Jewel Tai, 2 November 2020

 COLA engages with this year’s Award winners to gain insight into what drives their passion towards structuring and executing outstanding projects, so that you can be empowered to build success for your own project!

 Here are some thoughts that Award winners have offered:-

 (Re)define purpose and success factors

The special element of COLA is its flexibility and openness to the diversity of projects that are not constricted to industrial technicalities. It welcomes projects from all sorts of backgrounds, skill levels and interdisciplinary features. Richard Wan, our Special Mention winner in the Awards’ Social category, strongly recommends any project starter to define their success factors. These are fundamental in project-planning to mark progress and build confidence toward success.

 A suggestion for a success factor could be the development depth of the project process, as opposed to the result itself. While the projects we hear about are usually those that produced the most positive results, there are countless other projects that have not been featured due to the lack of distinctive tangible success. Yet, it could also be the process of these isolated and hidden projects that are the most rewarding. Maybe you have not considered that prior to these featured projects, its team members may have faced so many other challenges in their past unfeatured projects!

 With COLA, be free to redefine (realistically) the success factors of your projects too. Whether it’s an individual passion project, or part of a corporate deal, COLA offers the freedom to frame a project’s success more independently.

 Don’t let fear be a setback

Award winners like the Wheel-U project team encourage potential applicants to persevere in their attempts and not to be afraid to make mistakes as they refine their projects. Especially in a project like theirs that involves prototype-building for wheelchair assistive devices, this approach will involve testing. Here, the role of perspective is vital to determine the team’s confidence. Rather than categorising a test as a ‘failed’ one, why not see it as a ‘success’ for making an attempt? That’s the beauty of development processes where attempts are made to know whether certain techniques or ideas work, as opposed to never knowing from never trying.

The Architecture Diploma team at the Nanyang Polytechnic School of Design initiated a remarkable student-centric summit based on their confidence in the good cause they were driving. This is a success story in itself that reached design students from institutions nationwide. Taking the leap of faith to start could be the first and highest hurdle to cross, but the most exciting too. Multiple Award winners emphasise the importance to simply “go for it”. Just like any car engine, starting it may require the most resistance. Yet, once you get the momentum going, the ride gets more exciting as the scenery changes!

Resource is already in your hands

Resource is not simply limited to tangible items that get depleted, but also to the skillsets of your team. In fact, when skills are applied in practice, they don’t get depleted but instead get enhanced! Goodrich Global featured their Love Gaia project, where they recognised the impact of providing service. In their project, Goodrich Global optimised the use of material by utilising what was considered as leftover unwanted material from clients’ projects. The material was alternately used to enhance aesthetic appeal of other products that could be sold for charitable organisations to receive proceeds. What a great way to make our city more socially sustainable and loveable!

Award winner for the Environment category Ms Azurah Khalid encourages project starters to simply begin with what they already have. Even if the resource is small, it is still a treasured resource that can be multiplied. Have you noticed that passion is a resource too? It’s the priceless (both ways!) fuel for commitment. Like oxygen for our body system, passion can drive an entire project system. Perhaps start by finding that anchor that triggers your passion each time, so you know where to come back to each time you feel like you’re running low.

So, if you’ve got a project in mind, we encourage you to just get on it.

If you’re just starting on a project, get the success factors in.

If you’re in the process of building your project, keep going!

The achievement is awaiting your arrival, enjoy the process and get the best progress. It will be well worth it, especially when you share it with the world by applying for COLA next year!

The art of loving sustainability

7 December 2020

Remember the last time you received love by another’s kind action? It may be someone’s seemingly smallest act of letting you board the bus first, or a remarkable move of sacrificing their greatest desires to fulfill yours. We’d suggest to you that the person who offered that action could be feeling even better than you!

Overflowing passion & holistic living

Loving sustainability to the whole can be expressed in the art of living it holistically, whether in these smallest actions or investment of time. Think of it this way – the overflow of passion for something naturally results in full immersion in it. Sustainability is one of many movements that we see, but there isn’t a fixed set of rubrics to quantify its value for comparison. We have definitely seen numerous standardised parameters set in place to reflect its impact, including the number of followers and financial value of investments. However, these can never do full justice to the courageous hearts that form its foundations.

