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Enabling Community coLAB was a 2 day social innovation hackathon organised by the Ministry of Social and Family Development(MSF) and SG Enable, with UP Singapore serving as the Social Innovation partner. More than 100 participants came together over the weekend of 5-6 April 2014 to create solutions to empower persons with disabilities as consumers, employees and entrepreneurs. The 10 finalists who were shortlisted on Sunday, 6 April went on to compete in the finals of the coLAB on 6 May, where 5 teams wom Jumpstart Grants of S$20,000 each from MSF.

Watch the highlights of the coLAB below!

Click here to see the winning ideas!

Approximately 3% of Singaporeans are living with a disability. This means many families have a brother or sister, son or daughter, mother or father, who is a person with disability.

Yet, the world of disability is often invisible to most of us. Persons with disabilities are sometimes shielded, because of their impairment, but the lack of understanding and engagement from the wider community act as a barrier. Simply put, society cannot see past their impairments. Also, the needs for their families and carers are often not discussed.

Inspiringly, there are many persons with disabilities, who refuse to allow themselves to be defined by their impairment. They want to work, play, shop, and to be part of the community, making a contribution to their families and the society.

Enabling Community CoLab 2014 is a coLAB social innovation project to encourage collaboration between persons with disabilities, social entrepreneurs, researchers, students, developers, designers and other professionals to design and prototype solutions. We aim to:

Crowd-source social innovation that can empower persons with disabilities to fulfill aspirations in their roles as valued consumers, employees and entrepreneurs.

Cultivate innovative ideas with good potential as business models to further develop as social enterprises for sustained impact.

Empower the wider community to engage persons with disabilities as "person-first" and to see abilities rather than deficits or limitations.

Create awareness and educate the wider community using a strengths-based approach for the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

* Notes: Estimated disability prevalence rate is according to Enabling Masterplan 2012-2016. For full report refer to:  

how you can help
Our goal is to lower self-imposed and societal barriers for persons with disabilities to gain self-reliance through work and thrive in the community. To do that, we invite the participation of both persons with disabilities as well as the wider Singapore community to come together.

Enabling Community coLAB 2014

Dates: Saturday, 5 April to Sunday, 6 April

Venue: *SCAPE, The TreeTop, level 5

The coLAB is free.

So come join us at the coLAB over the 5-6 April weekend and collaborate with each other on innovative, impactful ideas. Also hear from relevant experts and inspiring individuals, and learn from technology specialists to better equip ourselves to take on this challenge.

Learn more about the themes for this coLAB social innovation project here.

Pre-coLAB Workshop

Dates: Tuesday, 1 April

Venue: *SCAPE, The TreeTop, level 5

The pre-coLAB workshop will give participants an overview on the background to the hackathon themes and the data and technology that will be on offer during the hackathon.

why you should join us
Open to all – from social entrepreneurs, developers, designers, industry experts, researchers to students – you are invited to learn, play, collaborate and network, be empowered and empower others through your participation and ideas!


The workshops, featuring industry and technology experts, will provide a backdrop to the coLAB. It will dive into the issues surrounding the themes and the technologies available to help persons with disabilities.


Meet passionate people working in the disability sector. Also connect with technology gurus and expert developers. Share your expertise with others. Form new connections with like-minded innovators.


Find partners, swap ideas, and discover opportunities. You may just end up starting your own social enterprise after this coLAB social innovation project.

Get rewarded

We have some great rewards coming your way. Watch this space for updates!





Have a great idea? Tell us!

We are hosting coLAB online, a platform for you to share your ideas on how we can tackle the coLAB challenges - vote for your favourite ideas, discuss your idea with fellow participants and make it even better!

The three challenges of the Enabling Community coLAB 2014 are:

1. Empowering people with disabilities as consumers

Design Challenges:

• How do we enable more accessible shopping and recreation experiences and make them more spontaneous?

• How might online or mobile shopping replicate the social experience of going shopping with friends and family?

• How can technology enable persons with disabilities to travel independently to their desired destinations? How can retail stock management systems be enhanced to provide shoppers with reading or visual challenges with more information on options and pricing?

• How can technology assist to make ordering and consuming food and beverage an easier exercise?

• How can we help caregivers stay connected and updated to have a peace of mind when their loved one with disability is out and about?

