Stage 2-Resident workshop

How Can Hong Kong Become a Model in Addressing Climate Change Issues?

HK Tertiary Schools COP21 Challenge 2015

Stage 2:

“Design Thinking for Green Lifestyles” Workshop- Weekend Challenge

Prepared by workshop facilitators

From October 31 to November 1, 2015, two dozen university students from across Hong Kong got together for an idea- and action-packed weekend to innovate ways to encourage green lifestyles. In 1.5 days, they learnt about design thinking and applied it hands-on, coming up with actionable ideas on an everyday level to help ease climate change.

This is part of the Hong Kong Tertiary Schools COP21 Challenge, a climate change event at the run-up to COP21, or the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Paris from late November 2015.

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a human-centered problem-solving tool that designs desirable solutions around people’s needs. In particular, it facilitates students to connect deeply with users, brainstorm creative solutions by deferring judgement in the early stage, and “fail fast and fail cheap” by quick prototyping instead of striving for initial perfection. It is an iterative process which traditionally involves five main steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

The design challenge

The overarching challenge was “how might we encourage green habits among young people in Hong Kong?” Each team selected a topic area to focus on, from a list of major causes that contribute to greenhouse gases emissions in Hong Kong.

Why design thinking and climate change?

Climate change is a complex problem whose remedies often elevate to top-down policy changes or incentives, or on the mass-individual level, action campaigns that ask people to refrain from certain behaviours (e.g. Earth Hour, No Air Con Night, Big Waster, recycle this and that, fly less often, etc.)

We believe design thinking sheds light on how we can extend our imagination of greens solutions by primarily looking at people’s needs, habits and obstacles, and coming up with solutions that people actually want and can effectively adopt. For “climate change” to become relevant to everyday citizens at all, we believe it is time we look at the problem and suggest solutions that actively engage the people in a meaningful way.

Who participated?

They came from universities across Hong Kong, and were winners of the HK Tertiary Schools COP21 Challenge (Stage 1) where each team submitted a video to propose how Hong Kong can be a leader on climate change issues. The winners then formed mixed teams for this weekend workshop. You can find their winning videos for stage 1 here.

Who organized this?

It was organized by the Hong Kong Sustainable Campus Consortium and the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau , and designed and ran by The Pocket Parks Collective, a creative group.

Who Won?

First Prize:


With the tagline “Discover the world within Hong Kong”, v’ is an Airbnb-style platform that encourages local travel, by allowing individuals and groups to list local tours they could offer, with various incentives to attract customers to spend their money and holidays locally.

Slides presentation

Team members:

Chung Sum Yue, Natalie (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Yeung Siu Chun, Johnny (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Yeung Tsz Chun, Arthur (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Second Prize:

Rebranding Vegetarianism

An open kitchen on university campus that rebrands vegetarianism, runs vegetarian cooking competition and encourages people to try vegetarian dishes, with a small market next to it selling locally-grown fresh produce.

Slides presentation

Team members:

LI Veronica Qin Ting (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Su Suki (The University of Hong Kong)

Tong Cheuk Fung Benjamin (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

WONG Tsz Long, Sunny (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Third Prize:

Tackling Hong Kong’s Meat Addiction

Smart information panels installed at university canteens, coupled with an app, to display food nutrients and carbon footprint information to demystify vegetarian dishes and encourage non-meat choices in canteens.

Slides presentation

Team members:

CHAN Long Fung (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

POON Ka Ho, Joe (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Temily Tianmay (The University of Hong Kong)

TONG Wing Yan (City University of Hong Kong)

What about the other projects?

Smart Fountains

Water fountains reimagined to interact and inform the users, in a fun way, to encourage reusable water bottle usage and reduce bottled water purchase.

Slides presentation

Team members:

CHIANG, I Hui, Erica (City University of Hong Kong)

HERNÁNDEZ Andrea (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

LAM Pui Yiu Cristal (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Lee Wan Chi Iris (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Tumbler Borrowing Scheme

To address wastage of coffee paper cups, this group proposes to set up a tumbler borrowing scheme on campus to leverage existing discounts coffee shops are offering to tumbler users.

Slides presentation

Team members:

BHARWANEY Avinash Vinod (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

LEUNG King Wai, Falcon (City University of Hong Kong)

MAU Yuen Ching, Nicola (City University of Hong Kong)

NASTA Ansh Naresh (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Who were the judges?

Mr. Kam-sing WONG, JP, Secretary for the Environment, HKSAR

Mr. Eric BERTI, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau

Dr. Steven CANNON, Executive Vice President (Administration and Finance), The University of Hong Kong

Prof. Linda Chelan LI, Convener, Hong Kong Sustainable Campus Consortium

Why is this great?

We left with lots of new ideas, friendship and partnerships. Some groups are now working to put the idea into reality. This is one of the biggest joint-university events organized by the Hong Kong Sustainable Campus Consortium and partnering with the French Consulate Hong Kong and Macau.

We hope that Mr. Wong, the Secretary for the Environment will also be bringing some of the innovative ideas with him to share with world leaders at the COP21 in Paris starting late November.

A snapshot of the workshop was included in the Climate Change Report 2015, by the Environment Bureau under the Hong Kong SAR Government.