How the Hong Kong Design Centre bolster design thinking evolution

June 29, 2020
SCMP Updates
“From fishing village to trade hub, manufacturing base to international finance centre, Hong Kong has reimagined and reinvented itself throughout its history,” Professor Eric Yim, chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), wrote in the creative hub’s latest annual report.  

“The next phase in the city's constant evolution is design,” he said, adding that the scarcity of land and natural resources limited Hong Kong’s development.

How HKDC fosters design thinking

In 2018, the HKDC created a new programme funded by the Create Smart Initiative of the Hong Kong government to foster the latest trend: Unleash! Empowered by Design Thinking. It kicked off with an inaugural forum, held in March 2019, which attracted more than 450 participants.

An iterative, or repetitive process, design thinking is a creative problem-solving approach and strategic process to drive innovation. It focuses on gaining deeper insights into customer needs and desires to develop or improve products and services.

“We believe the next generation [of] innovators and leaders need to be great design thinkers,” said David Kelley, a professor at Stanford University and founder of the renowned design firm, IDEO.

As people, communities and businesses are experiencing a fundamental transformation during the current Covid-19 pandemic, it’s timely to think about the future and how to create new ways to live, learn and work.

Adopting an online format, this year’s event will be a virtual forum streamed from July 30 to 31. Many internationally acclaimed design-thinking champions, thought leaders, and practitioners from numerous disciplines in the commercial, public, non-profit, and education sectors will share their insights and experiences.

Plans to expand virtual forum’s impact

As organising a virtual forum is not a simple task, HKDC asked Morning Studio, the South China Morning Post’s dedicated branded content arm, to help with the event’s planning, marketing services, content creation and media distribution. The partnership aims to maximise the forum’s impact by sharing key messages to a broad but targeted audience.

Harnessing the reach of SCMP’s more than 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, Morning Studio launched the marketing campaign by producing an explainer video

The film introduces HSBC's PayMe app case study and combines expert interviews with engaging animation. It introduces the process of design thinking and highlights how this visionary approach was applied to mobile wallet development.

“We know that people in Hong Kong find requesting money culturally a little bit difficult,” said Nico Guiridlian, customer experience lead, PayMe, who will be one of the Unleash e-forum speakers.

“We basically asked our user base whether they wanted us to build this product for Hong Kong.” A feature-length, news-style article complements the accompanying audiovisual film, while a dedicated, branded channel on will host all campaign-relevant content.

On the platform, Morning Studio has placed a customised, large rectangle (LREC) promotional banner. Additional ad banners, designed by HKDC, appear on the channel and article pages and lead users directly to the event site.  

Off the platform, a Facebook post promotes the PayMe case study video and post-event, while Morning Studio will produce an event highlighting video to strengthen the impact of the event.

Guardian of great design 

Founded nearly two decades ago, HKDC is a non-governmental organisation focusing on establishing Hong Kong as an international centre of design excellence in Asia.

It promotes the comprehensive and strategic use of design and design thinking to create business value and improve societal well-being.

Its flagship event, Business of Design Week, has been Asia’s leading international meeting for design, innovation and brands since 2002. Activities during the event, which this year is expected to run from November 30 to December 5, regularly attract more than 230,000 participants.

Other HKDC platforms such as the Design Incubation Programme and the Fashion Incubation Programme nurture Hong Kong’s young and up-and-coming talent.

Take part in ‘Morning Studio Asks’ 

Morning Studio’s video produced for HKDC is part of its “Morning Studio Asks” explainer video series. Productions in this series are animation-driven, guided by a voiceover and include interviews with experts discussing the  specific topics.

Contact the Morning Studio team at [email protected] to learn more about brand building, the “Morning Studio Asks” series, and how to become one of the experts featured in the videos. 

About South China Morning Post

The South China Morning Post is a leading global news company that has reported on China and Asia for more than a century. Founded in 1903, SCMP is headquartered in Hong Kong, where it is the city’s newspaper of record, with a growing correspondent staff across Asia and the United States. SCMP's vision is to “Elevate Thought” and our mission is to “Lead the global conversation about China”. Additionally, SCMP publishes a portfolio of premium lifestyle and fashion titles in Hong Kong including CosmopolitanELLEEsquire and, Harper’s BAZAAR. SCMP is also home to Abacus, a digital news brand focused on China's tech industry; Inkstone, a daily news brief for those curious about China's growing impact around the world; and Goldthread, a content platform with a focus on food, travel and culture in China. In 2020, SCMP became the first news organisation in Asia to join the Trust Project, a consortium of top news companies developing global transparency standards for credible journalism.

About Morning Studio 

Morning Studio is a dedicated branded content team at SCMP that is leading the evolution of marketing in the region by more strategically connecting advertisers with readers through enhanced content solutions offerings. Morning Studio combines world class branding strategists, multimedia designers, and audio/video producers with editorial experts who have a deep understanding of SCMP’s readers. Crafted with SCMP’s high editorial standards, branded content is presented with the unique voice of the particular SCMP platform on which it is featured, whether, Abacus, Inkstone or Goldthread. Morning Studio’s online content can be complemented by integrated offline offerings such as sponsored supplements, bespoke publications and customised events. For further information, contact us today.