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Joint Media Release: DBS, Singapore Courts and National Council of Social Service unveil four winners from Hackathon for a Better World 2023

DBS and DBS Foundation to continue championing mental wellness for vulnerable segments in the community



         SINGAPORE, 17 October 2023 – DBS, the Singapore Courts (SG Courts) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) today announced the four winning teams of Hackathon for a Better World 2023 which focused on building a more mentally-resilient society.


         The four winning teams from Rajah & Tann LLP, SG Courts, Legal Aid Bureau and DBS received their prizes from Guests-of-Honour, Justice Aedit Abdullah and Ms Tan Li San, Chief Executive Officer, NCSS, at an awards presentation and solutions showcase held this morning at DBS Asia Central.


         Hackathon for a Better World 2023 kicked off on 21 July with 27 participating teams from the legal sector, institutions of higher learning, government agencies, and social enterprises, working on one of three problem statements (1). To support participants, DBS conducted a design thinking workshop and worked with SG Courts and NCSS to connect the teams with design thinking mentors from DBS, and subject matter experts from social service agencies who provided mentorship during the hackathon.


         In early October, six finalists presented their ideas to a judging panel who assessed the proposals on four criteria: innovativeness, feasibility of implementation, positive impact to society and application of design thinking. Four winning teams were selected and the details of the winning projects are provided in Annex A.


         “I’ve made a personal resolution to do more about promoting mental health and identifying, de-stigmatising and supporting mental health conditions in colleagues, employees, friends and loved ones.  So, it was great to see the community – our friends in NCSS and the Supreme Court, and our participants – come together and hack out some innovative tech and non-tech ideas.  Life is not easy; the world is hard and it takes a toll on us, yet we build a more resilient society if we get better at supporting each other,” said Lam Chee Kin, Group Head of Legal and Compliance, DBS.


         Justice Aedit Abdullah said, “SG Courts is excited to be part of this meaningful joint effort, together with DBS and NCSS, to encourage the development of practical innovations that aim to tackle current and genuine concerns. I commend all teams for the effort, and in particular the winning teams for being exemplary in their creativity. More importantly, this annual event helps inculcate in all teams the spirit of innovation and problem-solving that will hold them in good stead as we navigate rapidly changing times.”


         Ms Tan Li San, CEO, NCSS, said, “We are encouraged to see more awareness and willingness to tackle mental health issues in Singapore. Participants in the hackathon have come together to develop innovative solutions that address a range of mental health issues – some meant for their own co-workers, and some meant for their clients. I hope that the hackathon has given participants deeper insights into mental health issues, and inspired them to contribute their talent, time and knowledge to improve mental health in workplaces.”


         First held in 2020 by DBS and SG Courts, Hackathon for a Better World was Singapore’s first “slow-burn hackathon” featuring a public-private collaboration, that provides an action-oriented platform for the community to foster innovative solutions addressing societal issues.  It takes a different approach from the usual hackathons which require participants to come up with solutions within a few hours or days. By adopting a “learn-as-you-hack” format – taking place over two months – Hackathon for a Better World enables participants to take their time to build, iterate and refine their solutions, whilst managing their existing commitments. Previous topics covered under Hackathon for a Better World include access to justice (2020), online harms for girls (2021) and scams (2022).



Translating ideas to bring about real-world impact

         Over 100 teams from the public and private sectors have participated in Hackathon for a Better World since its first edition in 2020, and several winning proposals have been implemented by government agencies.  For example, nine out of 28 submissions from Hackathon for a Better World 2021 on the theme of “Online Harms” were accepted by the Sunlight AfA (or the Singapore Together Alliance for Action to tackle online harms) to bolster national and grassroot efforts to make the online space safer for all, especially women and girls.

         This year’s edition of Hackathon for a Better World is part of DBS’ broader commitment to support mental wellness in the community. For instance, the DBS Foundation’s Community Impact Chapter (2) is working with community partners to kickstart mental wellness programmes targeted at youth. More details will be shared in due course.


Annex A – Winning Projects

Most Innovative: A team from law firm Rajah & Tann LLP wanted to tackle the issue of high attrition among young lawyers in the legal sector. They proposed a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that could leverage AI to provide a seamless and speedy two-way process for junior lawyers to solicit feedback and receive guidance from senior partners on draft documents, whilst reducing toil for the latter.

