Innovation projects are initiatives designed to drive new ways of working in the social service sector, to tackle complex issues and achieve social impact. Two such initiatives are the Design Ethnography projects “The Path to… Better Life by Design: Designing for persons with disabilities in Singapore” and “Who Cares? Transforming the Caregiving Experience in Singapore” - as well as the Sector Design Challenge (SDC). These initiatives contribute to the ongoing and continuous process of mind-set and culture shifts towards innovation and productivity in the social service sector.
If you are interested to embark on your own innovation journey but are not sure how to do so, our Social Innovation Starter Kit might be of interest to you! The starter kit consists of innovation and design thinking tips, tools and frameworks, contextualised to the social service sector, as well as insights and areas of learning from the Sector Design Challenge 2019 participants.
Read on to find out more about these projects!
For any enquiry, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Productivity projects are initiatives designed to help social service agencies improve organisational capabilities and productivity, through technology and innovation. Two new initiatives, Tech Booster and
Back-to-Basics, were announced at the 2019 Social Service Summit.
With funding of close to SGD20 million from National Productivity Fund, Tech Booster and Back-to-Basics will offer ready technologies
and innovative solutions at attractive subsidies to alleviate manpower challenges in the sector.
Read on to find out more about these projects!
Launched at the Social Service Summit 2019,
the Sector Design Challenge (SDC) serves as an innovation platform for participants from the People, Private and Public (3-P) organisations to forge new partnerships, develop and build human-centred design skill-sets as well as develop innovative
solutions to address the needs of social service users.
Over the course of 4 months in 2019, over 100 participants underwent 4 workshops and 2 mentoring clinics; and were engaged in the process of scoping, understanding user needs, working in partnership with tri-sector partners to co-create solutions. 13 teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges in November 2019, and three teams received up to $30,000* in seed grants to pilot their solutions. These teams were selected for their potential to scale their projects to create greater impact in the sector. One team received the “People’s Choice Award”, based on votes from the audience.
NCSS has consolidated insights from the SDC 2019 teams’ innovation journeys. This will be shared with the wider social sector through Innovation Learning Journeys and the Social Innovation Starter Kit.
Moving forward, NCSS will be organising Sector Design Challenge 2021, to invite more participants from the social service sector to embark on their innovation journeys. You can look out for more details coming your way.
*1st place - $30,000, 2nd place - $20,000, 3rd place - $10,000
Watch the videos below to see the SDC 2019 participants in action:
Highlights from SDC 2019 Workshop 3:
Highlights from SDC 2019 Pitch Day:
After 2019's successful run of the Sector Design Challenge, NCSS collaborated with MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) to launch Design4Impact in 2020. Design4Impact is an innovation platform that brings together social-minded groups and individuals to co-create solutions for health and social needs amplified by COVID-19.
Over 180 participants from 31 teams, comprising of community volunteers, social care workers, grassroots organisations, healthcare professionals, students, private sector professionals took part in Design4Impact. With the knowledge gained from four weeks
of virtual workshops and real-world prototyping, participants ideated and co-created solutions to three challenge statements. Each team was guided by a facilitator who is skilled in Design Thinking and a buddy from the healthcare or social service
sector to ensure that solutions were feasible and relevant, in line with the needs of service users.
Eight teams were selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in July 2020, and the top three winning teams were eligible to receive a seed grant of $12,000 each to bring their solutions to fruition.
Design4Impact is jointly led by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) and supported by DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) and Institute of Systems Science at National University of Singapore (NUS-ISS). Design4Impact is also proudly sponsored by Prudential Singapore. For more information on Design4Impact, please refer to the microsite- https://www.moht.com.sg/design4impact
For any enquiry on the Sector Design Challenge or Design4Impact, please email us at DesignChallenge@ncss.gov.sg.
Back-to-Basics aims to support professionals currently in the sector to serve clients better and faster, through targeted funding for Speech Therapists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists, Social Workers
(SW) and Youth Workers (YW)*. This will comprise a fully-funded consultancy, and technology adoption subsidies of up to 95% capped at SGD100,000 for therapists and $80,000 for Social Workers and Youth Workers.
The multi-year project will be implemented by March 2023. It aims to increase existing professionals’ capacity and capability by streamlining processes, redesigning jobs and technology adoption, to free up time for serving more clients instead of handling administrative tasks. The professionals can have higher job satisfaction and perform upgraded functions that better use their professional skills and knowledge.
*eligible programmes for Social Workers (SW) and Youth Workers (YW) are: Family Service Centres, Child Protection Service Centres and Youth programmes
How will the project benefit Social Service Agencies?
How it all started
“Close to nine in 10 Singaporeans prefer to make electronic payments, as opposed to using cash, showed the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey. This represents an 11 per cent increase from the previous year, making Singapore the most developed market in the region for cashless payments.” (TODAY, 17 May 2017)
Singapore is moving towards a cashless society, so are the donors. To address the top few pain points of Flag Day such as tedious and manual processes of counting money, security and audit services to address governance and security concerns, NCSS partnered seven social service agencies: Beyond Social Services, Compassion Fund, Cheng Hong Welfare Service Society, Kidney Dialysis Foundation, SHINE Children and Youth Services (formerly known as Students Care Services), REACH Community Services Society and Persatuan Persuratan Pemuda Pemudi Melayu (Malay Youth Literary Association) to pilot cashless donation technology for their Flag Days.
What is DonateNow!
DonateNOW! is a fully-funded initiative by NCSS to help social service agencies automate their donation collection process through cashless payment technologies. The project allowed the agencies to harness the power and convenience of technology to increase productivity through the following ways:
Agencies went through consultancy workshops to learn about cashless payment technologies (such as NETs QR Code, PayWave, Masterpass, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Android Pay, GrabPay, FavePay, LiquidPay, QKR by Mastercard, etc) and implement
them at their fundraising events from May to December 2018. This is in line with Singapore Government’s move towards Smart Nation initiative and cashless society.
Applications are now closed.
A total of 70 agencies benefitted from the project and achieved the following outcomes:
Based on the palette of emotions a Caregiver feels, nine key insights into today’s experience of caregiving were presented in the publication:
These insights gained were thus used to guide the ideation process of envisioning and designing a better caregiving ecosystem to support caregivers and their loved ones. Seven concept ideas presented in the publication were fine-tuned based on feedback
with various stakeholders including the Caregivers themselves, Social Service Agencies, as well as healthcare and social care professionals. Several of the proposed concepts were also highlighted in the 3rd Enabling Masterplan.
More details on the publication.