The Design Week event held in our Singapore studio attracted nearly 50 attendees, bringing together representatives from food start-ups to agri-tech experts, students, policymakers and some people who simply love food.
Together we explored food as a complex system. It is in these complex systems that ThinkPLace does its work, understanding and mapping complexity and driving positive change in a way that includes those who will experience and navigate it.
Participants were able to immerse themselves in a few maps; tracing ingredient life-cycles, the personas that make up a food system and a bigger picture systems perspective that encompassed a variety of stakeholders.
We then broke into groups to discuss threats and opportunities, brainstorm ideas for the future and discuss possible collaborations that could come out of our conversations. While this was a Design Week event the intent was strong to create lasting collaborations and new possibilities from this influential and passionate group we had assembled.
What we came up with…
Some of our favourite ideas included a leftovers-only cookbook, crafting a brand around “wonky” or “ugly” food and bringing back the tingkat (traditional Singaporean tiffin boxes).
The Leftovers only cookbook and the “wonky” food brand ideas were borne out of a desire to reduce waste by being more open-minded about the food we usually purchase in supermarkets as well as to make the most out of food we’ve already bought.
These ideas then spawned into others around 5-minute lifestyle videos, a physical cookbook, a social media movement and more.
The tingkat idea was proposed in partnership with local Hawker centres, to see how Singapore as a nation can reduce the usage of single-use plastic. This is especially prevalent since such a significant proportion of our population does in rely on Hawker centres for food, especially waste-producing take-aways.
It was truly wonderful to have such a diverse range of perspectives in our studio and we’re thankful for their ideas, time, and for the thing that brought us all together in the first place: Nasi Lemak.
What comes next…
One of the participants really enjoyed the variety and conversation that spanned so many different people from diverse backgrounds and is already planning how to follow up with a similar event for the NGO community.
Representatives from a foreign company in the agricultural space were appreciative of the opportunity to get a local Singaporean perspective.
Overall, our event was presented as an experiment and a lot of our participants were excited to follow through with an actual full-scale project. In that way, we achieved our goal of fostering partnerships in the local community. We are optimistic that this event not only surfaced important conversations and connections between issues around food security and sustainability but also forged new collaborations that will lead to future impact in this important space.
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