Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines
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Meet the Good Design Research Initiative panellists

4 min read

What is good design research and why is it important for designers? Meet the panellists of the Good Design Research initiative as they share what makes a good design research project, why it’s important, and what they’re looking out for in the 2nd open call of this initiative.

Research is fundamental to good design, but it requires investment. Such investment is often at a significant personal cost or not a priority due to the demands of keeping a commercial practice sustainable. There is also a lack of like-minded (i.e. impact-driven) clients and partners as many clients are still focused on low cost and fast roll-out, and therefore are unwilling to pay for additional costs related to design research. 

Thus, the Good Design Research initiative fills the gap to support small, local design firms, enabling them to develop breakthrough, innovative and impactful products and services that tackle complex global challenges and benefit people, businesses and environment.

In this video, we spoke with two of our four evaluation panel members for the Good Design Research (GDR) initative October cycle – Tai Lee Siang, Executive Director, BuildSG, Building and Construction Authority, and Duleesha Kulasooriya, Executive Director, Deloitte Center for the Edge, Asia Pacific.

Fellow panellists Cristina Ventura and Low Cheaw Hwei also shared their thoughts on the importance of a unique value proposition and having strong design research.

Cristina, Founder & CEO of VenturaXVentures, said: “The USP (unique selling proposition) is what describes the benefits of the designer, how to solve the customer’s needs and what distinguishes the designer and his/her product from the competition. It is the integration of what the customers want, what the brand does well and what the competitor or other designers do well.” The Good Design Research initiative will help designers develop their own USP so they can stand out from competitors in a global marketplace.

There are many valid problems to solve but a research project must be based on facts and exact data to back up the studies.

Tai Lee Siang, Executive Director, BuildSG, Building and Construction

Low Cheaw Hwei, Head of Design APAC, Head of Design Consulting Asia, Head of Government & Public Affairs Singapore, Philips ASEAN Pacific, emphasised that research is crucial to developing good and impactful design. 

He said, “Design-led research should dig deep into topics such as understanding people, socio-cultural trend studies, impact of technology, methods-of-thinking, developing crafts and tools etc. A program such as GDR can help to provide resources to design teams and designers to proactively tease out potential problems to be solved and bring these to the attention of relevant stakeholders. Design can help to see what is not visible to others.

“Through design-led research, we will generate deep knowledge, develop new capabilities, initiate new thinking and ideas. It will be a new important field to anchor the ‘intellect-of-design’ as we weave design practice into the wider economy”.

The 2nd open call for the Good Design Research initative will take place from 13 Oct 2020 to 10 Nov 2020. Get more information here.

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President*s Design Award
Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines
Singapore Design Week
One of Asia’s premier design festivals that champions design thought leadership
National Design Centre