Small-Group Template

Welcome to your small-group page!

To make it easier for your team, we've created this timeline with milestones, deliverables and deadlines to give you better visibility of what the course expects from you this semester.

To read the full brief for this course, you can read the front page or read the updated syllabus:

20200920 DESN9002 Sustainable Leadership Syllabus.pdf950.4KB

We're using colours to differentiate what's graded and what's not.

Yellow: Required submission that's not graded. But these instructions will help you and your group to produce the work 😇

Red: Mandatory documents to submit, graded by Teachers 🤓

For deliverables 2-5, please fill out the fields as stated within each topic below. Once all are filled, export one PDF file and submit to Moodle by 27th September 23:59. For details on how to submit, see this page in the Q&A
1. Research & Literature Review [Individual]

You have done this work already, individually and submitted it to Moodle. Well done.

2. Empathy - Sep 23 -27 [Group work, 20 minutes]

After doing the research, talk with your group and agree on a broader issue you want to tackle. Try to get first-hand experience with the problem - talk to people, visit the place where the issue is, study affected organisms.

Explain to them

  1. who you are
  2. how the information you collect from them will be used - and you will protect their privacy
  1. what you are doing and why

Who are contributing to and affected by the issue? Often there are many stakeholders, and their roles can be interrelated.

Can you put yourself in their shoes?

What did you learn through first-hand experience and reflection that you didn't learn from your research?

There is much more than what people say. This diagram is helpful to gather information wen you run your interviews.


Deliverables: TESTING

Choose 3-6 diverse stakeholders related to your issue and actively investigate from their point of view. Then fill out these toggles:

Empathise with stakeholders (photos, videos, interview)

Students in the University of Hong Kong

A conversation with different backgrounds of students from HKU from different faculties.

Kelvin is a Global Health and Development student locally. During his secondary school life and university time, he found that his diet is very focused on the different fast foods, and not caring about his own health. It is also evident that many university students don't have enough time and room to make sure that they can cook, where this app can help them, from the nutritionist's side, teaching them how to cook, benefiting them. From him, having time to cook a healthy meal, with vegetable and fruit-based diets, can significantly change his diet plan.

In addition, both Justin and Jessica don't cook much at home, instead they rely on fast foods and takeaways quite often. During their interview on the different aspects of cooking and healthy lifestyle, both were very content on the idea of having an app, which takes into the nutritionist’s point of view of cooking, which fosters healthy eating. It was also noted that many restaurants provided in the HKU campus use a lot of unsustainable foods, such as pork, and chicken, and heavy portions of meat. They think that using this method is very unsustainable to the environment, causing more harm than good. Through the questionnaire on the apps, they found that it's better to cook on their own, with sustainable and healthy ingredients, that potentially builds a healthier body and greater immune system.

To understand the stakeholder’s perception, although healthy eating is very important, a multitude of recipes are needed to give the viewer’s perceptions of different flavours, maintaining the taste, which in turn, leads to an advocacy and behavioural change to cooking for yourself, suppressing risks, such as CVD. This demonstrates an increased awareness of healthy diet.

2. Diabetics Patients, and overweight

[Photos, videos]

Rob is an obese patient, who has suffered from multiple strokes during his teenage years. We are targeting people like Rob, who suffer from type 2 diabetes, as they will develop different types of health complications, such as sleep apnea and hypertension. It is also told that overweight, obese diet has a lot of simple carbohydrates such as sugar and fats, together with outrageous portions of food like doughnuts, that affects Rob's health. Having a diet plan, and recipes, based on vegetables and fruits are targeted for this type of patient, which is the aim of the app, rather than sticking to takeaways, which are unhealthy, contributing to the fat and obesity of the society.

3. Understanding non-communicable diseases, Dr. Romo/Dr. NS Wong (Health professors, HKU)

There is an increased significance on the importance of Non-communicable diseases, such as chronic diseases, such as Angina pectoris, where fatty acid deposits are converted from sugars, and adipocytes, which contribute to the massive fat deposits in the body. From both Dr. Romo and Dr. Wong's lectures, epinephrine and nitroglycerin can relieve the health effects, such as vasodilation, but with side effects. Therefore, it is critical to have healthy eating habits, sustainable foods. These fatty acids, triglycerides have prolonged effects in the body, that cause different problems, such as atherosclerosis, and stigmas such as mental health issues.

4. Understanding the causes of non-communicable diseases, providing dietary suggestions. Dr. Christian Jessen

Being the doctor mentor for Rob, it was found out that through his suggestions, having a temporary bulge in the brain is a key signal of having dangers in the diet. For example, this reduces blood flow of the brain. Having this key effect, dietary plans are given out to Rob, giving him suggestions on how to control his diet, throughout his explanations of their consumed food, such as all the sugar content, as well as which types of foods should be used, such as whole grain bread, brown rice, legumes, vegetables and fruits and avoiding heavy cream and sugar content.