Beyond the green environment

In each heart, the beauty of sustainability is the patience endured to enjoy it. Cambridge Dictionary defines the term sustainability as “the quality of being able to continue over a period of time”. You might be wondering how the kind act mentioned at the start has to do with sustainability, but this clearly captures sustainability through a social lens that increases the quality of life as you go about your daily route.

Social sustainability is an area of sustainability that tends to be neglected, although it plays a key role in what sets the human apart from a machine – the emotion. Especially as societies make their way through the Covid-19 pandemic, the struggle from isolation is real, even for the introverts. WorldBank emphasised the similar level of importance that social sustainability holds in reference to its economic and environmental counterparts. For a society to ensure its longevity, social sustainability cannot be neglected as all of it contributes to the well-being of each individual that plays an irreplaceable role in society.

Puzzle piece & portrait

Amidst this interactivity of individuals holding various positions in the economy, sustainability has undeniably emerged as a mark for competitive advantage. We cannot deny that the competitiveness of businesses is as important for sustaining the economy as sustainability is important for our quality of life – they work hand in hand. If we can’t even live, how can we build our competitiveness.. And vice versa!

Let us encourage you to find a balance in your passion for both, so that you can take ownership of your business “puzzle piece” as much as you do so for the portrait of your most lovable city. Top business rankings may not be the maximum position you can hit. Expand beyond standing alone at the top of these rankings for profit alone, but hold a brand and heart that care too. Certainly the competition doesn’t get any easier, but the fulfillment of relationship-building can be so much more.

It takes a step of faith to test an idea for sustainability, whether in environmental, social or economical areas. Doesn’t the love for something or someone require that risk, too? Why not bring it all together, take a risk to love your sustainable city? What you love, you will surely sustain!



 Image credits:

Mentatdgt @ Pexels

A short interview with Ms. Christin Hu

Republic Polytechnic on Residential Audit with Nee Soon Spring CC.

7 December 2020

What inspired the direction of this project, and how did you catch the interest of the students to join your team for it?

This community project was a collaboration between the Gambas Community Development Welfare Fund Community, and Republic Polytechnic’s School of Engineering (SEG) and School of Management and Communication (SMC). The students take up this project as part of their Final Year Project where they can make a difference to the community by applying their engineering knowledge and skillsets acquired in school.

 Where do you feel this project has changed the locals’ love for Singapore the most?

 The thought of giving back to the community and outreach at the block party event. Lecturers and Students work together and inspire each other on. During the block party event, Students wore PAYM Loves Red t-shirt as one unity and help one another spontaneously. They also enjoyed themselves.  

Ms. Christin Hu - Republic Polytechnic


 How did you find out about COLA and what attracted you to apply for it?

My colleague shared about COLA with me and I decided to apply for it as this project has positively impacted socially and environmentally. I am glad to receive an award for it.

 What advice would you offer to potential applicants who are keen to start their projects?

 They can look into innovative solutions and efforts that contribute to the love and care for the communities. They can look into projects that make a positive impact on social, environmental, and innovative products sustainability. They can do this individually or collaborate with others.

 What would you tackle next to make Singapore an even more lovable city?

 One way is to build upon and expand on the current project we have done by making it better and bigger.

17 October 2020, Jewel Tai

Finding something about your City to Love? Here's 3 easy ways!​

Sometimes you might find yourself at either end of the spectrum - overwhelmed by the things you love about your city, or underwhelmed by it too.

23 October 2020, Jewel Tai

The unseen value of water

While growing up, you might have been repeatedly instructed by your mother to drink water though you were desperate for a Coke.

28 October 2020, Jewel Tai

The art of loving sustainability

Remember the last time you received love by another’s kind action? It may be someone’s seemingly smallest act of letting you board the bus

2 November 2020, Jewel Tai


 COLA engages with this year’s Award winners to gain insight into what drives their passion towards structuring and executing outstanding projects, so that you can be empowered to build success for your own project!