SINGAPORE: A plan to get every Singaporean to think about design in their everyday lives was unveiled on Thursday (Mar 10) at an event celebrating the opening of the 2016 Singapore Design Week at the National Design Centre (NDC).
Design 2025 - Singapore by Design hopes to infuse design into everyone's skill set, as part of a bold vision to turn Singapore into a thriving, innovation-driven economy and a "loveable city by design" in the next 10 years.
In May 2015, a 16-man taskforce called the Design Masterplan Committee was formed to come up with a plan that will transform the way Singaporeans live, learn, work and play. The aim is to create an even more vibrant and competitive Singapore, simply by changing the way we all look at design.
The committee plans to bring design into the community through outreach events such as the Singapore Design Week that started on Mar 10. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)
"Design matters because it puts people's experiences, the user's experience, at the centre of creating an innovative economy and nation building in that sense," said Mr Jeffrey Ho, executive director of the DesignSingapore Council.
The committee came up with 15 recommendations in its masterplan. They come under five strategic thrusts, targeted at different segments of society.
"One clearly would be the workforce, and the public sector agencies who are users of design,” said Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Economic Development Board. “Obviously, we have to think in terms of the community and then finally what design can mean for Singapore."
The committee envisioned design being part of the national skill set.
It recommended infusing design in schools' curriculum, starting from preschool. It also advocated design-thinking to be infused in policy-making, so that public servants can create public policies and services that are centred on people. It also wants to bring design into the community through outreach activities and festivals.
How the committee plans to bring design into the community. (Image: DesignSingapore Council, MCI)
In addition, more help will be extended to design firms to expand locally and overseas. For instance, there are plans to open a business centre at the NDC to provide firms with basic resources they require.
"Many of the design firms are small, some as small as a two-man firm,” said Dr Beh. “It is about encouraging collaboration, cooperation and making sure the infrastructure, the sort of services to foster that can be available."
The committee plans to extend more help to design firms to expand locally and overseas. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)
Accepting the report and its broad recommendations, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, said in a press release: “I am confident that the recommendations outlined in Design 2025 will help increase design adoption and grow the design industry further. More importantly, they will enable businesses to create business opportunities, and society to improve the quality of life for our people through design.
"I look forward to the strong support and participation from the public, private and people sector to realise the vision of making Singapore an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city by 2025.”
Industry experts said design has become more important than ever before and it will have a significant contribution to Singapore's national initiatives like Smart Nation, SkillsFuture and Future Economy.
At the opening of the Singapore Design Week, Dr Yaacob said design needs to be promoted to businesses and the community so Singapore can work towards its goal of being a global city of design.
He said design is a new source of growth for businesses and the Government will be doing more to help companies in this area, through a single Design Promotion Unit that will be set up within the Government to provide one-stop assistance for businesses.
"We will therefore look to implement quite soon the recommendation to set up a Business Centre in NDC that houses a pool of common business services which they can tap on, such as Public Relations, Human Resources and Intellectual Property Management," he said.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim at the opening of the Singapore Design Week. (Photo: Ngau Kai Yan)
To bring design to the community level, Dr Yaacob spoke of a need to cultivate an appreciation for design.
"If we can expose our young to design activities and the value of design, it can become a national skill set that will not only grow the pipeline of talent for the design industry, but also grow a skill that we think will make us ready for the future economy," Dr Yaacob said.