Good Design Research - Challenge Statements

Designers who are keen to work on impactful design projects but are not already addressing a problem statement can reference this list of challenge statements. Interested designers and design enterprises are welcome to work on these challenge statements and submit a proposal with solutions in the GDR open call.


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:


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:


*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 for age-friendly community in Whampoa, that can enable older persons to continue to lead healthy, engaged, and purposeful lives even as Covid-19 becomes endemic? 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. Designs for health, safety and well-being (physical, mental, emotional) for the Community for Successful Ageing age-friendly community in Whampoa as Covid-19 becomes endemic

  2. Ways to modify the age-friendly built environment in Whampoa to minimise risks of Covid-19 transmission and improve way-finding  

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

For enquiries, please contact Aw Su:



1. The Human Touch in Digital

Challenge Statement What are we looking out for?

How might we design for authentic human connections via digital experiences?

One of the most obvious impact of Covid-19 on our lives has been the leap to digitalization across all areas of our lives - in work, personal communication, leisure consumption, purchase behaviours, necessitating new business models, work flows and even organizational culture and social rules. And these changes are here to stay. But while the pivot to digital enables people connect more easily, current digital experiences are a pale shadow of true human interaction. Skilful human-centred digital design will be the true game changer in post-Covid world.

  1. New online experiences leveraging technologies (such as haptic, extended reality, AR/VR, affective computing, AI, etc) particularly in the spaces of entertainment, sports, heritage, arts, medicine or any area contributing to lifestyle and/or well-bring.
  2. Novel online-offline hybrid experiences, especially in lifestyle sectors of retail, wellness, tourism, and for work.
  3. New business models for digital or hybrid experiences
  4. Models, plug-and-play platforms, tools or frameworks that can scale digital transformation of Singapore businesses in general, but especially that of design businesses in product, spatial and visual design. The emphasis is on scale, proving that the technique can be easily adopted and leading to sustained, impactful change.

In short, this is NOT about just UX / UI design!

2. 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, whether they be sports or food?

Even pre-Covid, we have seen shifts in consumption patterns, particularly in greater willingness to adopt digital technology for work and leisure. We further anticipate new consumer behaviours and preferences following Covid-19 that will change the nature and types of goods and services demanded globally, in particular:

  1. Increased demand for higher standards for safety, hygiene and quality;
  2. Increased focus on health and well-being, driving up demand for healthcare related products and services;
  3. Increased demand for environmentally-friendly materials and practices; and
  4. Reduced willingness to travel, especially to high density destinations like Singapore. 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Flexible and multi-modal spaces or products that do double-duty in homes, work spaces and public spaces. This is an especially precious opportunity to redefine traditional segmentation of space and product design by current definitions according to public, commercial and residential.
  3. Designs for environmental sustainability, for instance sustainable packaging, building materials and circular business practices.
  4. New ways of experiencing lifestyle, whether they be completely virtual or hybrid (also refer to #1 Challenge on Human Touch in Digital).
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