Design Challenges

Design Challenge #1 (co-created with Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment) Design Challenge #1

How might we encourage communities to support local produce?

Here’s a description of the issues that prompted the challenges:

Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of our food from over 170 countries and regions. While source diversification serves us well in ensuring supply, we remain vulnerable to emerging trends such as climate change, geopolitical issues and disruptions to supply chains. As part of our broader strategy to strengthen our food security, Singapore has set a ‘30 by 30’ goal to build the capability and capacity to produce 30 per cent of Singapore’s nutritional needs locally by 2030. Farms are adopting climate-resilient, resource-efficient and sustainable technologies to further increase productivity. They are also experimenting with alternative spaces, such as the rooftops of multi-storey carparks for commercial urban farming. Because farm-to-fork distance reduces drastically with easier trucking from a local farm source, locally produced food is fresher. These efforts will make local produce more available.

To help farms remain commercially viable, they will need the corresponding demand for their produce. Current initiatives to raise awareness and visibility of local produce include the SG Fresh Produce logo and SG Farmer’s Market at various community spaces and online channels. How might we encourage communities to support and buy local produce?

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Design Challenge #2 (co-created with Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment) Design Challenge #2

How might we, as designers, create more sustainable products?

Here’s a description of the issues that prompted the challenges:

Throwing away food, plastic bottles, or a shirt worn only once – these are seemingly harmless actions, but when everyone does it, they contribute to a worldwide waste problem. Singapore has an efficient way of managing our waste through incineration, which reduces its volume by up to 90 per cent. However, this is not sufficient. If we keep up with our current waste disposal rates, Singapore would need to build a new incineration plant every 7 to 10 years. By 2035, Semakau Landfill, our only one, is expected to run out of space. There is hence an urgency to develop more sustainable products that require less materials, last longer, and are more easily recycled. To improve our resource resiliency, we need to shift from a linear approach to a circular economy.

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Design Challenge #3 (co-created with Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) Design Challenge #3

How might we, as designers, create spaces and experiences for diverse individuals and communities to interact and engage with each other meaningfully?

Here’s a description of the issues that prompted the challenges:

Communities with diverse social networks are more generous and caring towards neighbours and strangers. Thus, it is vital to sustain and strengthen interactions between heterogenous communities across different ages, life-stages, socio-economic profiles and religious beliefs to build generous and caring communities. However, it seems that meaningful social mixing opportunities to foster understanding and appreciation of our diversity often require considerable in-person investment of time and effort. As we get busy with various priorities in our day-to-day, it's easy to forget and be less intentional about diversity. We stick with our routines and within our immediate social circle, with little space to talk to and mingle with others. This makes it challenging for us to understand and appreciate others who are different or have different practices from us.

Can design be used to:

  1. Foster and create a sense of community and camaraderie online
  2. Create inclusive spaces in dedicated facilities (e.g. places of worship) to facilitate organic public interactions
  3. Minimise fears of linguistic, cultural, religious inadequacies which are oft-cited barriers to open communication and interactions across communities
  4. Go beyond superficial acceptance of people from different backgrounds and of different identities and cultivate a deep understanding and appreciation of them
  5. Encourage residents to form sustainable and inclusive mutual aid1 networks or start mutual aid initiatives with their neighbours
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Design Challenge #4 (co-created with Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) Design Challenge #4

How might we, as designers, encourage more open, respectful, and constructive debates and discussions about our social differences?

Here’s a description of the issues that prompted the challenges:

Our social harmony is still a work in a progress. While the last race-related riots in Singapore was 57 years ago, everyday slights and assumptions based on prejudice – overt or not, hurt and will over time, erode trust and social cohesion. There is growing awareness that technological and design interventions can trigger awareness of implicit bias and improve a personal / collective commitment to eliminating prejudice and discrimination.

What kind of design applications can we use to –

  1. Bring awareness to self/community on implicit biases
  2. Facilitate a commitment to positive change and contributions to the wider community
  3. Improve platforms and structures which are (in)directly perpetuating prejudice and discrimination?
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We Need Your Help

Are you a designer or a design agency based in Singapore?

Graphic designer If you are a graphic designer, can you visualise information and encourage communities to support local food produce?
Industrial designer If you are an industrial designer, can you reimagine discarded materials sourced from waste to create sustainable products?
UX designer If you are a UX designer, can you create an application to encourage social mixing between communities?
Interior designer If you are an architectural/ interior designer, can you help to create spaces, structures and platforms to create positive change to the wider community?

The list goes on...

We invite you to look at the following design challenges and submit your design proposals by 31 October, 2021, 2359 hours (SGT).

Seed Money

The award quantum takes into account the time and effort put in by participants; it serves as a guide for participants to define and specify their deliverables. The buffer between the 2 levels of prize money is to distinguish the merits for every solution in terms of their intensity/complexity and completeness to the solution.

Seed money

Important Dates

Important Dates

Terms & Conditions


  • All entries submitted must be completed or realisable within the 6 to 12 months timeline, with a minimum viable product (MVP) following proof of concept
  • Joint-project submissions from more than one design firm or practice are eligible for entry.
  • Conceptual works and projects developed by students who are still undergoing professional design studies are eligible.
  • Any projects submitted which have not conformed to the Terms & Conditions are not deemed ineligible.
  • The executive committee in consultation with the international judges reserves the right to reject entries on the grounds of ineligibility if they affect the standards of the awards, potentially mar the reputation of the organisation and its jury, cause any concern on the issue of interests, etc.

Intellectual Property, Rights & Terms of Use

  • All rights related to the name and trademark of Singapore Design Awards is managed and owned exclusively by Design Business Chamber Singapore.
  • Any candidate seeking to use the related name and trademark must gain written consent from the DBCS Executive Committee.
  • Awardees will be allowed to use the relevant Singapore Design Awards logos.
  • Design companies or designers submitting works for any category must be responsible for their own intellectual property (IP) and patent issues. The organisers take no responsibility for any infringement of IP rights.
  • All design firms and institutions which submit an entry to the Singapore Design Awards agree to allow the organisers to use any of their submissions and the right to reproduce any work for publicity purposes.
  • If any press, publications or media networks agree to publicise the awardees, the entrants further agree to absorb talent or other residual charges incurred by inclusion if required.


  • The judges reserve the right not to confer awards in any category if the entries were found to be below par in terms of reaching the top bandwidth of a category’s score board.
  • The judges’ decisions are made with their own discretion and are considered final.
  • All submissions will be evaluated by the same panel of judges from each discipline.
  • Should the judge be involved in any of the entries submitted, he/she will not be allowed to evaluate the project.