• What can we use technology to facilitate more independent decision-making?

• How can we make it easier for people to better understand and interact with persons who have difficulties expressing themselves?

2. Empowering people with disabilities as employees

Design Challenges:

• How might we use technology and data in monitoring well-being and work productivity at the workplace including remote supervision?

• How might we provide solutions to help caregivers prepare persons with disabilities for work and stay connected without being intrusive?

• How might we bring together persons with disabilities, co-workers, families and customers as circles of natural support for working persons with disabilities?

• How could technology platforms help employer groups to better manage interviews and assessment of job seekers with disabilities and help them settle in?

• How can we rethink and enhance information accessibility, communication and collaboration for employees with disabilities and their colleagues?

• How might we help employers see the benefits of employing persons with disabilities and create a more inclusive workplace?

3. Empowering people with disabilities as entrepreneurs

Design Challenges:

• In what way can we promote the growth of businesses started by entrepreneurs with disabilities and help them attract potential employees?

• How can technology facilitate low-cost businesses and start-ups to support self-employment or entrepreneurship as an option for persons with disabilities?

• How can we improve perception of and communication with customers and business clients for entrepreneurs with disabilities?

• How can we facilitate a marketplace for people with disabilities to match their abilities with suitable home-based businesses?

• How can we develop and implement training programmes for entrepreneurs with disabilities?

• Accessing finance for a small business is a challenge for all and even more so for persons with disabilities. How can crowdfunding or other innovations be utilised? How do we encourage and help aspiring entrepreneurs or self-employed individuals become sustainable?

Online Resources


Ministry of Social and Family Development

SG Enable

Community - Singapore

Help for People with Disability

Sharing the Lion City

Pledge Your Action

Community - Worldwide

Disability Social Network - A place for individuals with disabilities to meet and network to share day to day hardships and triumphs.

The Braille Alphabet and Numbers

Disability Voices - Oral history interviews that chart the experiences of disabled people.

Disability Now - Disability Now is the UK's leading website for, about and by disabled people.

Disability and Representation - Changing the Cultural Conversation

Welfare Society Territory - an online newspaper aimed at providing the latest breaking news on welfare policies.

Disability Advocacy through Media Training Course - Deafness

The Guardian - Disability

Work in a Hearing World - Blogpost

Insights Brief

Download the Insights Brief we have created for the coLAB to help you understand the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Singapore and to provide context and insights into the issues around the three themes so you can think of solutions that are relevant and implementable.


Lily Goh, ExtraOrdinary Horizon

Lily is Deaf. She is the co-founder and director of ExtraOrdinary Horizons - a social enterprise with a vision of creating an inclusive society where the disadvantaged have confidence in their own abilities, run by Deaf. She contributed towards the development of a beginners’ course curriculum in Signing Exact English (SEE2) during her time with the Singapore Association for the Deaf. She obtained her certificate of participation in Basic Linguistics in Sign Language in 2007. She was a participant in the first season of Singapore Idol in 2004 and she won much admiration from the public. She is a seasoned performing artiste and she inspires many people through music and sign language. Most recently, Lily was named the 2014 winner of the Singapore Woman Award.


Daniel Ong, Head, School of Technology & E-Learning, MDIS

Mr Ong has been with involved in education for more than 30 years and is passionate on the use technologies for teaching and learning. He started as a lecturer in Singapore Polytechnic with research interests in smart technologies and engineering innovations. He was responsible for the set up of eLearning@SP infrastructure that had supported students and adult learners in online learning since 2000 and had been actively involved in new learning innovations and technologies. Subsequently, he joined NTU to further promote active learning strategies amongst the faculty in technology enabled classrooms and online environments. He had also provided international consultancies and trainings to participants from countries such as Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Alfie Othman

Alfie Othman has had a successful banking career of over twelve years. Alongside his private sector work, Alfie has devoted significant time to the public sector and civil society. Alfie is also recognised as a Social Enterprise practitioner within Singapore. Alfie’s involvement in the social enterprise community in Singapore also includes work with a number of government ministries. He has been appointed to the national Social Enterprise Steering Committee chaired by Phillip Yeo and assigned to the Strategic Planning and Finance Sub-Committees. The Steering Committee is tasked with developing and presenting recommendations to the government on methods of promoting social economy and social entrepreneurship in Singapore. In the finance committee, he is a part of the evaluation team that provide start-up grant up to SGD 300,000 per applicant for budding Social Entrepreneurs. At present Alfie is the ED of the Social Enterprise Association with a membership base of close to 400 members. The Social Enterprise Association represents one of the important intermediaries in the local Social Enterprise sector. Alfie also initiated the formation of the first urban microcredit scheme in Singapore. The Micro Credit Business Scheme was launched in November 2011.


