How Can Design Transform Lives?

“Treat people the way they want to be treated, not how you want to be treated.”

Somehow, this sentence really stuck in my head, because it is a different perspective from the typical saying of “Treat others how you want to be treated.”.

Just because I prefer to receive something in a certain way, doesn’t mean I should design my work to prioritise my preferences, or be limited to whatever already exists in the market.

Instead, how do I understand what my audience is looking for, and design the product or service to be delivered according to how they want to be treated? What is missing from the options they are currently being offered, and what more are they hoping for?

Children with cerebral palsy face issues of discomfort and inconvenience with existing assistive walkers. Caregivers are often physically exhausted at having to help their children in and out of the walkers frequently. (Graphic:

As a designer, what skills would I need, to improve my conversation with them and value add to their lives?

After engaging children with cerebral palsy and their caregivers, STUCK invented the Leapfrog walker, an elegant mechanical solution which eliminates the need for frequent, and exhausting transfers in and out of the walker for short breaks. Notice the smooth transition from sitting to standing with the Leapfrog walker (top photos) vs the standard assistive walker (bottom photos). (Photos:

Introducing the Skills Framework for Design

In July 2019, Minister Chan Chun Sing launched the Skills Framework for Design, which offers a common skills language for individuals, employers and training providers, putting everyone on the same page.

Seven organisations have committed to using the Skills Framework For Design: PALO IT, Foolproof, Aleph, STUCK, DesignSingapore Council, METHODOLOGY and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Mr Yong Jieyu, Co-Founder and Director, STUCK, shares his thoughts about the Skills Framework for Design:

As a design-centric company, STUCK is using the Skills Framework for Design as a guide to catalyse company-wide discussions about common goal setting and career growth. We are aligning our internal skills assessment and development mapping with our designers using the Skills Framework.

Mr Yong Jieyu (rightmost) is the Co-Founder and Director of STUCK, a multidisciplinary design studio that fluidly bridges physical products, digital interaction and user experiences. Since its founding in 2010, STUCK has helped to define market shifting innovations across strategy, industrial design and UI/UX for bold startups and forward-thinking brands around the world. (Photo: DesignSingapore Council)

Mr Yong also granted us an email interview on the impact of the Skills Framework for Design below.

1. How has the Skills Framework for Design positively impacted STUCK’s employees?

We are using the new Skills Framework for Design as a reference point for our internal training and development program. It is a resource for our staff to compare skillsets across the industry and discuss skills to pursue and develop.

As the Skills Framework for Design provides tangible skills mapping and descriptions, our designers can better understand how to systematically work on their professional development.

STUCK also uses it as additional input and assessment of future skills we might want to train our team in.

2. Could you share one design that arose from the adoption of the Skills Framework for Design?

We did a few rounds of exercises with our designers to identify what skills they might be interested in developing and how to most effectively train for them.

We are in the midst of consolidating this information to create an internal training plan for our team’s career development. The challenge will be to design a feasible structure for team members to take time off for learning and training amidst daily business.

We have implemented short learning “sabbaticals” for the team as part of the solution, and are now looking at how to insert micro-learning opportunities on a day-to-day basis.

3. If you had a good friend who would benefit from the Skills Framework for Design, how would you convince him to adopt it?

I would buy him coffee and show it to him! The best way is for the person to explore the Skills Framework and discover what is relevant to him.

But I will definitely bring up the point that the Skills Framework for Design was developed by the DesignSingapore Council, Skillsfuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore in collaboration with the design industry, IHLs and government organisations.

It is also part of DesignSingapore Council’s Design Industry Manpower Study, incorporating trends and forecasts in design employment.

If the government has spent so much resources on developing this Skills Framework meant to guide the industry in the long-term, I don’t see why one should let go of such an opportunity to leverage the available information.

How Can Workers Leverage on the Skills Framework For Design To Transform Lives?

As a worker in the design industry, I can identify relevant skills and training programmes (via the Skills Framework Template generator which creates an On-The-Job Blueprint on skills we need) in content creation and prepare for job roles which are or will be in demand.

Career Pathways In Design (Source: SkillsFuture)

SkillsFuture currently lists several courses I can take, however it is not exhaustive and we may have to find our own course providers for some of the skills such as Empathetic Design (which sometimes is a subtopic within another Design course and not a single course by itself).

The On-The-Job Blueprint is nevertheless a useful resource to highlight skills and competencies I need to upskill myself in, and it is easily generated by management, HR and even self-employed designers to assess their training needs.

Hopefully, with better access to skills assessments, roadmaps, career pathways and training programmes, we can apply more design-led approaches to solve complex issues across sectors and transform lives, the way STUCK does with its inventions to create products, apps and services of tomorrow.


Special thanks to Mr Yong Jieyu, Co-Founder and Director of STUCK, for the insights he shared in the email interview. 

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