Summary of investigation

What did you learn from your investigation, that you didn't learn from the research? Do the stakeholders experience the same pain points? If you have data about the situation, is the current perception reflecting the data, or is there a discrepancy between the challenges and the perceived challenge? Is there an elephant in the room? What the forbidden topics and taboos? Who has the power, and who does not? Are the stakeholders making suggestions and demands? Don't rush to conclusions and do not make suggestions and propose ideas at this stage yet. Listen, try to put yourself in their shoes, feel what they feel, without judgment and bias.

[Text] Mini essay. Should between 250 and 1000 words. Notion can work like Google docs - you can all write at the same time on the same online document, here 😉

Findings from student questionnaires and interviews
  • The quality of foods in HKU are subpar, mostly unhealthy, whilst too expensive.
  • Many wanted to have a more diverse food style, and sustainable ingredients, such as more vegetables and fruits
  • Many students have a very busy schedule, and would choose not to eat, rather than speedy lunch.
  • Insufficient promotion of a healthy lifestyle, with non-communicable diseases growing as an increasing trend in Hong Kong.
  • Students want to have an increasing number of healthy, and yet convenient, and affordable food.

P4 group essay

To obtain the first-hand data for students’ vegetable and organic food consumption habits, we conducted a survey via an online questionnaire.

After conducting the investigations and research on the importance of obesity, I was shocked and felt a sign of empathy for Rob in the research project. For example, from his dietary plans prior to going to the dietary clinic, it was found that he consumed a lot of different fast foods, such as sugar content, as well as meat, that contained a lot of fat, cholesterol and triglycerides. From his story, this linked to the importance of how the growing risk factor and the leading cause of death is ischemic heart disease, which led to our investigation of making the app of the recipes and information of the disease. In the investigation, I have also found out that through Rob and Donna’s diet, it also contains a lot of fast comfort food, which contains high cholesterol and sugar content.

Relating this back to Hong Kong, Ischemic heart diseases, Coronary Artery diseases, and Cardiovascular diseases are 3 of the main dietary related non-communicable diseases that could’ve been prevented. For example, Coronary Artery disease is caused by different fat content, transferred from sugar to fats through adipocytes, that causes blockage in the coronary arteries, shown by Dr. Jessen through the photo of the brain, as well as the content that was taught. This is where fats, cholesterol and triglycerides combine together, and block the artery, with phages along the way, as well as low-density lipoproteins, causing myogenic tissue deaths. This has side effects, such as sleep apnea, retinopathy, neuropathy and stroke. Having understood the phenomena of Ischemic Heart disease, as well as Angina Pectoris, it raises our group’s awareness on improving the different types of diet that we should consume, as well as paying attention to the diets that we have everyday. Throughout the investigation of different effects of CVDs, and NCDs, it reinforces the importance of our case of physical health. For example, providing a target audience on sustainable foods that can have a long-lasting effect on our body, such as having greater vegetable intake, which helps them excrete better, as well as better metabolic effects.

In addition, having a nutritionist’s side can propagate the effect of healthy diets and eating throughout the society. From the investigation, it was seen that Dr. Jessen passed on the dietary requirements for Rob, which has prolonging positive effects for him, as a result of following the dietary plans, which can be easily executed by preventing him from eating fast foods and cooking it on your own. Understanding this, I slowly realized the effects and the importance of how to promote physical activity and maintaining a balanced diet is key to greatly improve and suppress the different risk factors that are associated with diabetes and obesity, such as stroke, hypertension and failure to have blood clot, causing bacterial infection.

An interview with current students in the University of Hong Kong is also carried out, asking them about their feelings on diet, and willingness to cook for their own, following the app’s aim. It was also found that, as students of HKU, especially those at senior years, have difficulty maintaining their diet, due to their busy schedules, as well as frequent tutorials and lectures. From their queries and questionnaires on dietary plans, and healthy eating lifestyles, it was found out that many were willing to change their lifestyle, due to the tendency of having takeaways, as well as costing a big potion of their pocket money. The interviewees also stated that they would change their habit to cooking their own meals, whilst saving their pocket money, leading to win-win for their busy lifestyles, such as their academics and health. This can also be used in their future.

We strongly recommend that you meet on zoom to share together about your findings!

3. Define - Sep 23 -27 [Group, 30 minutes]

Now that you have collected first-hand information from the field (photos, videos) and talking to people who are affected by a set of issues (interviews), you want to distill this information and make sense of that complexity.

Individually share the challenges that came out from the interviews and your research and produce a word-cloud. Quietly sharing your personal thoughts will help surface the main issues. We recommend you use a free account with Mentimeter asking the question: "What are the challenges our people experiencing?"

Create a word-map with your team and screen-capture it.

