ProtoPolicyAsia: empowering local communities and Government in Malaysia in addressing social issues in ageing and disabilities

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Lancaster Inst for the Contemporary Arts

Abstract

Malaysia will be classified as an ageing nation (15.3% of its total population will be over 60 years old) by 2030 and is currently placed 4th in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in terms of age-related issues. Malaysia has national policies to meet the needs of older people, but there are some barriers between policy and practice. As a result, making improvements to these policies has been slow in the past due to limited resources, and with little or no input from older people themselves.

Also, there is limited involvement in the development of disability-related programmes in Malaysia, thus ignoring the growing needs of disabled people. It is clear that with the increasing challenges faced by these groups, there is a growing need to create an inclusive approach to policy-making to ensure that Malaysian older persons and persons with disabilities are able to maintain active, productive and independent living. Inclusivity is one of the key strategic thrusts in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, in which ProtoPolicyAsia proposed work would aim to achieve by working together with communities and government agencies.

With this in mind, ProtoPolicyAsia main aim is to increase local community participation in the Malaysian national policy-making process to work together with relevant government agencies on social issues that relate to older persons and persons with disabilities. This is in line with the Malaysian government's goal to promote community-based care and address the gap between policy and practice for these vulnerable groups.

The project involves the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Malaysia, Petrosains - The Science Discovery Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Lancaster University, Sunway University in Malaysia and United Nations University - International Institute for Global Health in Malaysia.

Specifically, the project aims to (1) Support Malaysian government agencies to develop community-based engagement methods, using speculative design as a way to dealing with problems and creating solutions; (2) empower local communities by developing skills and knowledge for them to come together to support community-based care and ageing-in-place; (3) assess the impact of the change to ensure that the plans and programmes meet people's needs and are long-lasting in to the future, and (4) develop sustainable partnerships between key groups (government agencies, Non-Government Organisations, community-based groups) to carry on tackling the social issues faced by older persons and persons with disabilities.

All activities focus on UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals 16 (Inclusive Societies) and 3 (Health & Wellbeing) and will help support Malaysia in its drive to become an advanced economy and inclusive nation.

Planned Impact

The anticipated impact and their pathways to them will be:

1. To increase awareness and understanding amongst policy-makers of how speculative design can benefit the policy-making process.
2. To empower the local communities to participate in the policy-making process of the nation on community-based care in line with SDG16 and SDG3.
3. To transform the ability of policy-makers to use speculative design to engage citizens and other stakeholders in policy-making thereby increasing the legitimacy and efficacy of the outcomes.
4. To support the Eleventh Malaysian Plan, by building an inclusive society including ensuring the participation of older persons and PWDs in the society.

The proposed work will support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in general where 'no Malaysians are left behind' and SDG16 "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels" and and SDG 3 "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages" in particular. This proposed work will empower the local communities to participate in the policy-making process of the nation and thus support the initiative of the Malaysian government to promote community-based care.

The outcome of this collaborative effort will help The Ministry of of Women, Family and Community Development to support the Eleventh Malaysian Plan, which emphasises on building an inclusive society including ensuring the health and well-being of older persons and persons with disability (PWDs) so that they are able to live with dignity and respect as well as lead independent and fulfilling lives as integral members of their families, communities and country.

Considering that Malaysia has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in July 2010 as well as supporting the commitments under the Incheon Strategy adopted in 2012 for the PWDs, the engagement sessions for the work will produce better-informed outcomes in terms of recommendations from the communities that are based on international as well as local perception. This work will also encourage older persons to take up leading role in their communities as the number of older persons aged 60 years and above.
 
Title Speculative Design prototypes for people with hearing impaired disabilities in Malaysia 
Description A collection of speculative design prototypes were developed as a result of the previous co-design workshops with citizens, NGOs and policy-makers. The aims of the speculative design prototypes were to create tangible and realistic objects, that fabricate an experience of a possible future where controversial services are employed for people with hearing impairments in Malaysia . These include: a) a poster of the future service, b) a user guide, c) terms and conditions of the service. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact The speculative design prototypes were presented to the public in a series of events and initiated debate on the potential benefits and negative impacts as well as the policies that will need to be implemented to realise them or prevent them from happening. 
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/
 
Title Speculative Design prototypes for senior citizens in Malaysia 
Description Malaysian High Priority Bus (MHPB) & Transport Payment and Priority Seat Allocation System (TPAPSAS). A collection of speculative design prototypes were developed as a result of the previous co-design workshops with citizens, NGOs and policy-makers. The aims of the speculative design prototypes were to create tangible and realistic objects, that fabricate an experience of a possible future where public transport services in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur were prioritising senior citizens needs. These include: a) a poster of the future service, b) a user guide, c) terms and conditions of the service, d) twitter feeds of citizens response to it and e) video interviews with citizen reactions to it. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact The speculative design prototypes were presented to the public in a series of events and initiated debate on the potential benefits and negative impacts as well as the policies that will need to be implemented to realise them or prevent them from happening. The debate revolved around the following questions: Do you think this app is necessary for older adults? What changes are necessary to accommodate this app into daily life? If this is to be implemented for the Ministry of Transport - what would you recommend as points to support this? What do you find most surprising about the travel app? Is this app something that older adults you know would want? Why or why not? If this app were widely used, how would it impact our society? What do you think the government will need to do to either make this reality or stop it from happening? 
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/
 