 Most Feasible: An SG Courts team proposed an online direct feedback platform called MindMatters, which allows employees to provide feedback on mental well-being issues anonymously. The message board allows employers to post and respond to non-confidential/non-sensitive feedback – with the employee's consent – so that everyone could see the responses or remedial action undertaken. The open nature of the platform also encourages other employees to come forward to participate and share.

Most Life-changing: A team from Legal Aid Bureau conceptualised an app called Therapal. It aims to assist professionals, including lawyers, assess whether their clients have mental health issues and help them conduct empathetic conversations. The tool comprises a checklist to assess signs of mental health concerns in their client, resources for referral to befrienders and/or therapists, as well as an AI-enabled chatbot to help kickstart conversations. 

Most Human-centred: A team from DBS came up with ChatR! which seeks to strengthen communication between parents and children through writing and sending of postcards to each other via a physical mailbox (one each for parents and child). Each mailbox comes with 25 cards made of sustainable material for each party to pen down their thoughts and feelings. The team believes that expressing one’s thoughts towards a loved one via a physical card – be they words of affirmation, concern, love or even day-to-day updates – can have a positive impact to the receiver.



(1) The three problem statements were a) How might employers promote employees’ mental well-being and support employees in building mental resilience?; b) How might society foster openness and acceptance towards persons with mental health conditions and encourage people to speak up or take actions about their mental health and well-being?; and c) How might stakeholders in the community provide support (e.g. legal, financial, social, etc.), or remove barriers to help persons with mental health conditions or loved ones of persons with mental health conditions navigate challenges?  

(2) The DBS Foundation's Community Impact Chapter was formed in 2022 to prepare our communities for the future through two focus areas: Equipping the underserved with future-ready skills like financial & digital literacy and mental resilience, to face the future with confidence; and enabling communities to be more food secure and resilient, by tackling issues like food waste and food accessibility.



Issued by:

DBS, Singapore Courts and the NCSS

17 October 2023



About DBS
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 19 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Global Finance, “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney and “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney and the world’s “Most Innovative in Digital Banking” by The Banker. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for 15 consecutive years from 2009 to 2023.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets.

DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, as it banks the Asian way. Through the DBS Foundation, the bank creates impact beyond banking by supporting social enterprises: businesses with a double bottom-line of profit and social and/or environmental impact. DBS Foundation also gives back to society in various ways, including equipping communities with future-ready skills and building food resilience.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities.
For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.


About SG Courts
The Singapore Courts - comprising the Supreme Court, State Courts and Family Justice Courts - is one of the three constitutional pillars of government in Singapore. Known collectively as SG Courts, we are integrated and coordinated to serve as one judiciary. As an organ of state, the judiciary’s function is to independently administer justice. Headed by the Chief Justice, we are a forward-looking, innovative and trusted judiciary. Built on judicial professionalism and transparency, we maintain the highest standards of integrity in safeguarding our community. We pledge to ensure equal and continuous access to justice, and we are committed to deliver justice that is fair and impartial.

For more information, please visit www.judiciary.gov.sg.


About National Council of Social Service
The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) is the umbrella body for over 500-member social service agencies in Singapore. Its mission is to provide leadership and direction in enhancing the capabilities and capacity of our members, advocating for social service needs and strengthening strategic partnerships, for an effective social service ecosystem. Community Chest is the fundraising and engagement arm of NCSS and Social Service Institute (SSI) is the human capital development arm of NCSS.

For more information, please visit www. ncss.gov.sg.


About Beyond the Label
Beyond the Label (BTL) is a nation-wide movement started in 2018 by NCSS, which focuses on addressing stigma and promoting social inclusion for persons with mental health conditions. In 2022, the BTL Movement launched the BTL Collective, which comprises partners from the public, private and people sectors working together, to create an empowering and inclusive environment for persons with mental health conditions and improve the mental well-being of all Singaporeans.

For more information on BTL, please visit https://www.ncss.gov.sg/our-initiatives/beyond-the-label.

2023/10/17

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