Once you have collected the different challenges your users are experiencing, you want to organize this complex collective knowledge. What are the largest challenges? What are the smallest challenges? What are the symptoms and the root causes of these challenges? Are these challenges connected or isolated?

To rapidly make sense of the complexity on your word-cloud above, we recommend you to use a collaborative mind-mapping software. We found that Coggle is working really well for that purpose.

Create a mind-map with your team and screen-capture it.

Now you have Carefully laid out the problems, you have a much better understanding of the diversity of perspectives, the complexity of the challenge, the inputs and outputs, and you understand how different people feel.

The final task of this step is to make a problem statement. You might not be able to solve all the root causes and symptoms, so you will have to "choose your battle". A problem statement is a way to get your team to agree on f and specifically for whom.


It can be a little frustrating because you will have to choose. But creating context, purpose and direction, will help you greatly! Don't jump to solutions yet. Take the time to understand the challenges and define the problem. Trust the process!


Word-map [Mentimeter Screen Capture]

[image / Screenshot]

Mind-map [Coggle Screen Capture]

[image / Screenshot]

Problem statement in one sentence [Text]
[username] needs a way to [verb] because [surprising insight]
Submit at least 2 rejected problem statements [Text]
  1. Rejected problem statement 1
  2. [text]

  3. Rejected problem statement 2
  4. [text]

  5. Rejected problem statement 3
  6. [text]

4. Ideate - Sep 23-27 [Group, 30 minutes]

Use the design thinking process to come up with solutions to the problem statement you have defined above. ConceptBoard is great visually brainstorm ideas.

Draw as many ideas as possible. At least 4 ideas sketches per person. (3 minutes)

  1. Quantity will lead to quality: don't look for the single right answer. Produce as many ideas as possible.
  2. Have fun! suspend judgment! Be creative, be crazy, nothing is impossible! By allowing yourself to be creative, that's how you can get to think out-of-the-box.
  3. Be visual: Draw! Use as little text as possible. Our brains tend to understand simple drawings a lot faster than reading all text that looks similar. Everyone knows how to draw 😉 Stick/wo/men are beautiful!

Share your ideas (10 minutes)


Each person presents their sketches to their team, from the craziest idea, to the most boring (90 seconds per person sharing your sketches). Now you understand why you had to make sketches (and useless words).

Vote (3 minutes)


Choose the idea you feel most excited to test. Each person gets to pick their top 3 ideas. We would suggest that you may choose the idea that is the most

  • Innovative: You've never seen anything like that before!
  • Impactful: The concept is viable
  • Fun: Implementing this idea would be a ton of fun! If we love it, many others might too!
  • Weird & Surprising: Even if this idea might not be the most impactful, it will definitely make people raise eyebrows and think.
  • Desirable: Ha, that idea, we must do this! It makes so much sense! It's so much common sense, we must try this!
  • Feasible: Ok, all the other ideas are impossible to implement. This idea is simple, solid, maybe not even innovative at all, but hey, we're confident we can make this work and scale!
Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes - Napolean Hill


At least 4 ideas per person (for a 6 people's team, that's at least 24 ideas per team)

[Screen-capture of Conceptboard with 24+ sketches] OR [Sketches in the galery below, with each idea, a title]

Ideas Sketches

Idea explanationsFeasibilityViabilityDesirability
Idea #1
Idea #2
Idea #3
The 1 idea you voted for

[1 sketch]

[short text that explains your idea for your experimentation or prototype]

Which idea did you choose as a group? Why?

Our group chose the _________ idea because ___________.

5. Prototype - Sep 23-27 [Group]

Step 1: What is a rapid prototyping?

The point of a prototype is to quickly test the assumptions of your idea. For example, you may create the design for a new recycling/ compost bin because you have reason to believe that users do not compost because the design of existing ones is poor and attracts flies. Therefore, your prototype should test aspects that are vital to the success of your project. In this case of a compost bin, the prototype will be testing if the compost bin can be flies-free. A prototype should be something tangible which you can test on your target audience and receive feedback for.

Step 2: Design and make the prototype / experiment

Some sample ideas for a prototypes could include:

  • A design for a new recycling / compost bin
  • A mobile App for a mobile/ web application to save energy
  • A workshop for promoting discussions surrounding mental health
  • A playing card set to provoke conversations about inclusion
  • A new type of exercise people can do on the campus to improve physical health
  • a campaign to provoke behavioural change around
  • An exhibition to promote biodiversity and food production in the campus basements

Step 3: Come up with an evaluation framework

Come up with tangible ways of evaluating your prototype e.g. a list of questions that should refer back to the first question of "What is your prototype testing?". Besides asking for feedback, you may also wish to observe how the test user interacts with the prototype.

If what you are looking is a technical feedback, you can choose measurable metrics.

