge Statement + Context What are we looking out for?

How might we use design and community engagement to enliven public spaces?


Public spaces are just like the living rooms of our city: they are places of encounters and environments for interactions. They can range in type and scale, from grand plazas, squares and gardens, to small, intimate courtyards and neighbourhood pocket parks.


Successful public spaces are important as they foster community cohesion, provide a more liveable environment and enhance quality of life, including our mental well-being. Achieving successful and lively public spaces require thoughtful design and community engagement to ensure the environment meets the needs and aspirations of the community, and that the space would be well-used.


Most importantly, doing so strengthens one’s sense of ownership, identity and emotional connection to the area and the space.

Designers are encouraged to research on/ investigate one or more of the following: 


  • How to create an attractive, engaging and loveable space that appeals to our senses (e.g. sights, sounds and smells) and provides a sense of delight and comfort (e.g. physical, emotional and psychological comfort)
  • How to engender a sense of inclusivity, and encourage social bonding and mingling in public spaces (e.g. multi-generational spaces, allowing micro-communities to co-dwell in the space)
  • How to promote flexible uses/ programmes in public spaces

We are looking for:


  • Evidence-based methodologies (e.g. data collection and analysis such as surveys, community focus group discussions, and data sensors)
  • Design proposals and/or prototypes that involve the physical transformation/ intervention of existing open spaces
  • Research and prototypes that bring communities together through activating and creating delightful public spaces
  • Design proposals and/ or prototypes that are easily implemented and maintained by community members and stakeholders

Learn more about how the Lively Places Fund could support your project here.


For enquiries, please contact and Ian Pay:


Challenge Statement

What are we looking out for?

How might design strengthen SCDF’s digital engagement and management of external stakeholders to build a nation of lifesavers?  

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) envisions A Nation of Lifesavers by 2025,  whereby everyone can contribute to the safety and security of Singapore during both times of peace and emergencies. This necessitates a targeted and holistic engagement of numerous external stakeholders in the Emergency Response and Incident Management Ecosystem, including Community First Responders, volunteers, fire safety professionals, built environment professionals, fire safety managers and Company Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).   

To ensure that a stakeholder-centric mindset permeates across the SCDF, we are seeking to optimise the experiences of individuals across multiple SCDF touchpoints for more engaging and consistent experiences as we move towards our vision. 

We are looking for research and design proposals in the following areas:

  • How to design a digital ecosystem that harmonises and streamlines the digital experiences of the various external stakeholders as they interact with the SCDF? Designers could consider leveraging on the existing SCDF myResponder mobile app and Web Portal and introducing new experiences and/or resources.  

  • How to design a data-driven process to profile and manage a stakeholder at the individual level based on their interactions with  SCDF?  Designers should take into consideration SCDF’s need to use and visualise data to harness insights to effectively further engage and activate these stakeholders.  

Each individual stakeholder may hold multiple identities and can act in different capacities throughout their lifetime, e.g. as a member of public while also being a National Serviceman or a volunteer. Designers may consider the specific requirements for the following stakeholder segments,  noting these different concurrent identities at various stages of life.  

  • Fire safety professionals, fire safety managers and/or community first responders (in no particular order of preference). 

Design proposals that are focusing on selected stakeholder segments should be scalable across the wider ecosystem of stakeholders. 


For enquiries, please contact Syafiq Ong:


Challenge Statement What are we looking out for?

How might we use design to address the issue of glass waste in Singapore?

Singapore generates approximately 60,000 tonnes of glass waste annually. However, glass recycling rates in Singapore remain low at around 10%. Nearly all glass waste is sent to incinerators and eventually ends up in our landfill as glass does not burn. Glass only liquifies at 1600°C while our incinerators operate at 1000°C. As such, energy is wasted on trying to incinerate glass. In addition, glass waste takes up precious space in incinerators, which can be better used for waste which are easily incinerated.

A sustainable approach in managing glass waste is to crush the waste into safe-to-handle glass sand before reusing this as a raw material to create sustainable and environmentally friendly products and solutions. This promotes circularity and helps to reduce the environmental impact of glass waste.

Designers are encouraged to research on/ investigate one or more of the following:


  • What are the potential uses of glass sand as a raw material? Proposals can explore creating products and solutions, which should be feasible and scalable.
  • How might we grow micro communities which will promote decentralised recycling and help reuse glass waste generated in local communities?

We are looking for:


  • Design proposals and/or prototypes that aim to lessen the negative environmental impact of current glass waste management.
  • Design proposals and/or prototypes that are cost-effective to implement and practical for end users.

For enquiries, please contact Jason Kumar:


Interested parties can reach out for glass sand samples.


Open Challenges


Challenge Statement + Context What are we looking out for?
How might design enhance the sustainability and scalability of community philanthropy and crowdfunding efforts?   
Community philanthropy and crowdfunding efforts can play an important role in addressing inequality and other socioeconomic issues by helping individuals and communities in need. Activists and fundraisers are also increasingly turning to social media to raise money for causes and advocate for social good.  
However, there have also been concerns raised on the sustainability, legitimacy and accountability of such ground-up initiatives. How might we better establish trust and design more sustainable initiatives that support their beneficiaries effectively? 
This statement was crafted with thanks to a Good Design Research submission from Blossom Tang, who hopes to highlight the need for sustainability and scalability in philanthropy and crowdfunding efforts. 

