DESN9002 Sustainable Leadership Course (2020-2021)

DESN9002 Sustainable Leadership Course (2020-2021)

Projects & Teams


"Leadership" often conjures up images of hierarchy, the top down power that creates unnecessary tension between the haves and the have nots. Such leadership can exacerbate social inequalities, alienation and environmental destruction. In a society that is increasingly connected, and evolving ever rapidly, this form of centralised concentrated leadership cannot answer to change fast enough.

So, what kind of leadership do we need to guarantee humans are best able to care for and support each other and the environment? What are the other models of leadership we need? Where will this change come from? How will we adapt and evolve the current conception of leadership towards a more sustainable world? What is the difference between "leadership", "Thought Leadership" and "Sustainable Leadership"?

It is clear that our generation has the duty to reinvent leadership and implement it in society overall. The University of Hong Kong Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) are uniquely positioned to address such questions galvanising strong domain knowledge in science, technology, finance, design and social sciences.

Hong Kong and the world needs a new generation of leaders that understand empathy, interdependency, which is creative, resilient, visionary, and highly cooperative. Such qualities are better learned by experience than merely by theory. Not only is it about acquiring knowledge, but it is really about creating knowledge about the new form of leadership we need.


Projects 5 Minutes Presentations

Sustainable Leadership. Large Teams 5 Minutes Video Presentation

Course Objectives

Part 1: Learn

  1. Acquire the theoretical knowledge about the diversity of leadership.
  2. Acquire practical knowledge from various industry leaders.
  3. Increase Awareness about sustainability challenges on and off campus
  4. Learn to collaborate within a small team, with a small budget, on a tight budget and timeline.
  5. Build network within the BASc family.

Part 2: Prototype

  1. Apply theoretical and practical knowledge, informed by industry leaders experience, guided by BASc faculty
  2. Become an authentic interdisciplinary innovator using design thinking, inclusive practices
  3. Problem-solve, Build prototypes, experiments, reflect, analyze and document that iterative research process
  4. Learn to collaborate within a medium-size team, with a medium-size budget and timeline
  5. Grow one’s network within the BASc family.

Part 3: Feasibility Study/Proposal

  1. Become a thought-leader with an original proposal
  2. Improve team-work, management and project management skills, internal and external communication skills
  3. Based on the experiment, develop a proposal with specific deliverables, timeline, budget, team, sub-team and individual roles and dependencies
  4. Learn to collaborate within a large-size team, projected to work with a large budget, long budget and time.
  5. Strengthen one’s network within the BASc family.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Be knowledgeable about leadership and thought leadership diversity. Be an interdisciplinary and inclusive practitioner
  2. Be knowledgeable and active addressing sustainability challenges
  3. Understand essential concepts and jargon necessary to collaborate with other specialists (principles, terminology specific to Social Science, Design, AI, Fintech, Global Health & Development).
  4. Be effective in prototyping and setting experiments
  5. Be a productive collaborator in small, medium and large teams on different timescales, budgets and complexity
  6. Be an effective communicator internally and externally.
  7. Become excellent with reporting and producing documentation
  8. Develop a strong sense of ownership over one’s work and ability to affect positive change in society

Big Teams

Big Teams Essential Information

Team NameSDGLogoKey VisualShort Description (100 words max)
iToolbox Accessibility App
Our group wants to improve disability inclusion on campus by creating a toolbox app that aims at helping people with disabilities in HKU. From community building features to actual personalized tools based on their specific difficulties that can help make their lives easier, we hope that our app can allow them to feel more included on campus and have their opinions be heard.
Blue Plate
Resilience, Food
Blue Plate intends to help youngsters in Hong Kong, to eat healthier with a limited budget. Our solution is to build social media platforms to share meal plans, together with the nutritional value of each meal, to allow them to cook food with the same ingredients throughout the week. So far we’ve had social media platforms on Instagram and weibo, with 21 posts and more than 200 followers. We are delighted that we have received some encouraging feedback from our users. In the future, we hope to boost our collaboration with market vendors to provide users with more convenience in purchasing the ingredients.
Linkin' Bio
The problem now is general public are bored with traditional education media, governments lack mathematical tool to evaluate the impacts of ecology policies and scientist need models to help research. Linkin' Bio is devoted to creating an educational city building game to spread the concept "balance between biodiversity and economic development" among general public while serve as a simulator for government and researchers to collect data.
Physical Heath
HKU students do not have the habit to exercise regularly. The reasons behind are difficult to organize team sports, afraid of being judged, and lack of motivation. To tackle these reasons and motivate students to exercise more, we introduce an exercise app, call Fitner. In the app, there is a platform for users to find companions, as well as finding someone who has similar levels to play with. ‘Gamifying’ experience is also provided to motivate users to exercise more.
Mental Nutshell
Mental Health
The Mental Nutshell program will be available for all students online for the reason being that many people are not aware of how common mental health problems are leading them to neglect their mental health conditions. The course will teach students about mental health in detail with short quizzes about the lecture to make sure that there are no misunderstandings or misinterpretations. In the end, students will be asked to take a test to earn credits for this course. Students are allowed to complete this course at any time.
Our group is working on the sun-tracking solar panel that allows energy from the sun to be used within the buildings of HKU. The installation of the sun-tracking solar panels enables HKU patrons to be more aware of the awareness and damages that fossil fuel burns will increase greenhouse gases. Hence, we decide and propose to make and install sun-tracking solar panels within the campus, and on top of multiple buildings, where grass is planted, achieving Carbon neutrality energy usage. Batteries are also used to power up, as a "backup source" at night-time and inadequate sunlight, maintaining power stability.
Eataway Box
Through conducting surveys and interviews, we found that a lot of plastic waste has been attributed to the food delivery industry. In particular, the pandemic has intensified the problem due to social distancing restrictions. Therefore, we intended to design an edible takeaway box that could potentially reduce tens of millions of disposable plastic per week, but at the same time retain the food experience. We decided to name this project "Eataway Box". The aim of the project is to potentially reduce plastic waste in Hong Kong.




BASc Leaders


Teachers and Teaching Assistants



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Course Description

Sustainable Leadership Syllabus DESN9002 2021.pdf405.8KB