Better Life by Design

Design Thinking used to improve learning and living



How the case links to the UN sustainable development goal: 

This project involved a collaboration with schools to highlight school-based and community projects to improve well-being and quality of life of those in need.

  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

What Was Done:

DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) actively sought out schools who have made significant progress in school improvement and the social innovation space using Design Thinking as a method of inquiry. Dsg worked with four shortlisted schools to share their journey with the rest of Singapore schools through a series of videos. Students and teachers on the projects were intimately involved in the development and production of these Dsg-sponsored main videos and blooper videos. Dsg then amplified their efforts through a social media campaign which garnered 642,000 views on our social media platforms.

How Things Were Done:

Schools shared each of their signature project with Dsg as follows before Dsg engaged a professional production company to work out the script and involve the students and teachers in the production:

  • Cedar Girls’ School: Umbrella for Uncle Soh (click here for video link)

A social innovation project where a student team developed an umbrella walking stick prototype for him to allow him to use a walking stick without being stigmatised

  • Commonwealth Secondary School: A New D&T Lab! (click here for video link)

A teacher team went on a user journey to identify ways to revamp a Design & Technology laboratory to increase student usage

  • Nanyang Girls’ High School (click here for video link); Tilda

An interdisciplinary project where students identified the need of a stroke patient to feed herself following a Learning Journey to a social organization and developed a hydraulic tray to address her needs

  • Broadrick Secondary School (click here for video link): Raiz-Up!

A group of students used Design Thinking to improve the working conditions for an elderly janitor, developing a hydraulic lift to help him lift heavy trash bags following the completion of the 4 videos, a social media campaign was launched in 2020 to share the stories with the rest of the education fraternity through the 4 main videos as well as a series of bloopers. Schools could also use these videos in their own external engagements.

Target Level of Education:

Secondary Education


$140,000 (USD 100,000)

Materials Used in the Project:

Design Thinking resources, Design & Technology resources and facilities, STEM resources

Good Practices:

The close collaboration with our school partners allowed for a trusting and constructive relationship as we shared their goals of nurturing design sensibilities in the students and enriching their learning experiences as we amplify the school-level efforts.

Challenges We Faced / Things to Develop:

All the schools surfaced are of the Secondary levels and we hope to be able to cultivate relationships with more primary schools to surface more of such wonderful examples to share with others who are interested in design education.


Sheena Lai