School of X (SoX)

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The School of X (SoX) is a classroom without walls, established by the DesignSingapore Council to empower everyone to use design for good. Through its real-world open learning platform it teaches anyone to design solutions to social challenges, with lasting impact.

Who is this for

  1. Participants: SoX welcomes participants from a wide range of backgrounds, as this helps us see our challenges, and their potential solutions, from many different perspectives. Participants could be professionals who are interested in learning about design-led creative thinking approaches, or who have specific experience in the challenge area. Participants might also be from community settings, motivated to collaborate with others to solve an issue that concerns them. SoX participants are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and everyone contributes to the team’s learning and outcomes by sharing their unique skillsets with one another.
  2. Challenge sponsors: Organisations that are passionate about building empathy, creative problem-solving, and innovation capabilities in their workforce, whilst tackling important social issues, are ideally suited to become SoX Challenge Sponsors. They are motivated to create positive impacts both within and beyond their organisations, and are committed to driving change for good. SoX Challenge Sponsors identify and own the design briefs that participants would tackle. They provide background knowledge and subject matter expertise, and support the subsequent implementation of appropriate outcomes.
  3. Design facilitators: SoX programmes are delivered by exceptional design practitioners, experienced in facilitating community-based design programmes, and passionate about creating positive impact through design. Our Design Facilitators guide participants in developing human-centred design skills as they tackle their real-world challenges, and support them as they grapple with the challenges of complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty inherent to the nature of SoX design projects.

Aim

Through experiencing how design-led creative thinking can address real-world issues, participants will begin to understand design as a framework and mindset for creative problem-solving beyond its aesthetic function.

SoX aims to build peoples’ human-centred design capabilities, as well as kickstarting mindset shifts that will enable sustained impact and ongoing transformation. SoX also aims to generate practical yet impactful solutions to complex, entrenched challenges with designs that can be implemented, tested, iterated and quickly operationalised.

Programme outline

SoX is like a design gym. With challenging projects across the island, people can build their design thinking muscles wherever they are, coached by experts to get better and stronger along the way, while designing a better Singapore together.

SoX is exciting, energising, and empowering! It enables citizens to become agents of change. It is for everyone. If you are a working professional, it is a platform for you to learn and practice design-led creative thinking. If you are a citizen/volunteer interested in building your community, it allows you to co-create solutions for your community. If you are a designer, it allows you an opportunity to use your design skills to design change for greater good.

Participants, design experts, and challenge sponsors will work within a framework that includes tools, workshops and more with a network of partners from the industry, public sector and design experts. 

Participants will get to work on challenges of various scale, from ground up challenges (e.g. how might we transform our void deck into a space for our community to gather and connect?) to systems-level challenges (e.g. how might we improve health outcomes for people as they transition from hospitals to home?). 

We start by helping people to research their challenge and see it more clearly, to ensure they are focusing on the correct angle. We show them how to connect the dots between the problems they are grappling with and the desired future outcomes. We help them understand how to generate ideas, design solutions, and test them in the real-world. We show people how to get buy-in and support for their concepts, and eventually to roll them out to genuinely tackle what had seemed like an impossible challenge.

SoX is a classroom without walls and a school without exams. Participants will not be formally assessed on how they approach the challenges but will focus on the outcomes they experience and generate. However, even without walls and exams, we do have certificates! All those who successfully commit to, engage with, and deliver desired outcomes through the programme will be awarded a School of X certificate of achievement.

You can find out more about the School of X programme here.

Eligibility criteria 

SoX is dedicated to generating positive, shared impacts through design. As such, we expect the projects we work on to have some social impact components.

This might include, but not be limited to, aspects such as:

  • Maintaining cultural heritage
  • Reducing environmental impacts
  • Improving health outcomes
  • Supporting mental wellness
  • Increasing equity in accessibility to public services
  • Creating vibrant community spaces

Challenge Sponsors keen to work with us should get in touch with schoolofx@designsingapore.org to discuss the nature and suitability of your project.

For our participants, there are no eligibility requirements to access our programmes. We welcome everyone! However, we do ask for full attendance during our programmes, in order to ensure that robust project outcomes can be achieved

When it comes to our Design Facilitators, we are unapologetically choosy. We have developed an assessment matrix that allows us to ensure that only those with the right blend and depth of experience, strong skillsets, and aligned values are appointed to our panel. If you are a design practitioner who is passionate about using design for good, and you have experience in facilitating complex, community-centred design projects, please get in touch to find out more about our Design Facilitator Panel.

How to apply

Please contact us at schoolofx@designsingapore.org to find out about how to sponsor a design project at SoX, how to participate in a forthcoming SoX project, or how to become a SoX Design Facilitator.

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