Tan Tsu Soo and Zin Ko Ko Min, Wheeling Freely

Mr Tsu Soo Tan is an Assistant Manager at Biomedical Engineering & Materials Group, School of Engineering, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore. He holds a Diplôme d’Ingénieur en Electronique et Electotechnique, Ecole Supérieure d’Ingénieur en Electronique et Electrotechnique (ESIEE), France. His expertise includes Embedded Systems Design & Programming, Digital Signal Processing, Biomedical Image Analysis/Processing, Computational Biology, Molecular Modeling, and Virtual Screening. His spare time is given to scuba diving instruction.

Wheeling Freely is a proof-of-concept (POC) project to provide a street directory for wheelchair users. Singapore professes to be a barrier-free country, with all housing estates declared as barrier free; however, most wheelchair users are not familiar with such facility beyond their immediate neighbourhood. This application will boost the confidence of wheelchair users to travel beyond their immediate neighbourhood.


Sardjono Insani, Senior Manager for Operations at Mediacorp

Sardjono is a senior manager at Mediacorp with more than 20 years of experience in the Telecommunication, Finance and Government sectors. He enjoys "solving" complex business issues through innovative usage of ICT. Besides his passion of technology, he is a strong believer in "win-win" approach when dealing with co-workers, customers and business partners. Sardjono was part of a winning team at StarHub’s ‘Enterprise Communications Made Easy’ Hackathon held in November, 2013.


James Teh, Founder & CEO of T.Ware

James Teh is the Founder & CEO of T.Ware, a company that develops wearable touch applications to benefit communities. T.Ware's vision is 'Bringing Touch To Life'. Its first product, the T.Jacket is an app controlled smart jacket that delivers deep pressure hugs to the wearer and targeted at people with sensory needs. Before founding T.Ware, James was a Research Fellow at the Interactive Digital Media Institute at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

James has a Ph.D in Electrical & Computer Engineering from NUS. He has led and delivered several important research projects, with some of his works showcased on National Geographic, Discovery Channel, WiredNews and CNN. James has co-authored over 40 international academic papers and has spoken at a number of venues including CeBIT, Pixar, Google, NEC and Young Investigator's Forum on Culture Technology in Korea.


Michael Quek, Executive, Adrenalin Studios

Michael joins Adrenalin in 2009 as a graphic designer from SPD after recovering from a stroke. Since then, Michael has been one of our role models in proving to the rest that people with disabilities can achieve much more. He has since helped the company work on numerous important shows, creating beautiful designs for the event collaterals. He has now moved over to Adrenalin Studios, our photography and videography arm, to work on image and photo editing.


Shirley Wee, Head of MICE Team, Adrenalin Events

Shirley joined Adrenalin as an intern from SMU at the early stage of Adrenalin's growth, where there were only 3 of them, Shirley and the two founders. Having been with Adrenalin for 4 years, with more than 100 events under her belt, Shirley is now leading one of the 2 teams - MICE Team, specialising in events such as conferences, exhibitions and meetings.


Enabling Community  coLAB
Date : April 5-6
Time : Kick off at 8.30 am on Saturday, 5th April to Closing at 6.00pm on Sunday, 5th April
Venue : The Treetop, Level 5, *SCAPE, 2 Orchard Link

Day 1 - Saturday, 5 April

Time Activity Speaker Organisation
8:30 AM Breakfast & Registration  N.A
9:15 AM Welcome address  UP Singapore team
9:20 AM Opening Remarks Ng Herk Low SG Enable
9:30 AM Showcase of Interviews
9:35 AM Sustainable Social Enterprises for Social Innovations
  • • Alfie Othman from Social Enterprise Association
  • • James from T.ware
  • • Ricardo from Adrenaline
Extraordinary Horizon
9:50 AM Conversations with persons with disabilities • Siew Ling, SG Enable• Sim Kah Yong