Title Understanding Speculative Design video through animation (with subtitles) 
Description An animated video on what Speculative Design is. This is done through an animation whereby the character, Siti explores different aspects of speculative design. The video animation is in English with subtitles in Malay, Mandarin as well as closed captions in English. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact The video has been disseminated to NGOs and policy-makers in Malaysia as well as other ASEAN countries who participated in the January ASEAN event in Kuala Lumpur. It has also been disseminated to design and arts students at Sunway University in Malaysia and Lancaster University in the UK. 
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2020/02/17/understanding-speculative-design-through-animation-part-2/
 
Description Speculative design raises various "what if?" questions about the future. What if change is needed? What if things were different? What if we changed in these particular ways? Then it imagines what happens. Then it imagines what happens. It creates scenarios around these "what if" questions with tangible and realistic objects, designers can fabricate an experience of that possible future. These typically take the form of short sci-fi films, interactive prototypes, user manuals of future technologies, newspaper articles, consumer product/service catalogues and many others.

In this project speculative design was employed to explore citizens' views, focus concerns and generate debate on policy issues advocated by governments and to genuinely reimagine the relationship between government, community groups, and the public.

The project found that speculative design in addressing community challenges as well as in policy-making can enhance interaction between the civil service, NGOs and communities in the form of physical objects, especially when than more traditional communication mediums from government such as written reports. Such methods may contribute to more inclusive policy-making as lengthy government reports isolate those parts of society that might be able to contribute the most to the policy process.

By venturing into the future, community groups can identify key opportunities, investigate challenges and possible complications. By bringing these futures to life, through tangible future artefacts, community groups can demonstrate to government and the wider public what these futures might look like and explore their implications.

Lastly, the data and insights generated by speculative design can create empathy and a deeper engagement, which are beneficial for evidence based policy-making.
Exploitation Route This can empower local communities to participate in the policy-making process of the nation and thus support the Malaysian government initiative to promote community-based care. It will equip the local communities with knowledge and tools, such as participatory and speculative design, to analyse the social needs of communities particularly on ageing and disability issues in a structured way. The project findings and engagement is expected to help the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to support the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016 - 2020), which emphasises on building an inclusive society and ensuring the health and well-being of older people and people with disabilities so that they are able to live with dignity and respect as well as lead independent and fulfilling lives as integral members of their families, communities and country.
The engagement sessions for the work will produce better-informed outcomes in terms of recommendations from the communities that are based on both international and local perspectives. From the economic perspective, the wider participation of communities will ensure that policies particularly in promoting healthy/active ageing as well as opportunities for employment become more targeted. Enabling communities to organize and articulate their needs and generate evidence of the gaps in services will lead to more inclusive social and economic development.

The project team has received enquiries from other government ministries in Malaysia (e.g. Human Resource and Rural Development). They are considering to use this technique to address some of their existing policies and plan of actions. One colleague has recently approached the local authorities to use this technique in addressing de-forestation activities.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://protopolicyasia.org/
 
Description The project has been just completed and therefore most of the non-academic impact is expected in the coming years. Nevertheless following the project engagement activities, a number of NGOs and community groups in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia have started to use design thinking and speculative design methods in engaging with their audiences. Furthermore, following the project presentation at the National Council at the Ministry of Women, Family and community Development in late December 2019, several civil servants are considering the use of speculative design tool in their practices to engage their audiences.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Presentation in national council of older persons
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact Sharing of findings and methodology on the steps to implement speculative design in policy-making. Policy-makers have started considering this technique for their own divisions.
 
Description Champions Workshop" and "Co-designing Workshop with Community Members 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact ProtoPolicyAsia successfully hosted a two-day "Champions Workshop" on 1-2 July 2019 followed by the "Co-designing Workshop with Community Members" on 3 July 2019 at Sunway University. These workshops were follow-up workshops based on the "Introduction to Speculative Design for Policy-Making Workshop" held in April and May 2019.

17 participants "Champions" from government agencies, and community-based organisations and non-government organisations attended this interactive workshop held in Sunway University. The aim was to train the Champions' on participatory speculative design, to engage participation, and also to co-design with the facilitators for community members. Champions learnings from Day 1 and 2 will be put to test on Day 3, when the community members were brought in to the workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/07/17/protopolicyasia-july-champions-workshop-and-co-designing-work...
 
Description Co-design Workshop involving Persons with Disabilities - Accessibility and Education 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ProtoPolicyAsia successfully hosted a one-day "Co-designing Workshop involving Persons with Disabilities - Accessibility and Education" on 17 September 2019 at Sunway Clio Hotel. A total of 12 participants attended the workshop; with two participants representing the Deaf Community, two participants representing the Visually Impaired Community and one representing the physically challenged.