Step 4: Test and Receive Feedback

Documenting the prototyping process is just as if not more important than the prototype. Be conscious of what your prototype is testing, how you are testing it and the results. You may even derive new insights about the problem/ target users if your prototype 'fails'!

Deliverable: Document the prototyping process by filling in the table below:
  1. What the prototype is: a new compost bin (provide images of your prototype if it's a object, the prototype itself e.g. a link to the website/ screenshots)

Prototype + Feedback

1. What are you testing?

e.g. Whether students will be receptive to doing a work-out in Lung Fu Shan park

2. What are the assumptions?

e.g. A workout done in nature will increase its positive mental health effects

3. Evaluation Framework: What are the questions you need to answer to evaluate the efficacy of your prototype? Metrics?

e.g. Students finish the workout. e.g. Qns for Students: - Did you enjoy the workout? - What did you like about the workout?

4. Results of Prototyping: What went well? What were the "happy accidents"? What are the areas for improvement?

e.g. Weather can be an issue.

6. Dress Rehearsal- Oct 3 [Group]

Present your 2 minutes presentation to TAs and BASc teachers to get feedback. The presentation will be evaluated by the BASc teachers.

To make your life simpler, we've prepared a template for you. Of course, you can tell your story however you want to convince the experts that your idea is the most impactful, innovative, desirable, and feasible to implement!


Link to the presentation template:

The structure of the presentation we suggest is super simple

  1. The problem: ______________ [30 seconds]
  2. Our solution / experiment: _______________ [30 seconds]
  3. How our experiment went, the key learnings ________ [30 seconds]
  4. The potential of our experiment at a bigger scale: ______________ [30 seconds]

In 2 minutes you can tell a lot if you are well rehearsed!

You are not at that stage yet, but you might be interested to see AirBnB deck that helped them raise 500,000 USD in 2009, using that same logic:

Submission of video, 2 minute max per team

You will do a presentation of your project in a zoom meeting with only your team. After recording the video (i.e. on zoom cloud) and email the link to your respective TAs by October 3, 17:00.

You will receive feedback by October 5, 17:00. No late submissions will be reviewed 😬

Make sure that the final video is less than 2 minutes; start the meeting first, and when you are ready click the record button. Then stop recording when you are finished.

Upload your video to youtube as [UNLISTED] and share with your TA the link to the video.

7. Present: - Oct 10 [Group]

On October 10, all groups will present their idea in 2 minutes, and the experts will choose the best project from each theme (i.e. 7 projects in total). Once the winning teams are announced, they will present to the other students their planned workflow, and the students from other students will go through a "hiring process" to join the new big teams. More details coming :)



  • 2 minutes presentation of your idea live on Zoom
    1. Present your idea within 2 minutes tops. Experts will judge impact, innovation, feasibility, scalability, cost. Leadership will be evaluated within your teams, between students.
    2. Your presentation will be followed by 2 minutes of Q&A. You should prepare annex slides beyond your 5 slides where you can put your site photos, personas, data, market research, references, word-cloud, mind-map, technology background, team profile, budget, timeline if you have already started thinking about it. Basically, anticipate any question mentors may be asking you, and prepare visuals to support your answer and show that you have thought about issue you might encounter.
  • Scaling plan
    • When your team grows, what will you do with the extra human resources? How will you manage the group? If your team wins, you will have to present your plans to the whole class - so we recommend that you prepare some slides! - How will you scale your idea? - What sort of talent will you need? - How will you incorporate some elements of other teams? - How will you make decisions as a bigger team?
9. Budget – Oct 10 [Group]

Between now and Oct 10, each team is subsidized to a max of 1000 HKD. Between Oct 10 and Nov 14, the University has pledged over 100,000 HKD to test your ideas at a bigger scale. The exact amount per team will be announced soon.

In order to get reimbursed, you need to keep all original receipts. No hand-written receipt would be reimbursed! Make sure you are purchasing/ordering from a shop with a printed receipt. This information should be included in the receipt: Date, the amount in HKD, Shop name, Shop address, Invoice number (if available), and description of what the money was spent for, item by item.

The reimbursement form will be given out soon.


1. Research, References - Sep 19 [Individual]

Add 10 references in references

Step 1: edit your references in Notion here:


Step 2: Submit your references on Moodle:

8. Reflect : - Oct 11 [Individual]

Please follow this link and fill the form in Moodle -

@Marty Forth

1 - How do you think you did working with this group compared with groups you have worked with in the past?

2 - What was the greatest challenge you had as a group?

3 - On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), how well do you feel you demonstrated respect for the opinions of others in the group? Give one example to show the score you gave. Remember it's okay if is a mistake you made and something you learned from (be vulnerable)

4 - If you could pick one person in the group to whom to give a specific compliment about their work in the group, who would it be and what would you say?

5 - In what ways was the group more effective as compared to you as only an individual working alone would have been?