HK Public Jam 2018: Designing services for the future

When you gather the best of a city’s design community, expect a burst of creative energy that will propel the society towards a sustainable future.

Frank Chimero, the designer and author once said, “People ignore designs that ignore people”. At Public Jam, we had the opportunity to put this saying to the test with the best of Hong Kong’s design community.

Cogs Hong Kong supported their home city’s Public Jama 2-day design-led hackathon on November 30. This annual event sees the best of the design community coming together to create or better services for the future of the community.

The theme for this year was ‘Public Spaces’. The concept of space holds much significance in Hong Kong, a city that is often in the top ranks for being the most densely populated worldwide.

Our Cogs Consultants were on-site to experience and bask in the inspiring creative buzz that the participants radiate.

This year’s public jam saw participants from various industries from consultancies, finance, tech and hospitality, from companies of different shapes and sizes, start-ups to multinational corporations.

Going through the design process

Natalie Hallows, our Hong Kong Creative consultant was there on the opening night where the design process gets kicked off. That usually begins with research and defining the problem and where else to look no further than in the city’s dailies?

The designers were grouped into three teams and started pouring over the newspapers where they noticed recurring themes mentioned.

Eventually, the teams settled on working for the causes of poverty and housing, city cleanliness and financial literacy education for young adults. Natalie decided to contribute to the insight process on the topic of poverty and housing.

Having lived in Hong Kong for over two years, Natalie has spent time wandering in various parts of the city and interacting with locals in the process. She contributed her thoughts and observations to the team who was working on poverty and housing. Her idea involved a re-zoning of governmental land given to housing and a co-working type of living space that can be run by the government for social housing re-zoning of government land given to residential use.

Emerging creators of the future

Saturday was our Chinese Creative Consultant, Katrina Sun’s turn at the hackathon. She started the day early with the teams as they continued where they left off on Friday. It was a day of creativity phase, strategizing and ideating possible solutions and prototyping.

When the teams were completed, there was a pitch round that will conclude in a winning idea for this design-led hackathon.

The winning team worked on Which was a government website to make land-use data transparent (Nat’s brainchild!). The team was able to frame the problem of making information about land-use and zoning transparent so that citizens could actively engage in the civic discussion about how Hong Kong’s land should be used.

The website was planned to allow individual citizens to retrieve valuable information that can help them make smarter decisions around buying and renting properties. The site would also include a map of how land is zoned and displays future plans for the land. This way, individuals can propose suggestions on how a piece of land should be used in the future. #opendata!

The winning team was picked for its strong value proposition and a simple solution that is both useful and fun. Peer judging was held based on the criteria of desirable, viable and feasible the project was.

Spending 48 hours together communicating and collaborating resulted in new friendships made. With that, we conclude the last Hong Kong Public Jam for the year.

If you had missed this event and you are curious about keeping up to date with future Public Jams, follow the team on Facebook here.

To find out more about UX, design/creative talent or opportunities in Hong Kong, visit this page.

Don’t hesitate to connect with:

Emily at
Charlotte at


View photos from Public Jam below

Past Public Jams in Hong Kong


March Edition


February Edition 

July Edition


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