We are looking for:

  • Design proposals anchored in research that seek to understand and address the challenges faced by community philanthropy and crowdfunding efforts in today’s context.  
  • Design concepts that enhance the sustainability and/or scalability of ground-up philanthropy and crowdfunding initiatives e.g. a framework, playbook or toolkit. 

For enquiries, please contact 


Challenge Statement + Context What are we looking out for?
Download our PDF here to learn more about Loveable Singapore Project.  

1. How might we build a greater sense of attachment to Singapore, deepen our roots and tap into our “social super glue” – which bonds us across backgrounds, ages and ethnicities through shared practices – to strengthen Singaporean culture and identity from ground up? 

From the insights gathered thus far, our shared cultural practices, beliefs, social habits, language and behavioural norms form a strong “social super glue”. Findings from Dsg’s Lovable Singapore Project revealed that shared cultural practices, beliefs, social habits, language and behavioural norms form a strong “social super glue”. These included food culture; being kiasu/ kaypoh/ chope-ing with tissue packs; Singlish; and the heartland way of life. 

However, rapid developments in our built environment and perceived over-curation of cultural practices have threatened these. A globalised workforce and new cultures are also bringing new ideas and influences into Singapore. 

We’re looking for design proposals that:  

- Explore opportunities to strengthen and build on elements already identified as the “social super glue” and embed local culture into everyday experiences beyond touristy/novelty gifts. This could include designing programmes that would allow citizens to be more interested in participating in community/ground up activities and further research into Singapore’s “social super glues” by examining the influence, context, underlying structures, nuances across different factors/areas (e.g. demographic groups, towns) and how they impact Singapore’s loveability. 

- Explore ways to further understand, embrace and integrate the new cultures. This could include designing strategic guidelines for co-creation opportunities and facilitating/building of ground-up culture and identity by different stakeholders. 

Designers are encouraged to: 

- Explore the nuances and particularities of our “social super glue” that can lead to more engaging experiences. 

- Design experiences that help strengthen exploration of Singapore culture in new ways, such as new formats, off-the-beaten tracks or new sensorial experiences. 

- Design for humour, joy and wit, to enable us to enjoy local cultural elements in new ways. 

2. How might we enhance people’s stake in a place and equip them with a sense of agency for its development? 

From the insights gathered thus far, we find places loveable to us when we are able to shape them and how they develop. However, not everyone feels that they can influence such planning decisions or self-organise to effect change.  

Allowing people to shape small-scale community places is desirable and attainable. There is also a need for organisations to partner with residents to translate community-driven initiatives into fruition as it could be unrealistic to expect a layperson to navigate around regulations or possess the skillsets to fully execute a concept. 

Groups like the Nature Society (Singapore) and the Singapore Heritage Society have played a significant part in shaping spaces and places of environmental and heritage significance. How might we further leverage such existing examples of community leadership to inspire others? 

We’re looking for design proposals that:  

- Run research at a precinct/neighbourhood level on how to reduce the barriers to encourage people to engage in co-creation and civic participation in their shared spaces. This could include: 

  • An understanding what is working well, and current barriers.  
  • How to achieve a mindset shift in activating communities to contribute more actively. 

- Explore capability-building in residents for greater ground-up engagement e.g. designing scalable frameworks or playbooks. This proposal could involve all stakeholders in a space, beyond just residents, and how to build up/ support community champions. 

3. How might we design for a more equitable society that promotes a softer definition of success and progress beyond economics? Can we further expand our values of multiculturalism, diversity and inclusivity to fit growing needs of emerging social groups?  

The flip side of progress could lead to perceptions of elitism and materialism in society. A narrow definition of success could also result in a stratified, hierarchical society lacking in compassion, which impacts our sense of inclusion and connection. 

With the social landscape becoming more complex due to the needs of emerging social groups like new citizens, we need to embrace designing for inclusion and diversity.  

Designers are encouraged to research on/ investigate one or more of the following: 

- Enhancing inclusiveness in public spaces, including social infrastructure where spontaneous interactions or encounters between different groups can take place and behavioural nudges for more inclusive and loveable behaviour. 

- Reframing/ redefining diversity through participatory approaches. Further research is needed to update our understanding of inclusiveness, considering the needs that may be overlooked in urban design, planning, products and services as society diversifies such as those pertaining to nationalities, genders, sexual orientations and physical disabilities. 

- Exploring tools and platforms (especially online ones like social media) to navigate change and diversity with empathy and skill.  

- How to more effectively discuss racial and other sensitive topics in a civil way that acknowledges nuances and complexities as systemic issues.   

- How to reach out to a truly diverse and wide-ranging audience when doing surveys and studies, especially for those who would not normally participate.  

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 June 2022!

Good Design Research Resources

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