School of X

Pilot Programme: School of X
This pilot programme is under Recommendation 4: Create real-world design learning platforms for professionals.


To pilot this recommendation, the DERC proposes starting the “School of X”programme. This real-world open learning platform offers opportunities for working professionals to learn and practise design-led creative thinking, and to co-create solutions for the community. It brings together professionals in both the private and public sectors to tackle complex social and economic issues that can benefit from a design-led creative thinking approach. Through experiencing how design-led creative thinking can address real-world issues, participants will begin to understand design as a framework and mindset for creative problem-solving beyond its aesthetic function. Participants will not be formally assessed on how they approach the challenges, but will receive feedback from collaborators and facilitators. This will be an opportunity for participants to build up a portfolio of their work.

The School of X will partner with interested stakeholders to curate design challenges, and connect challenge sponsors to a selected pool of facilitators and participants. A curator will oversee the design challenges from a content and engagement level. The curator will also be in charge of working with various stakeholders for the project and forming transdisciplinary teams with the participants. The three main groups of stakeholders involved are:

  • Challenge sponsors
    They identify and own the briefs to be worked on, provide background knowledge and subject matter expertise, and support the subsequent implementation of outcomes. They will also play an active role in guiding and mentoring participants.
  • Design facilitators
    These are typically design practitioners or experts in design-led creative thinking. They will guide participants to address the briefs through design-led creative thinking approaches.
  • Participants
    These are professionals who are interested in learning about design-led creative thinking approaches, or who have varying degrees of knowledge in the area pertaining to the design challenge. They would be from different professional backgrounds, and can contribute to the team’s learning by sharing their unique skillsets with one another.

An example of a challenge sponsor is a hospital that provides a challenge statement about facilitating an individual’s transition from healthcare institutions back into the community. The design facilitators for this challenge could be design educators from an IHL, or professionals from design consultancies. Participants will work with stakeholders to generate ideas which could then be further developed and refined. Upon completing the project, participants would have created prototypes of solutions which could be implemented and even scaled. Through this process, they will acquire design sensibilities and learn to apply design-led creative thinking to improve their work and everyday lives. Other examples of challenge sponsors could be a neighbourhood interest group which is seeking to improve interactions between generations or a hawker centre keen to promote healthy eating.

The Dsg will develop the framework for the School of X, which the DERC hopes other organisations will adopt to offer their own real-world design learning platforms, thus ensuring its sustainability and growth.

The DERC believes that this recommendation will benefit the participants involved in the design challenges and give all stakeholders involved the opportunity to hone their skills in organisation, teaching, facilitation and management in a transdisciplinary environment. By getting individuals from different industries and backgrounds to collaborate, learn and master design-led creative thinking together, they will also develop empathy, compassion, as well as a spirit of innovation and resilience that will make Singapore a more liveable and loveable city.


For more information on Recommendation 4, click here.