Backed by strong support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) Charities Trust, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has brought together multi-disciplinary expertise for the establishment of Hong Kong's first Design Institute for Social Innovation. The new establishment will be called the "Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation" (JCDISI).
The announcement ceremony for this pioneering project was held today on the university campus, with HKJC Chairman Mr T. Brian Stevenson; PolyU Council Chairman the Honourable Ms Marjorie Yang Mun-tak; and PolyU President Professor Timothy W. Tong officiating at the event.
Addressing the ceremony, Professor Tong said the establishment of JCDISI is one of the major events for PolyU's 75th Anniversary celebrations. He also noted that JCDISI will be housed together with PolyU School of Design in the Jockey Club Innovation Tower. The 15-storey Tower is also the first permanent architecture by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid in Hong Kong.
The construction of the Innovation Tower was approved by the Government in 2009, and PolyU is required to raise one-quarter of the construction cost to cover the enhanced features. In 2010, the HKJC Charities Trust approved a donation of $249 million to support the Jockey Club Innovation Tower project and the set up of JCDISI.
"This is the largest single donation ever received by the University since its establishment in 1937," said Professor Tong. "We are truly grateful for the Jockey Club for their generous support to this project as well as many other initiatives undertaken by PolyU over the years."
JCDISI will serve as a platform to facilitate the development of promising design ideas with social innovative elements in local higher education institutions. It is set to become a "third space" in the Hong Kong design landscape, bridging between academia and business, for the development and commercialisation of innovative multi-disciplinary design products, and the promulgation of best practices in design innovation for social goods.
The work of JCDISI will be grouped under four strategic themes that reflect the core competences of the School of Design. These are: (1) Service Design; (2) Sustainable Environment; (3) Holistic Health; and (4) Adolescent and Family Development. The four themes focus on critical emerging social needs in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta Region.
JCDISI also plans to host an annual event titled Design for Social Innovation Festival after it comes into full operation. This event will provide a creative platform for local, regional and international members of the design community to exchange on topics related to design for social innovation.
JCDISI will become an integral part of PolyU School of Design and further drive the development of Hong Kong as an international design hub. The Innovation Tower construction is now in full swing and is expected to be completed in mid 2013.