The workshop is centred on exploring how the PWDs and special needs education could be part of the educational mainstream, with proposals that could be developed for implementation at the policy level. From this workshop, we envision subsequent workshops that involve co-designing the adaptation of speculative design to participatory design involving specific PWD communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/09/21/protopolicyasia-september-co-designing-workshop-involving-per...
 
Description Co-designing Workshop with People with disabilities in Malaysia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Co-designing Workshop involving Persons with Disabilities - Accessibility and Education held on 17th September 2019 at Sunway Clio hotel. Participants were introduced to speculative design and its potential use in disability research and education.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/11/18/video-clips-from-co-designing-workshop-with-pwd-in-september/
 
Description December showcase about prototypes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Participants had the opportunity to learn more about the two speculative design prototypes and debated on the potential benefits and harm. The session was opened to general public although it was held in seniors clubs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/12/31/december-showcase/
 
Description Design Clinic as Follow-Up on Workshop with Community Members 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ProtoPolicyAsia ran a Design Clinic with Older Adults (OA) on 16th October at Sunway University. Seven prototypes had been developed at the earlier workshop and were subsequently voted on by workshop facilitators and Champions. From these seven prototypes, the 'travel kiosk' were chosen for further development at the design clinic.

The OA group was given the task of building upon the travel kiosk idea to design objects, stories, and experiences that would help others understand how OAs experience travel and what it means to them. They began by exploring how young adults, middle-aged adults, and government actors experience and understand transport and the gaps in understanding OAs needs. From there, the participants considered two future scenarios:

Scenario A: 50% of the world's population consists of OAs, and
Scenario B: To combat climate change, all privately owned transport has been banned and all travel is taken via public transport.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/10/24/design-clinic-as-follow-up-on-workshop-with-community-members...
 
Description Design clinics with people with disabilities in Malaysia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Following the 17th September 2019 workshop with Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), we ran two design clinics on October 1st and 2nd at Sunway Clio Hotel. The first group included blind participants whereas the second group included the deaf. Both clinics put the participants through their paces by combining futurology methods with fast prototyping approaches. Further, the participants were asked to consider the social impact (and consequence) of their proposed prototypes.

The October 1 clinic centred on training teachers in the implementation of creative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. A subsidiary of this project is a proposal for developing a master creative lesson plan. Much of the clinic time was spent considering the present probable and plausible (and some possible) scenarios relating to current policy implementations and existing policy possibilities.

The participants found that the lack of diversity in the teaching body and insufficient teacher preparation had led to the systematic exclusion of sensory-disabled students from STEM subjects at the school level, despite policies that suggest otherwise. They were interested in the realization of universal design in science education that could allow for a more inclusive approach to the teaching of STEM at all levels. The group of that there has not been much work done on STEM education and the disabled in the Malaysian context.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/10/04/small-group-clinics-as-follow-up-to-workshop-on-pwds-and-acce...
 
Description Futurology Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact rotoPolicyAsia hosted a half-day "Futurology Workshop" on 16 August 2019 at iLabs Makerspace at Sunway University, an extension to the "Champions Workshop" and "Co-designing Workshop with Community Members" held in July 2019.

The workshop was attended by Champions from the previous workshop, students, and Sunway University academics. The workshop aimed to introduce its participants to theories and practice of future through a curated series of activities to impart participants with some future thinking skills. The workshop ended with a game play as a microsimulation of the process of future thinking.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/08/20/protopolicyasia-august-futurology-workshop/
 
Description Open Day on ProtoPolicyAsia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We showcased our prototypes to the general public. The walk-ins had the opportunity to ask questions about it further and learn more about speculative design
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/12/31/december-showcase/
 
Description Presentation to National Council on Older Persons 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to National Council of Older Persons is part of the initiative under Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and headed by Deputy Prime Minister. The participants were informed about the project and the output, and how it may help them in policy making.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description ProtoPolicy Dissemination 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Participants were from think-tanks, research and government-related agencies from ASEAN region and Nepal. All of them have a clear interest in promoting evidence-based policy implementation. The theme was centered on ageing in ASEAN and the future and implications of an ageing population.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2020/01/23/2020-speculative-design-seminar/
 
Description Speculative Design for Policy-Making Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact ProtoPolicyAsia team successfully conducted a two one-day workshop on Introducing Speculative Design for Policy-Making on April 29th and May 2nd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A total number of 44 participants attended the workshops and they were from various government agencies and representatives from community-based organisations and non-government organisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/05/09/speculative-design-for-policy-making-workshop-2/
 
Description YMCA ImaginAging Spectacular Session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The visit was aimed at introducing the two speculative design prototypes specifically for the older adults' population in Malaysia. Participants had the opportunity to mingle and ask questions with each other and the facilitators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://protopolicyasia.org/2019/12/31/december-showcase/