• Fiona Tan

10:05 AM Introduction to data, tech and resources Ciaran Lyons Newton Circus
10:15 AM Team pitching
10:50 AM Team formation
12:30 PM Lunch
 1: 30 PM Worktime commences
 3: 00 PM Tea
 3 -5:00 PM Mentor Consultations
 6: 30 PM Dinner
 7:00 PM End

Day 2 - Sunday, 6 April

Time Activity
8:30 AM Breakfast
10:30 AM Tea
12:00 - 3:00 PM Lunch
3:30 PM Presentation Practice Clinics
4:00 PM Tea
4:05 PM Welcome back
5:15 PM Team presentations
Judges' deliberations
5:45 PM Prize presentation
6:00 PM End


Enabling Community pre-coLAB workshop

We had a great start to Enabling Community coLAB 2014, kicking off with the pre-coLAB workshop. Over 100 participants, including persons with disabilities, social entrepreneurs, researchers, students, developers, designers and other professionals participated in this primer to the hackathon that is happening this weekend.

If you missed the workshop, check out all the speaker presentations here

Date : April 1
Time : 6.30pm to 9pm
Venue : The Treetop, Level 5, *SCAPE, 2 Orchard Link

Event Programme :

Time Activity Speaker Organisation
6:30 PM Registration & Dinner
7:00 PM Welcome address
7:05 PM Opening Remarks Ng Herk Low SG Enable
7:10 PM Introduction to themes, insights brief and coLAB process Seow Hui Hong SG Enable
7:20 PM My journey as an entrepreneur Lily Goh Extraordinary Horizon
7:35 PM Assistive technologies: empowering and engaging learners with special needs Daniel Ong School of Technology & E-Learning, MDIS
7:45 PM  A very spatial presentation: GIST Brian Liu SLA/OneMap
7:55 PM Technology Showcase Tan Tsu Soo and Zin Ko Ko MinSardjono Insani Wheeling FreelyVoice Portal for Visually impaired
8:10 PM Q&A
8:25 PM The hackathon experience Ciaran Lyons UP Singapore


Enabling Community coLAB 2014 has three phases:

coLAB Online: If you have any ideas around the themes or inspirations to share, you can do so on this microsite. To be launched on Friday, 21 March.

“Enabling Community” Exhibition, from Friday, 28 March: We are also launching a public exhibition at *SCAPE.


coLAB Online, from Friday, 21 Mar.

Pre-coLAB Workshop, Tuesday, 1 April.

coLAB, Saturday-Sunday, 5-6 April.


Prototype LAB: Winning teams from the coLAB further develop their ideas through a series of workshops.

Finals and Jumpstart Grant Awards, Monday, 5 May. Details coming soon.

Insights Brief: We will be sharing information and insights via this microsite (see the “THEMES” page) and an “Insights Brief” to help you better understand the issues around the themes.


We are professionals with passion for people. The Ministry of Social and Family Development develops the “heartware” for Singapore through our policies, community infrastructure, programmes and services. Our mission is to nurture a resilient and caring society that can overcome challenges together.

The Minister for MSF, Mr Chan Chun Sing, will be hosting lunch at the coLAB on Saturday, 5 April.

SG Enable is an agency dedicated to enabling persons with disabilities set up by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). Adopting a person-centric approach through a life-course perspective, we want to equip persons with disabilities with essential resources at different life stages to ensure that they are supported andn enabled to live their lives fully. A key priority is to enhance employability and employment of persons with disabilities.

To support efforts in providing a bigger push for disability employment and to encourage innovation in the disability sector, SG Enable – supported by MSF and DBS – is embarking on a social innovation project. A series of events will be held between March and June 2014. Learn more about SG Enable and its work:



DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia, with over 250 branches across 17 markets. The bank's capital position, as well as "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings, is among the highest in Asia-Pacific. The bank has also been named “Safest Bank in Asia” by Global Finance for five consecutive years from 2009 to 2013. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banks the Asian way.




Winning Ideas from the coLAB

Team D-Stress

The app assists persons with autism and intellectual disability to be independent and provides caregivers with peace of mind when persons with disabilities are out and about. Caregivers can stay connected to know the person's whereabouts (via a map function) and whether he/she is on schedule without being intrusive. The user can push buttons "I am ok!" or "Call for help" with ease to send caregivers quick notifications. There is also a money function which helps person with disability determine how much cash they need to pay for an item and how much change they need to collect or whether the change is correct. Caregiver can monitor cash status and purchases. This potentially can also be used for parents of young children for independence training.

Team Go Easy

The solution is an app like Hungrygowhere or Yelp that crowdsources feedback and rates places based on accessibility. This provides persons with physical disabilities with rich data and information on accessibility for places, so they can venture beyond their routine destinations to enjoy more access to and greater inclusion within the community in social and recreational activities. The app shows ratings of buildings, activity spaces and specific businesses or facilities, such as restaurants, movie theatres, etc. Check out their presentation here!

Team HeartWare

Heartware helps persons with autism and their caregivers better monitor and manage behavioural challenges through a tracker, which is an integration of an app and wearable. The tracker monitors heart rate, and allows for "lifelogging" through photos. Caregivers can get an overview of user's psychological triggers throughout the day. Tagging of emotional intensity and identifying trigger points before it happens can potentially help families, friends, work supervisors and co-workers understand and work with persons with autism. One other possiblity is use by job coaches to provide more efficient job support and intervention. Check out their presentation here!

Team Platform Enable

Platform Enable is a marketing and ticketing web platform to showcase talented performing artists with disabilities. It has features for video showcase, portfolio hightlights of each artist, events for individuals to buy tickets and corporate booking for these artists to perform at events. This has potential to encourage awareness for quality performance arts by persons with disabilities and facilitate these performers to earn better income.

Team Sonic Gaze

This is an app for touchscreen devices that can help the visually impaired interpret diagrams, charts and experience or understand images through sounds. Sonic Gaze uses technology with algorithm to transform shapes, lines and pictures into sounds. Potential uses are: in education, in place or complementing tactile diagrams as the latter tends to take very long to create; work productivity in understanding diagrams; and also in navigation, using sound to guide the path the visually-impaired person takes. Another potential is exploring face recognisation conversion into verbal (audio) cues. Check out their presentation here!

Other Finalist Teams of the coLAB


The app targets those have acquired disability from stroke and brain injury, who have difficulties with communication and typing. This is also applicable to other persons with fine motor skills difficulties, such as those with cerebral palsy. The app makes text communication easy using minimal movement on regular touchscreen devices (with light swipes on screen in left, right, up or down directions) to spell words and some assistance through predictive text. This solution could address social communication and work productivity needs. Check out their presentation here!

Team ExtraOrdinary Horizon

This aims to help promote awareness in communicating with the deaf in the workplace, including tips, video demonstrations on how interviews, for example, can be conducted, etc. There is a mobile app, which can translate text into sign language (video) that people can use to communicate with the deaf co-workers who may be more proficient in sign language than text.

Team Kampong U

This is a web platform to crowdsource challenges for persons with disabilities and facilitate members of the wider community to come together to contribute ideas, collaborate, co-create and co-develop the solutions. This can potentially be the extension of anchor events, such as the Enabling Community coLAB, as a permanent platform. It also has potential to facilitate technology sharing and tips for adaptive use in enabling persons with disabilities. Check out their presentation here!

Team Skylark

This solution is assistive technology to help visually impaired navigate independently. The idea is a pair of Google Glass, coupled with wearable ultrasonic sensor. Using the Google Glass to process data on routes and locations can give verbal directions to person with visual impairment for navigation; and using the ultrasonic sensor worn on the head can sense environmental obstacles, such as branches, low ceilings and shelving, etc. that cannot be sensed using the cane.

Team Soul Inc

This is about empowering persons with disabilities and connecting the community through music.  Music technology can enable persons with disabilities to perform for income, recreation and confidence. Music sensor technology can be easily used on touchscreen devices and allows persons with disabilities to emulate natural instrumental sounds from limited movements. Soul Inc aims to organise events to bring people together and concerts for greater awareness, and tie up with corporates to provide volunteers as part of their CSR programmes. Check out their presentation here!

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